Yoram Yasur: Security tips for women traveling alone
This post is not about discouraging women from traveling alone, nothing like that, but it is never too much to offer recommendations of this kind for those who have never left their country and wish to do so at some point. If you are reading these lines and have not yet had the chance to travel, keep in mind that it is very normal to feel some anxiety when you visit a new destination for the first time, and more when you go alone.
Yoram Yasur: The best way to control stress before the trip is to find out what you can of the country to which you intend to go, which will not be a problem thanks to the internet. It is on the web where you will find hundreds of stories and anecdotes from people who have already made the trip you want to make, a detail that serves as a point of reference.
Would you like to travel the world, but do you panic to do it on your own? We leave you below the following safety tips that, while aimed at women, some of them also apply to men.
– The seat location on a bus: When it comes to long bus trips, try to sit next to a woman, as long as you are given the opportunity. I do not mean that there will be danger if you share the space with a man, but some give more confidence to have a woman on your side. Regardless of who sits by your side, do not be embarrassed to change your position if this person generates insecurity.
– Follow your instincts: If you feel that someone in particular is following you or bothering you, do not stop trusting your instincts for a second and keep calm. Go to a public place (library, restaurant, gym or a nearby hotel) that you can enter and that there are enough people. Pretend you’re going to do something there, until the individual in question retires. If you see that the trail is still following you, ask the person in charge of the place to call you a taxi to your lodging.
– Dress as local as you can: Yoram Yasur: Do not overlook the cultural difference that may exist in the nation you visit. For example, a girl who wears shorts in the West is such a normal thing, while in the more conservative Muslim countries that form of dress will be reproached and even penalized. On the latter, if you have plans to go to a country whose official religion is Islam, first find out the rules of dress for women and thus avoid problems in advance.
– Do not draw attention to yourself: Unfortunately, there are things about your appearance that are impossible to change or hide from other people (skin color, accent, height, features). Unless you are in your native country or in a region whose inhabitants share many physical similarities to yours, you will attract attention and that is something you can not change. Of course this is not something that should disturb you, although the point with not calling attention is not to look on the street as you have all the money in the world, or as the typical tourist who is photographing every 20 seconds the buildings of a city , or dress as if you were sexually accessible to men.
– The false ring strategy: Yoram Yasur: Wearing a fake wedding ring will make it easier for you to remove yourself from the sights of certain individuals. It will sound strange this tactic, and more for those who are not married, but it helps a lot in situations with men who go out of their way flirting with any tourist woman they see on the road. It is absurd to believe that this method of the ring put will always work (or that it was a kind of magical shield), but as I mentioned in the previous point, the point is that you draw attention as little as possible so that you do not attract the bad vibration towards you.
– Traveling alone by night train has its “buts”: If you get to walk alone by night train, avoid sleeping in empty compartments (this applies mostly in regions such as Eastern Europe). The detail of being alone in a night train dormitory is that there is a risk that someone with bad intentions will take advantage of your loneliness to hurt you. We suggest you stay in a shared dormitory with a family or with other backpackers that give you confidence. It also serves to reserve a private compartment in case you want to have full privacy.
– Learn to develop a strong and determined character: If you are a backpacker who travels alone most of the time you will learn the importance of creating limits to protect yourself. What do I mean by this? If a man comes too close to you and does not produce a good thorn, do not be afraid to use facial expressions, body language and a strong tone of voice to keep him away from you. Do not be afraid to say “no” firmly and safely.
– Do not think about getting drunk: One of the most repeated tips when traveling (both men and women) is not to get drunk. For no one is it a secret that alcohol decreases your brain activity exponentially, which means that you will not be 100% of your abilities. Women do not tolerate alcohol as much as men, making them more vulnerable, especially when traveling alone. There’s nothing wrong with having a couple of drinks with other backpackers in your hostel, but try to do it in moderation.
– Do not talk about what you have: Nobody has to know the objects that you carry with you, and more if you are carrying a backpack with several things of value (camera, laptop, tablet, etc.). This advice points more for when you stay in a hostel or guest house, since it is normal that during a conversation with other travelers say what you have with you, either because it arose in a topic or to start a conversation. You must take care of what you share with people you just met, because you do not know what their intentions might be.
– Do not bother paying for a little more security: If you are a backpacker who walks on a tight budget, it becomes difficult to spend extra money for a bit of that comfort that will give you more security. Let’s say you arrive on a night flight to a city, and it turns out that the buses that pass through the airport do not leave you for the area where the hostels are most central.
Instead of taking one of these buses and then walking at night in an area that you do not know until you find a place to spend the night, better pay for a taxi that will leave you right in the area of hostels. Having that extra money, for that kind of situation and many other things, gives you that peace of mind that you hardly get when you pay little in order to save a couple of dollars.
– Pay attention with eye contact: The nuance that involves looking someone in the eye varies a lot from culture to culture. At least in most countries in the Middle East, women are prohibited from making eye contact with men. However, in the Mediterranean countries, if a woman looks at and smiles at a man that means that she is flirting with him. The most practical thing would be that you wear dark glasses, so you can see everything you want without falling into that game of looks.