Seven Safety Tips for Women Traveling Alone

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In the wake of recent terrorist attempts, airport security is tighter than ever. While you can be relatively comfortable that your safety and security is being guarded in the air, what happens when you reach the ground? Unless you have business at the airport, you still have a way to travel before you reach your final destination. Caution applies to everyone, but women can be particularly vulnerable on the road because they are looked upon as an easy target and less likely to resist. Here are seven tips for women traveling alone to ensure a safe and secure trip.

1. Don’t talk to strangers. Your mother was right. There’s no harm in being cordial to your seatmate, but revealing your life story, the details of your trip and where you are staying is more information than a stranger needs to know. With your name and hotel, it is easy to track you down. Keep the details to yourself.
2. Who’s looking? With WIFI available on most airlines, it is convenient to do some work on your laptop. Those lighted screens are visible to you, your seatmates, and anyone behind you. The sales figures, spreadsheets, proposals, or other information can be easily read, photographed with a cell phone camera, and then used to send emails, or find a lot of other information about you. Good identity thieves can take a little information and end up with everything they need to steal your life.
3. As soon as the plane touched down on my last trip, people reached for their cell phones to let someone know they had arrived, what their next moves were and where they were going. In a crowded plane, you’ve just notified about 10 strangers, too. Keep your voice down or send a text message.
4. Overseas travelers often put their purchases in their checked luggage. You may have gotten a great deal on the Rolex watch, 12-year old Scotch and hand-knit cashmere sweaters, but resist bragging to your seatmate. There are many opportunities from the plane to transportation away from the airport for someone to help themselves to your luggage, and valuables in that luggage can make you a target.
5. Pay attention to your luggage. On a recent trip, I was next in line behind a couple who had collected their luggage on a cart and wer busy at the car rental counter. Their backs were turned for a few minutes, and when they were finished, they found that the cart was gone with all their luggage and golf clubs. Pull your luggage with you in line up to the counter and keep an eye on it.
6. At the hotel, the desk agent shouldn’t say your room number out loud for others to hear. If he does, request another room. Ask for a room close to the lobby or near an elevator to avoid a long walk down a winding hallway to get to your room.
7. If your hotel has rooms with doors on the outside, ask for one on the first floor near the lobby, or in a well-lit area. Do as much as you can while it is still daylight and only go out after dark only if necessary. Hotels are cutting back on 24-hour security, so you may not find help when you need it.

Mary Nestor-Harper, SPHR, is a freelance writer, blogger, and consultant. Based in Savannah, GA, her work has appeared in "Training" magazine, "Training & Development" magazine, "Supervision," "Pulse" and "The Savannah Morning News." You can read her blogs at, and on the web at

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