Staying safe while you’re traveling for business should always be a priority for you and your company. This is especially true for women traveling by themselves, who can be more vulnerable to harassment and assault. Forty percent of business travelers in 2017 were women, and while all travelers face risks, what can female travelers do to stay safe? Educating yourself about best practices for travel safety is a good place to start. Set yourself up for success by following these tried and true rules of the road.
Whether you’re walking down a busy street in the middle of the day or find yourself alone in a parking lot late at night, paying attention to your surroundings is perhaps the most important thing you can do to stay safe. Keeping your eyes and ears open will help you react quicker to any situation that may arise.
• Carry a whistle or emergency alarm on your keychain
• Keep your cell phone charged and available at a moment’s notice
• Always give a copy of your itinerary to a co-worker, family member or friend
• Keep in touch with at least one person back home on a daily basis
• Don’t accept rides from solicitors at the airport – proceed to the authorized cab line if transportation is not pre-arranged for you
• Research your destination, the more you know the better prepared you’ll be
Trust Your Instincts
You know that feeling in the pit of your stomach that something isn’t right? Trust it. Whether it’s a bad feeling about a deserted street or a cab driver who’s asking too many personal questions, always trust your gut and don’t be afraid to act on your suspicions.
Comfort levels vary greatly between people. While one person might think nothing of hopping into a Lyft, another might feel more comfortable with a pre-arranged car service. This may also depend on the location of your trip, which is why the research in advance aspect is important. Be honest with yourself about what you need to feel safe. Discuss your needs with your company to ensure they are met.
Awkward is OK
We’ve all been in uncomfortable situations where the only way out is to say or do something that feels rude. Remember: your safety is always more important than being polite. Whether it’s getting out of an elevator while awkwardly mumbling something about forgetting your cell phone or walking away from that conversation that has turned uncomfortable, do whatever it takes to remove yourself from a potentially dangerous situation as quickly as possible.
Hotel Safety Tips:
• Look for a front desk that’s staffed 24-hours a day
• Electronic key cards are safer than cut keys; bonus points if the elevator is key card activated as well
• Consider packing a rubber door stop or portable door lock for your room
• Never accept a hotel room on the first floor where the risk of a break-in is higher
For more ideas and suggestions about business travel safety, check out 4 Things You Should be Doing to Keep Your Travelers Safe.