Take care, travel safe
Travel, like many other activities has its own share of risks. We can mitigate many of those with careful planning. Here are some tips for you. Hope this willhelp you travel better and safer. Take care, think positive and travel safe!
It helps to be informed. Do a thorough study of the places you want to visit. Some checks that could help evaluate the risk level are:
1. The general approach to women in the new place.
2. Political stability - If the country / region is going through political unrest, you may want to reschedule your visit to a later date.
3. Terrain Feasibility - Check the feasibility of travelling to the terrain you have in mind – for e.g. if it is a remote, hardy area like Ladakh, we always recommend travelling in a group rather than venturing out alone.
4. Check blogs, travel sites, books and magazines.
5. If the risks outweigh your desire to visit that place, look for a better and safer alternative. Thankfully, our world is diverse and beautiful and there are always many other safer bets around.
Plan your baggage:
Tips on packing your luggage:
6. Pack for the season and pack for the region.
7. Carry the absolute essentials like passport, credit cards, traveller’s cheque, essential medicines etc. in a natty travel bag on your body. Keep the bag always in front of you, do not slug it back.
8. If you have to check-in your luggage, it is a good idea to keep a copy of your address in a small carry-on bag along with other things that you might need to tide over a day or two in case the airline messes up the baggage.
9. Most of the bags in baggage carousels are black. Buy a different coloured bag and tag it with any of the easily identifiable personal insignia such as a ribbon or a band. This helps in identifying your bag easily.
10. Keep your luggage locked. Carry those chain locks and latch your luggage if you travel in Indian Railways.
11. If you are on a long duration travel, then do not pack day-to-day items such as tissues, sanitary napkins, shampoos etc. for more than a few days. You can purchase them locally.
12. Carry a Swiss Knife or a similar safety gadget in your check-in luggage.
13. Pack one of those tiny sewing kits along. You never know when you might just need it.
14. Carry all your essential medicines in a weather proof, light proof pouch.
15. It is a good idea to pack an extra set if you wear spectacles
Crime proof yourself :
16. Nobody can help you better than you yourself. Always keep a watchful eye on the happenings around you.
17. Avoid travelling in the night. Also avoid going out for a jog or site seeing in the night.
18. It is good to make hotel bookings in advance, especially if you are going to arrive at your destination in the night.
19. Do not travel in empty train carriages or buses during night. As far as possible, avoid public transport during the night. Also do not hail a taxi from the road. It is better to call a cab company and book a taxi from them.
20. When in your room in a hotel, keep it always locked from inside. Do not allow any staff to enter the room without verifying from the front desk.
21. Do not leave the windows of your room open, especially if you are in the lower floors.
22. Do not go to toilets which are in a secluded area, alone. Take help from other women around to watch out for you while you are inside the toilet.
Keep in touch:
23. Always stay connected to your family or friends back home. Keep them informed of the places that you are visiting. Ask them to check on you every night.
24. If you are travelling alone, it is a good idea to link up with other women travellers. You plug in to such networks and get information about female travellers and women travel groups. You can associate with them or get first-hand information about your destination from these groups.
25. Keep the details of emergency services such as police, ambulance, cab services, your hotel and a local friend handy.
26. Be aware of the cultural norms of the place that you are visiting.
27. Try to blend in with their society, rather than stand out.
28. Dress modestly.
29. Always act as if you are aware of the place where you want to go.
30. Behave confidently and don't look confused. Avoid eye contact with men, as this can be considered as flirting sometimes.
31. Be aware of the risks of contacting men when you are alone.
32. Beware of date-rape drugs. Do not leave your drinks unattended. In case you start feeling dizzy, take help from a person you feel secure with.
33. If you feel somebody is misbehaving with you in a public transport, do not hesitate to shout loudly and tell that person to move away from you. Move to another seat or spot where you feel more secure.
In case of an assault:
34. No matter how alert you are, an assault can happen. In case you are sexually assaulted or robbed or happen to be a victim of any other crime, contact the local police and report the crime.
35. Try to keep evidence in place. If you are unable to report immediately, take photographs as proof of crime. Seek medical advice if you are hurt.
36. Keep the contact details of local emergency services like police and ambulance, handy. In case of foreign travel, register yourself with the consular service of your own country and contact them for assistance.
37. Discuss the issue with your friends and family to get over the trauma of the incident.
Above all, be alert and vigilant and always, use your common sense.
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