Whether your travels take you around the world or just on a cross-country road trip, as a woman traveling alone you need to be extra careful. Here are some tips to keep you safe and prepared for anything.
Research, research, research
Wherever you decide to go, make sure you do your research -- customs, languages, and religions differ around the world, and you definitely do not want to offend anyone or land yourself in any trouble. (Check the US Department of State website to get the latest information on health and safety alerts abroad, while the CDC offers updates on vaccinations you might need.)
Carry enough cash
Do not assume that everywhere accepts credit or debit cards. Cash is king and can often get you out of a tough bind. That said, carrying too much money can be problematic, too. Consider taking a couple hundred dollars in cash, and then using your ATM card to withdraw currency as needed.
Leave the plastic at home
Only bring one or two credit cards with you. Credit cards and bankcards can be a hassle if stolen abroad because it can be difficult getting in touch with your bank to stop any charges. Leave all your other wallet clutter -- shopping club cards, gift cards, membership cards -- at home.
Keep photocopies of your passport, driver's license and credit cards. Always keep the originals with you, but tuck away copies in case anything is lost or stolen. (You might even want to leave a set of copies with a trusted friend or relative back home, in case you're left with nothing at all.)
Do yourself a favor and check the customs of the country you are visiting before you pack -- this will help you pack appropriately. Some cultures have different views on what is appropriate dress for women. To stay safe and out of trouble, this is something you must look in to.
Keep in touch
Whether you are traveling abroad or taking a cross-country road trip, keep in touch. Let someone at home know when you're leaving and when to expect you back -- and if you decide to change your travel plans at the last minute, let them know.
Leave a trail
Leave a copy of your itinerary with a family member or friend back home. This way if something happens, they know where you can be found. (This is especially important if you are going somewhere with bad weather conditions or political problems.)
Get travel insurance
Hopefully nothing happens to you on your vacation, but you must be prepared. If for some reason you need to go the hospital or for a doctor's visit, make sure you have insurance -- otherwise you can expect a large bill or inadequate medical attention.
Don't wear flashy jewelry
If you are wearing eye-catching jewels, all you are doing is attracting attention... from the wrong type of people. You may as well wear a shirt that says, "Steal from me, I have money."
Dressing too flashy in brand names will draw unwanted attention, which can lead to being followed and attacked or robbed. Remember, you are on vacation in an unfamiliar place, and your goal should be to blend in.
Don't accept drinks from strangers
This sounds obvious and something you already know not to do, but sometimes while on vacation, we sometimes let all cares go to the wind. However, in an unfamiliar place that is the last thing you want to do.
Steer clear of unmarked taxicabs
Getting into an unmarked car is extremely dangerous. You don't want your family back home to be informed that you have gone missing while on vacation. So do yourself a favor and stick to public transportation and marked taxis.
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