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Travel Tips for Women

Each country and culture has their own views of what is appropriate behavior for women.  Although you may not agree with these views, it is wise to abide by the local laws and customs to avoid problems.  Please become familiar with the laws and customs of the places where you wish to go.  Women traveling alone can be more vulnerable to problems in certain cultures.  Keep in mind that the following information can help make your trip as safe and rewarding as possible:

Safety & Security: Use common sense and be alert and aware of your surroundings.  If you are unsure in general about the local situation, feel free to check with the American Citizens Service section of the local embassy for the latest security information.

Don't announce that you are traveling alone!  Some guides for women even advise wearing a wedding ring if you're single.  If you feel like you're being followed, step into a store or other safe place and wait to see if the person you think is following you has passed.  Do not be afraid or embarrassed to ask for someone to double check for you to see if all is safe.  Display confidence.  By looking and acting as if you know where you're going, you may be able to ward off some potential danger.

Ask for directions before you set out.  No matter how modest your lodgings are, your hotel or concierge or other housing staff should be able to help.  If you find yourself lost, do not be afraid to ask for directions.  Generally the safest people to ask are families or women with children.  Getting the right information may save you from ending up in a potentiall unsafe area.

Hotels/Hostels: Choose a hotel/hostel where security is good and transportation is readily available and nearby.  Check that all the doors and windows in your room have locks and that they work.  If you feel uncomfortable, ask security to escort you to and from the parking lots or to your room at night.  Always use the peephole and common sense about letting strangers into your room. 

Clothing: There is no doubt that fashion makes a statement.  Unfortunately, not everyone will interpret how you dress the same way you would. What you consider casual clothing might be seen as provocative or inappropriate in other cultures.  Thieves might choose you over another potential target based on your style of dress or the amount of makeup or jewelry you are wearing.  Others might single you out for harassment or even physical violence because they find your clothing offensive based on their cultural norms.  By taking your cues from local women, or at least by dressing conservatively, you could save yourself a great deal of trouble.