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How Can a Solo Female Traveller Stay Safe?

Why are females more likely to be a victim of Criminal Attention?

The majority of criminals will try and focus on perceived ‘easy’ targets. It is generally assumed that women will not try and fight back and/or will be less able to defend themselves. Females are targeted more frequently because a majority of women carry purses or handbags which are much more accessible to criminals. In certain cultures, women are perceived as lower class citizens and therefore treated with less respect.

Why are females more likely being the victim of violence (to include sexual attack)?

A majority of violent attacks by men against women are often sexual in nature. Some motivations for these attacks stem from personal grievances, issues of control, and social disorders. Unfortunately motivations can also be purely opportunistic and deviant in nature. Therefore it is vital for one’s safety to eliminate these perceived ‘opportunities’ for criminals.

There are always going to be exceptions to the rules, but now that I have identified two main topics that put female travelers at higher risk let us now focus our efforts on eliminating these increased threats:

How can female travelers reduce the risk of being targeted by criminals and sexual predators?

Female travelers can adapt and minimize the chances of encountering threats. This is the underlying principal of travel safety. Identify the threat or danger early and prepare accordingly so as to minimize the risk. The trick is not to avoid travel, but simply to prepare and adapt to traveling as a female to maximize safety.

Female Travel Safety Advice

Certain risks hold true for both male and female travelers alike.

  • Vehicular incident
  • Criminal
  • Violent attack
  • Health issues and Disease
  • Beach related incidents e.g. rip currents
  • Fire – accommodations/nightclubs etc.

So what risks are female travelers more vulnerable to? I believe two risks that female travelers have an increased chance of falling victim to verses male counterparts are;

  • Criminal
  • Violence (to include sexual attack)

Know before you go

Research destinations and ask yourself the following question:

What are the main dangers of the country or cities that I will be visiting?

Crime, natural disasters, health issues and political instability are all things to consider. Though further research can provide more specific and current issues such as date rape drugs being utilized or a spate of recent muggings in certain locations. Study http://www.fco.gov.uk or http://www.smarttraveller.gov.au both great resources for travelers.

Time spent planning and preparing is never wasted. Don’t just look at the country but specifically at where you will be region, city and town. With knowledge comes power.

Know a bit more before you go

We cannot over emphasize the importance of knowledge. Research your destinations using commercial websites; interact on chat forums, advice pages and blogs. Learn from others mistakes and experiences. If you have the time and inclination go onto travel forums and ask other travelers about what they experienced in the locations that you will visit.

Plan accordingly and commensurate with risk

List the main dangers you have found from your research in points 1 and 2 and then ask yourself one further question:

How can I minimize these risks?

It is not just identification of risks that’s important. Learning how to react accordingly is vital. Professionals in all industries train constantly for what may happen; it should be the same for emergency preparedness when traveling. Consider taking travel safety training. Click here to see our web-based travel safety e-learning briefing specifically designed for travelers and full of useful information about how to identify threats early to avoid danger.

Think Situational Awareness

We should never walk around with our head in the clouds. It is vital to be aware of our surroundings at all times, to scan for danger and analyze risks constantly. Often those injured or killed in active shooter, terrorist and other incidents or accidents are those slowest to react. Situational awareness and threat detection provide valuable seconds to react, therefore increasing the chances of survival.

Never switch off

At no times switch off situational awareness. Always look for escape routes; always look at who is watching you. Our travel safety briefings teach how to learn and practice situational awareness and provide tricks of the trade to help keep you switched on.

Always wear a seatbelt

The biggest risks to travelers in foreign countries are vehicular accident. Even when on a bus, wear a seatbelt. There are many other risks related with transportation. Buses, trains, boats, rickshaws, mopeds all have a huge list of inherent risks associated to their use. Research and prepare, but whatever you do always wear that seatbelt. Never take chances with overland travel – it is the threat most likely to kill you!!

Be patient

If one is patient, polite and affable then life just goes so much smoother. With patience, comes the ability to put up with perceived rudeness, inefficiency, delays, corruption and a whole variety of things that as travelers we may not be accustomed too. With patience comes the ability to avoid conflict.

Smile

Just as the above point in number 7. If you are kind to people then 90% of the time they will reciprocate. You smile they will smile back, if you are nice, they will also be nice. This opens so many doors to a traveler, meeting people, learning about secret local spots off the beaten track, meals with kind strangers and a host of other great experiences that come from interacting and being nice. It also avoids conflict.

Check insurance

Insurance may cost money that you don’t think you can afford, but believe me – when you need it you will be glad you opted for it. Hospital bills and medical evacuation costs especially in more remote environments that you may find yourself in can easily reach into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. It may be as minimal as a twisted ankle on a Glacier trip, or appendicitis in USA. Either of those could cost you thousands of dollars if you don’t have coverage. Check the small print over and over again of any insurance coverage. The insurance companies will not be flexible or heartfelt when it comes to paying out.

Learn first aid

Off the beaten track or on the road less traveled you may find yourself in medical and first aid situations. Being able to care for you, friends and colleagues can significantly increase chances of survival in times of extremis. Learning how to identify, prevent, treat or diagnose the basics such as heat illness, traveler’s diarrhea and mosquito borne diseases are extremely important. Other life saving skills such as CPR and hemorrhage control should also be considered, especially if traveling in remote environments. Consider taking a first aid course or at a minimum learning the basics prior to travel.

Female Travel Safety Summary

This is just a basic list of tips that will help you stay safe whilst traveling abroad. Travel safety and security is a huge topic and one with many variables and standpoints. Every traveler both male and female should prepare before traveling. There are threats everywhere that could affect travelers’ – men, women, individuals or groups alike. Should these potential dangers prevent us from traveling? Absolutely not! What these potential dangers should do is motivate us as individuals responsible for our own safety, to prepare accordingly and educate ourselves before we head out on our adventures.

The Most Preventable Killers Of Healthy Travelers Abroad

In July 2016 a 22 year old British Tourist in Ibiza, Spain drowned after jumping into the sea on an early evening swim. This is just one of what will be hundreds of traveler deaths by drowning around the world this year. Drowning is in the top 5 killers of travelers abroad. It is also one of the most avoidable. Hundreds of travelers every year perish in rip currents, heavy surf and through misadventure in the water. Hundreds more are seriously injured or paralyzed. So what can be done to prevent, or reduce the possibility of travel safety training whilst still enjoying time in the water?

Learn what a rip current is, how to identify one and how to survive them . Rip currents will drag you out to sea quickly and are one of the leading causes of drowning abroad.Explore Secure have a dedicated blog article on Surviving Rip currents – click here, or check out our Travel Security Elearning briefing for an in-depth animated briefing on what they are, how to avoid them, and how to survive them.

Cliff jumping is cool, but it is also extremely dangerous. If you do go, make sure you go with reputable guides. Do not assume the jump is safe. Go to the landing spot, check the depth of the landing area, look underwater for hidden rocks, ledges or debris. Think about media security point number 4!! How will you get out once you have jumped. Are there waves, or currents, do you have the capability and experience to get onto dry land in surf.

Know your own ability. If you are heading out on an ‘island to island’ swim in Fiji, or getting out on the surfboard in Bali know your abilities and give yourself an honest appraisal. If you have never swum a mile in open water, then why start now? Or if you really want to, can you take something to assist in buoyancy? If you have never surfed 8 foot waves would it be more sensible to search for more suitable conditions?

Best Importance Tips for Water Safety

How cold is the water you are entering? As with alcohol, the cold can seriously affect your ability to think rationally, it can sap your strength extremely quickly and you lose your fine and gross motor skills. A recent study has suggested that with the water temperature at 32.5 F/0.3C, an average person will only remain conscious for 15 minutes.The water may not be too cold initially, however the duration that you are in that water for can still sap body heat over a period of time. Think about how long you will be in the water for.

What wildlife is indigenous to the area that could injure or kill me. In June 2016 a 2 year old was tragically drowned by an alligator in Florida, dragged into the water, but also think about jellyfish, sharks and other sea creatures that may affect you. If swimming in certain areas of Australia for example, the Box jellyfish could injure or kill you.

Seek local knowledge. The local population will always know the safest areas to enjoy, especially the lifeguards at the beach! As well as being able to react to any incident, lifeguards are really there to inform the public about anything that maybe dangerous in the water. Brightly coloured flags and notices may warn you of danger, but always ask those on duty what the signs mean, but most importantly obey them, they are there for your safety. Never be afraid to approach the lifeguards or be seen to ask ‘stupid questions’. Any beach locals will have likely experienced visitors getting caught out by tides, currents and other dangers, and 99% of the time will highly motivated to help guide you in the right direction.

Do not drink alcohol and swim. As well as impeding your judgment, alcohol also lowers your body temperature and increases your level of dehydration. The human body becomes very fatigued even with a relatively low level of dehydration and thus decreasing your own strength, which you may have to rely on once in difficulty.

Is it a polluted? Although the water may appear to be idyllic, take a moment to consider is anyone else swimming, are there fish or other wildlife drinking and living there, are there any strange smells or colouring. Research the beach that you are visiting, certain beaches in Rio de Janeiro for example have pollution levels that are dangerously high. Also, look for sewerage outlets nearby that may be contaminating the local stretch of beach.

Can you get out easily? Before jumping in to any water feature, have a quick look around and understand how you can get out. There are numerous stories of people jumping in from cliffs into beautiful mountain pools, just to find that there is no way out other than climbing up a sheer granite rock face or expending what little energy you have left clambering up a long slippery and hazardous river beds.

If you travel on a boat, especially in developing regions where safety protocol may not be as stringently enforced e.g. SE Asia/Africa/Latin America then make sure the vessel has enough life jackets for all occupants, is not overloaded and has fire fighting equipment.

For more information relating to water safety whilst overseas, such as surviving riptides, please visit us at https://exploresecure.com/ and review our on-line travel safety briefing. Our travel safety and security briefings are designed for students, gap year travellers and young backpackers heading off on their first adventures.Teaching how to pro-actively identify threats early to avoid danger.

Which are the Safest Hotels in Puerto Vallarta?

In 2019, Mexico received a lot of negative scrutiny about whether it was a safe country to visit as a traveller. In recent years, there have been several reported shooting incidents and other incidents of violence in locations popular with tourists.  These incidents are generally drug-related attacks between cartel groupings, but members of the public or tourists have a risk of being caught in the crossfire.

Most countries come with a certain amount of risk but understanding the threats can reduce the impact.  In Mexico, the threat level is dynamic, atmospherics and volatility change weekly and can affect all areas within the country; this needs to be taken into consideration when planning your trip.  If you are unsure about which areas are safe, government travel advisories are an excellent place to research your options or seek advice from a security professional.  The popular tourist destinations, with a high police presence, generally have fewer incidents.

Safest Beach in Mexico

Puerto Vallarta is considered a safe destination for tourists.  It has mainly remained uninvolved in cartel conflicts, the few incidences publicised are thought to be linked to individuals who had previous involvement with the cartels.  Since May 2015, there has been no involvement of international travellers in cartel violence in Puerto Vallarta.  However, travellers safety should be aware that low-level crime does exist, such as petty crime and pickpocketing, but this is considered low in comparison to other major cities such as Las Vegas, London and Barcelona.  To reduce the risk of becoming a victim of such threats, increase situational awareness and avoid displaying valuable items.

Hotels in Puerto Vallarta

Once you have decided on a location, it is essential to know where to set your base.  Travel forums are a good source of information to get a general idea from those who have recently been to the location, but due to the changing threat picture, this might not always be accurate.  It is essential to research all platforms and avenues that your budget will allow.

The safest hotels in Puerto Vallarta, as recommended by our locally based ETS Risk Management Mexico travel security team are generally considered to be:

Travel Security Experts

ExploreSecure® receives intelligence updates in real-time from our female travel security and secure ground transportation team based within Mexico.  Our team have an abundance of local knowledge and experience operating and living throughout the whole of Mexico.  If an incident occurs, we are informed immediately to allow us to adapt and analyse the risk.  The information we provide to our clients and followers is sourced from facts based on the current situation on the ground.

Travel Security Training

Having as much information about the risks before you travel is just as important as understanding the level of personal security required. Speaking to a business travel security professional about your options can help to make your trip as safe as possible.

Explore Secure® can provide travel security training to support a business team or individuals travelling to areas that may involve a certain degree of risk.  We can also offer an Essential Travel Security eLearning course which we assess should be an integral part of your preparation before travel.

Our modules highlight the daily threats a traveller may face and options on how to mitigate or reduce the risk.

  • Prior Preparation and Planning
  • Female Travel Security
  • Avoiding Muggings/Robberies
  • LGBTQ Travel Security
  • Overland transportation
  • Heath and First Aid
  • Safety in Hotels
  • Surviving Terrorist and Active Shooter Incidents
  • Situational Awareness
  • Natural Disasters

Travel security training is one of the critical components of a secure travel risk management program.   Please contact Us with any questions

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