Uptick in Female Solo Travel


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:

  1. Do not take any questionable risks. Read travel advisories before you embark on your trip.
  2. Always leave a daily plan with your close friends and family.
  3. 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.
  4. Do not deviate from your planned daily itinerary. If for some reason a change must be made, alert others of the change immediately.
  5. Do not attract attention to yourself by being obnoxious, rude, or flashy.
  6. 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.
  7. Stay close to your guide, large groups or within crowded areas.
  8. Complete your sightseeing activities within time frames that have the most pedestrian traffic.
  9. Avoid walking or traveling lonesome roads. Stay in well lit areas if out at night.
  10. 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.

Readers, as usual, I invite you to click follow to receive timely updates, select like to show your love and support.  Share this post on your social media site.  Write your comments in the box below.  Your interest, time and attention are always appreciated.  Thank you for reading.

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Itinerary Planner

 

Safety A Priority


Have you ever heard this saying, “The more things change the more they stay the same?” It is certainly true of the safety information process when we fly.  From the time you enter the airport to the time you board the aircraft; many savvy changes have been adopted to replace the ones we used many years ago.

We have seen upgrades to first and business class and even to coach.  Some for the better.  Others?  Well…  You might probably be sprinting ahead thinking of all the changes that have occurred.  I suggest these: seating, baggage, boarding, TSA processing, etc. just to name a few.

One protocol that remains no matter how quickly the TSA lines are navigated, what boarding letter (A – E) assigned, what seat assignment given, or how well the two allowed pieces of luggage are stowed away, is the practice of –  the safety demonstration.  It must be done just before take-off.

Believe it or not, flying is not my favorite form of travel.  Unlike driving my car, I am acutely aware that once I leave the ground I am no longer in charge.  Therefore, attention to details and any safety instructions given becomes paramount for me.  In the air, I trust that God will take me to my destination safely, but I pay strict attention to the Captain, Co-pilot and stewardesses whenever announcements are given while taxiing.  However, to my dismay, many times I witness others preoccupied with all the on-board attractions/distractions.  Hardly are the safety-cards in the seat pockets reviewed (this observation is not a blanket statement) as the cabin crew go over the safety regulations, but many are busy making themselves comfortable, chatting, eating, etc.

Even though most airline carriers are hi-tech and use the immediate seat-back screens to get their safety messages across, a stewardess must still stand in the aisle to demonstrate the process.  From my observations, it seems what’s more important is flipping through the in-flight menu/catalog, looking out the window and generally not paying attention to the safety spiel.

Yes, it may be rote for the frequent flyer, but one that they certainly cannot afford to ignore, no matter how often they fly the open skies, and one that the infrequent flyer can’t dismiss.  I cannot tell whether the technology is a more effective way to grab the attention of the traveler, but what I can tell you is I hardly ever see the safety cards in the seat pockets removed and reviewed by fellow passengers.

How seriously do you follow the instructions?  Do you look around for the exit doors when pointed out?  Do you check under the seats to see if the life-vest is there?  Granted, the seating process becomes a bit harried at the end to prepare for the take-off.  It is not the opportune time to poke around or pull the seat up to find the life-jacket, thereby delaying other passengers from sitting.  However, you might find paying close attention may make the world of difference in an emergency.

Community Peeps, do you pay attention to the stewardesses’ safety methods?  Do you prefer the directives given via in-flight entertainment screen or by person?  Please share your thoughts in the comment box below.  In closing, I think it is still a good idea to pay attention to the safety guidelines and demonstration, and be able to identify where the exit doors are if necessary.  What are your observations?

Readers, as usual, I invite you to click follow to receive timely updates, select like to show your love and support.  Share this post on your social media site.  Write your comments in the box below.  Your interest, time and attention are always appreciated.  Thank you for reading.

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Itinerary Planner

 

 

Better Safe Than Sorry


Eleven days to Christmas and the prediction this year is it will be another busy travel holiday, actually one of the busiest we have seen in a long while.  We just had Thanksgiving and that travel volume prediction was spot on.  If you are traveling during this busy season to some faraway place or even close to home, I would be remiss if I did not inform you of the importance on adopting safety practices whilst on holiday. These tips will help to put safety on your radar if it is not a priority.

First, print or email a copy of your custom-tailored itinerary to those closest to you.  Family and friends should know what your daily plans are and the places you will visit.  Even if you change plans, be sure to update this plan intermittently and keep your loved ones well informed.  In this age of technology, it is not a hard thing to do.  Send them pictures, video footage and messages of people you meet and the places you go as regularly as possible.

If you are traveling solo or in a group to a foreign country and uncertain about your transport, especially if you must take it on the fly, nonchalantly carry your smart phone in your hand, snap photos of the taxi’s license plate and driver when he is stowing away your luggage or not looking directly at you.  Align with a friend to send them pics as soon as possible as back-up information. This suggestion may sound sinister but could turn out to be a valuable action that will ensure your safety.

Beware of children and adults who pan-handle.  They often work in groups to pick-pocket and rob the unsuspecting visitor of their hard-earned cash.  Pay attention to your surroundings and do not carry to many bags.  Visible signs of luxury will make you an easy target.  Men should not put their wallets in their back pockets and ladies should not carry their purse swinging loosely from their shoulder.  These are all easy marks for sticky fingers.   Avoid close contact with unknown groups of people.  Especially if you must ask for a pass to move ahead.  Find an alternate route.  If your way is blocked and you must cut through the middle be conscious of the slightest contact.  Check your person immediately to make sure your valuables are still intact.

Another safety measure to follow is a familiar one – don’t drink and drive.  Even in a strange country it is not cool to party hearty and then get behind the wheel intoxicated. Arrange with your hotel for a pick-up from the party you will be attending.  Then you can relax and have all the fun you want.  If in a group, make sure you know who the designated driver is.  Doing this may save your life and the lives of others.

Community Peeps, these are all simple things you can do and still have a safe and enjoyable vacation during yuletide.  There are many horror stories of vacations gone wrong simply because safety habits were not a part of the plan or were not enforced.  Have you learned a hard lesson because you did not carry out safety precautions?  Or, do you know someone who was affected by the lack of safe behaviors?  Please share some of your safe practices with my community.  Write in the comment box below.

To one and all, it is my sincerest wish and desire that all of you will be safe and well as you traverse to your various destinations for Christmas.

Readers, as usual, I invite you to click follow to receive timely updates, select like to show your love and support.  Share this post on your social media site.  Write your comments in the box below.  Your interest, time and attention are always appreciated.  Thanks for reading.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

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Itinerary Planner

Picture Perfect


How far would you go to obtain a perfect photo?  Would you climb atop a rock, stand under a cascading waterfall, perch on the edge of an over-hang or stand precariously inches away from the edge of a sharp drop in height?  From any one of these choices a fatal fall could be the result.  Then certainly you would have gone too far for the perfect shot.

Recently, I read two separate reports of travelers/hikers who accidentally fell over the edge of a waterfall to their death.  Read of incidences here and here.  On both occasions they were swept away by the strong undertow and drowned.  At this point, it is irrelevant to debate the why’s and how’s of the accidents that caused their early demise.  What I really want to highlight are safety measures that could be practiced when we  travel.

Because I have done it and have also seen others take the risk for a “wow” photo,  it behooves me to underscore the need for safety practices when selecting the location which you might think gives the best view or background.  First, look around and assess the immediate surroundings.  A quick scan can tell you whether it is a good idea to proceed with your photo exercise.  It might not always be necessary or top-of-mind to scope out the surroundings for the perfect picture, nevertheless, in the great outdoors, it is imperative that vacationers take note and exhibit due caution and common sense when choosing the best spot or angle for their photo “snap-of-the-year.”

Grand Canyon_1

Occasionally, on trips one may see a dare-devil sightseer seeking picturesque spots that could be potentially dangerous.  With just a slip of the foot, a strong gust of wind, a misjudged step on loose gravel, losing your balance, suddenly realizing that you don’t like heights, or feeling the first effects of vertigo are all real possibilities to an accident waiting to happen.  Careless decisions and spur-of-the-moment actions like closing your eyes for the pose could lead to unwanted troubles for the tourist, and put in harm’s way those who may attempt to save them.  Always pose for your shot a safe distance away from the edge and keep your eyes open.  

Cebu Philippines_Kawasan FallsAt Kawasan Falls in Cebu, Philippines, for example, I witnessed swimmers constantly daring to venture pass the cordoned-off area just to bob beneath the forceful, pounding cascade, only to be called back to safety by the life-guard’s piercing whistle blow.  Another danger that could prove treacherous is stepping into the murky shallows without a guide.  Extreme caution should be displayed.  A slip on a mossy rock can be your undoing.  The Grand Canyon in Arizona is another place where I’ve seen visitors push the limits to take their best pictures.  Moreover, enough cannot be said concerning safety protocol and precautions.  Many accidents can be avoided if careful consideration and clear warnings are heeded.  In the end it is not worth losing your life or endangering the lives of others for a photo.

Community Peeps and fellow bloggers, what has been your experience on the subject matter?  Have you ever pushed the limit for a picture perfect?  Please share your thoughts.  It  may help to convince someone to be more cautious.  Do you agree?

As usual, click on follow to receive timely updates, click like to show your love and support, share on your social media sites, and comment in the box below.  It is always a pleasure sharing with you.  Thank you for reading.

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Itinerary Planner