Solo travel among women has risen dramatically according to an article in Forbes. Is it a cause for concern? Probably not. Though the article primarily addresses the top 20 places women are traveling to, one cannot help but ponder the issue of personal safety as women go it alone on their bespoke adventure trails. To give this issue more depth another recent article reported the kidnapping of an American women while on a safari in Uganda and highlighted the dangers women or solo travelers face.
Traveling alone should be approached with sobriety and thoughtful planning. Though some dangers are avoidable, there are those that are simply premeditated. Let me explain. Every solo journey, I am acutely aware of my surroundings, people and activities. My behavior adapts to suit the environment I am in. My guard is heightened, watchful and I approach everything with caution. For example, while on vacation in Fez, Morocco, as I was walking on the street, my eyes locked with a man on the opposite side of the road. In my usual manner, I smiled and carried on walking. He smiled too. It wasn’t long before I realized he was trying to engage my attention by smiling whenever I looked in his direction. If I walked faster, he kept pace, and if I slowed, he did the same. I was concerned but not overly frightened because we were on a busy street. I decided to go to the recreational plaza near to the riad where I was staying and sure enough, he followed me there. I sat in the square where mothers with their children and older men gather to socialize. He lingered too. I kept a watchful eye on him. He kept on looking at me. I sat at an angle where I could see him and waited until he became distracted to make my move. I ran to the riad as fast as I could to elude him. I didn’t look back. Whether he was trying to be friendly, wanted to harm me or some other sinister act, I was not sticking around to find out. Knowing what to do in suspicious circumstances may help to pre-empt any mishaps or disasters. However, even with adopting the utmost care in itinerary planning, stuff happens, like the guy following me and the kidnapping case in Uganda (even though the gravity of the latter is much more serious than the former).
Solo travel has been my modus operandi for many years. I love the freedom it gives me, and I have good and bad memories of such times at home and abroad. It is imperative that one pay close attention to all that is going on and not become too immersed in the events or happenings around them. Keeping your wits about you is paramount to being safe. So, what can women do to safeguard themselves in questionable or dangerous places? Try these simple tips when you vacation alone:
- Do not take any questionable risks. Read travel advisories before you embark on your trip.
- Always leave a daily plan with your close friends and family.
- Use social media to keep everyone in the loop on your whereabouts. Take lots of photos and post daily commentaries of your activities to your chat sites, forums or media page.
- Do not deviate from your planned daily itinerary. If for some reason a change must be made, alert others of the change immediately.
- Do not attract attention to yourself by being obnoxious, rude, or flashy.
- Wear loose fitting clothing that does not hug the body or draw attention to your curves. While this may not be a reason to precipitate an attack, it is a sensible approach to eliminate any unbalanced desires to do so.
- Stay close to your guide, large groups or within crowded areas.
- Complete your sightseeing activities within time frames that have the most pedestrian traffic.
- Avoid walking or traveling lonesome roads. Stay in well lit areas if out at night.
- Know where you are going and what to expect when you get there. Be vigilant and observant of your surroundings at all times.
Community Peeps, especially my female counterparts, enough cannot be said about adopting safe travel practices whilst on vacation. Have you or any of your loved ones encountered a situation that was a cause for concern, or because of the safety measures you used you were able to avoid a danger? Share about the encounter in the comment box provided below. Equally, your thoughts or tips would be appreciated too.
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