Safety Precautions for Women Traveling Alone

The following tips suggest ways to increase awareness and use good planning to enhance security for women traveling alone:

Choosing a hotel

  • Large, luxurious chain hotels usually maintain better hotel security  than smaller ones and are located in safer areas.  The concierge on duty is an expert on the local area who  can make restaurant and other reservations, as well as advise you on places to visit or avoid. The locks in the rooms are more likely to open with key cards, which provide much better security than old-fashioned keys. It is also possible to bolt them from the inside, so that no one can enter by stealth.
  • Many women business travelers favor upscale bed and breakfasts, which offer greater privacy, personalized service, and relative freedom from the possibility of unwanted attention women sometimes receive from male guests in larger hotels.
  • If you decide to stay at a motel, choose one with interior hallways, rather than rooms with doors that open directly onto the parking lot.
  • In case you do stay in a smaller hotel that lacks a secure key system, be prepared with a security door stop or door brace. Both of these products fit nicely in your suitcase and, when deployed, make it impossible for anyone to enter your room when you are in it.
  • Leave the "do not disturb" sign on your doorknob whenever you're away from your room. It may be enough to discourage a thief who is planning to enter the room in your absence by making him think the room is occupied. 
  • On first entering your room, and every time you return after being away, check all windows and doors and make sure they are locked. 
  • When returning to your room at night, ask security to accompany you, especially if you are given a room far from the elevators or at the end of a dark corridor. Once in your room, double lock or brace it and don’t open the door for anyone. 
  • If you are driving, choose a hotel with valet parking, if you can. This allows you to pull up to the front door and hand your car over to a parking valet. If not, choose one with a secured parking lot next door, not down the street. 
  • Take advantage of the hotel safe to protect any valuables you would prefer not to carry around with you all day or have in the hotel room with you at night.
  • Never meet with anyone in your room, especially new acquaintances you have met on the trip or people you have no practical reason to be sure of. Meet them in a public room at the hotel, such as a restaurant, bar, or the lobby. Or choose another public place, such as a restaurant outside the hotel, or a museum.
What to wear
Pack as lightly as possible. Lots of luggage weighs you down and makes you less mobile and more dependent on assistance from others. Wear loose clothes that look plain and inexpensive, and avoid loud colors or tight-fitting clothes that might attract unwanted attention from men.

Money and documents
  • Clean out your wallet before you travel, leaving all but the minimum number of cards and documents at home. If your wallet is stolen on the trip, you will still have most of your important cards and documents.
  • Of the things you bring with you, keep the most value items—money and documents—directly on your person at all times, or make use of the hotel safe when you must leave some items at the hotel.
  • Don't keep all of your money in one place. Keep a small amount of spending money in a handy pocket for incidental purchases, taxis, bus rides, refreshments, and tipping. This avoids flashing a large, enticing wad of cash every time you have to pay for something or tip the bellman.
  • Don't count your money or expose documents in public, for instance, at a table in a café where people can observe you.