Travel may broaden the mind but that doesn’t mean everyone you meet will be broad-minded. In some countries people have very different views on how women should dress and behave than we do in the UK. This can present extra risks and challenges for women travellers.
Before you go
Before you set off on your travels it’s a good idea to:
- visit the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) website to find out how safe the country you’re visiting is and what the local laws and customs are.
- pack appropriate clothes for where you’re visiting. In some countries you may need to cover up in which case a sarong or something to cover your head, shoulders and legs is essential particularly if you plan to visit any religious sites. This can also help you avoid sun burn if you’re going somewhere hot.
- consider wearing a wedding ring – in some places this will help you avoid unwanted attention particularly from men.
- pre-book your transport and accommodation and give a family member or friend your itinerary.
- store the address of where you plan to stay and emergency numbers in your phone.
- learn some key phrases in the local language so you can get help in an emergency.
Staying safe in your accommodation
As well as the usual safety precautions you should take when you stay in a hotel or are self-catering, it’s also a good idea to:
- use your first initial and no title (‘Miss’, ‘Ms’ or ‘Mrs’) when checking in to your accommodation.
- never leave your key where someone can see your room number.
- keep your door and windows locked even when you are inside your room.
- use any spy-hole or chain on your door before opening it to unexpected visitors. You can also place a wedge under the door if you feel uneasy.
- make sure no-one overhears you telling the reception in your accommodation what you’re doing that day or when your room will be unoccupied.
- indicate your room is occupied even when you are out. Do this by using a “do not disturb sign” on your door or leaving the lights on.
- keep your money, valuables and any important documents secure in any safe provided by your hotel or hostel. For more on this see our guide.
Other guides which might interest you
Preparing for a trip
Terrorism and staying safe
What to pack in a first aid kit
Stag and hen parties abroad
Road safety for pedestrians