Choose your travel wardrobe carefully, eliminating bright attention-getting colors and expensive jewelry and watches. The smart woman traveler wants to remain as inconspicuous as possible.
Be extra vigilant at airport check-ins and at train and bus stations. Always keep luggage in front of you where you can see it at all times.
At the airport, don’t send any of your possessions through the x-ray security check until you’re ready to go through yourself. Scam artists work in teams. The person in front of you holds up the line by deliberately leaving change in his or her pocket, for example, and setting off the metal detector. While you are waiting to go through, his partner is picking up your valuables off the conveyor belt and melting into the crowd.
Always carry a light scarf in your bag. It’s perfect for tying your camera bag, day pack, or purse to your luggage cart. Imagine a thief’s surprise when he tries to “snatch and run”.
If you take a handbag, it should have only a bit of money in it and a few grooming essentials. It should also have a long shoulder strap that’s thick enough not to be easily cut and that will allow you to wear the strap across your body with the purse part in front against your stomach where you can keep a hand on it at all times. With this kind of body language, pickpockets are 90% less likely to target you.
Carry your real valuables – your extra cash, credit cards, travelers cheques and credit/bank cards in a cotton money belt under your clothes.
Double lock your hotel room door if at all possible. If not, then never leave your valuables unattended in the room. It’s no effort to bring your purse or money belt into the bathroom when you’re showering, where you can keep an eye on it.
Never, never count your money in public or try to exchange your foreign currency for local currency with a street vendor. This is an open invitation to be robbed.
Want to fool thieves completely? At your destination, buy something at a local grocer’s shop. Then use their plastic bag to carry your wallet and camera. No one will ever guess that you’re toting money and a Kodak rather than milk and cucumbers!
And lastly, a very original “bonus tip” from the sage of women’s travel …. When other travelers ask you what you do for a living and you’re not sure if they can be trusted, tell them you’re a policewoman on holiday or a retired policewoman. It gets their attention and it works.
Journeywoman.com publishes a free award-winning travel tips newsletter that is read by thousands of females of all ages in over 100 countries and territories. To receive your copy, click on the website and fill in the subscriber form, http://registration.journeywoman.com/index.cfm.
In October 2009, Evelyn Hannon won the SiWC Griffin Award which recognizes the winner’s contributions to Canadian Society through the craft of writing. Evelyn was particularly honored for her work on behalf of writers, for encouraging the global safety and independence of women travelers, and for her ground-breaking website, journeywoman.com.