Today, business travel is a required part of many jobs, but for women, business travel can be very dangerous – especially for women who travel alone. For all business women travelers, there are risks that you need to be aware of so you can proactively defend yourself from them.
Being proactive and aware of the unique travel-related risks that you face doesn’t mean you’re weak or inferior to your male colleagues. It means you’re smart and prepared. And aren’t those two very important qualities that every business person should possess?
To help you safely arrive at your destination and back home again during your business travel, here are three easy-to-follow tips:
1. Plan Ahead
You need to acknowledge that you’re not infallible and putting yourself in new situations and locations can be risky. Get prepared by wearing the most comfortable pair of shoes possible, particularly when you’re in transit via airplane, car, or train. If you’re not technically on the clock, dress for comfort and maneuverability. If an emergency situation or a dangerous situation occurs, you’ll have a chance to protect yourself.
Personal safety is critical during your business travel, so pack items that will keep you secure. For example, consider purchasing a personal safety alarm that you can carry in your bag or wear around your neck under your clothes. Pack a door-jammer that you can affix to your hotel room door to keep out intruders. Separate your money between your bags and pockets, so if you’re robbed, there is less of a chance that you’ll lose all of your cash.
You should also be sure to pack a flashlight and solar and/or battery-operated cell phone charger. Finally, don’t carry your valuables in obvious bags. For example, you shouldn’t put your laptop in a bag emblazoned with the Apple logo. Make it less obvious that you’re carrying things that are worth stealing by using generic bags.
2. Know Your Surroundings
Don’t let yourself feel vulnerable! Make sure your phone is always charged so you can access a map when you need it. Plan your travel routes in advance, and always reconfirm that the transportation you’ll be taking is on time.
If you do get lost, don’t be obvious about it. Don’t leave a map in your rental car where anyone can see it. Don’t stop in the middle of the street looking at your cell phone while you try to figure out where you are. Instead, stop in a hotel or other public destination that is not isolated or desolate, and ask for directions.
3. Practice Hotel Safety
Just because you make it inside your hotel doesn’t mean you’re 100% safe. Check that all of the doors and windows in your room are locked and always use the deadbolt. Affix your door-jammer device if you brought one. Keep the curtains in your room closed so people can’t see that you’re in your room alone. Furthermore, whether you’re in your room or out of your room, always keep the Do Not Disturb sign on your doorknob, so no one enters your room when you’re not there.
Also, don’t use the breakfast room service cards that you can hang on your doorknob if doing so makes it obvious that you’re in your room alone. Instead, call for room service in the morning or leave your room for breakfast.
Finally, make sure you choose a safe hotel. Look for a hotel that has lighted parking lots and interior room entrances. Many hotels lock all doors to the hotel except the front door and only guests with key cards can enter the hotel through those locked doors. This is an excellent added safety feature.