Having anything stolen at any time is frustrating at best, but it can ruin a vacation altogether, often before it has even started.
Personal Security. Tips for a Female Travelling Alone
Sadly, females traveling alone often fall foul of undesirables. It seems unfair to distrust everyone, but unfortunately, it’s the world we live in. If you are a girl and going anyplace alone, whether national or international, a few things may help you avoid a good deal of heartache. When you arrive at airports, train stations, bus stations, and the like, you will almost certainly have been seen by the people who make their living stealing things from others.
They will pay special attention to you if you are alone; you will almost certainly generate additional awareness if you are female and alone. This attention will increase with loose baggage, handbags, being disorganized, not being able to find things, even wearing a tight skirt and high heels will attract attention; all these things make a spirited resistance unlikely, and you will be well on the way to becoming a target.
Try and get rid of your luggage as early as possible; this is easier with airport travel.
When traveling anywhere, comfortable clothing is the sensible choice. With this in mind, choose clothing that is both comfortable and practical; loose trousers and a sleeveless shooting jacket with lots of zipped pockets remove much of the risk. This type of clothing looks tidy, whether male or female, and keeps everything where you need it. Sturdy flat footwear such as trainers or approach shoes completes the ensemble.
What Fits Where?
Each pocket is reserved for a specific item; when you pull the item out, it cannot drag anything else out with it. So keep your wallet/purse in one of the inside fronts zipped pockets, and keep a small amount of money in another pocket to buy drinks, food, magazines, and the suchlike while you are waiting for your flight/train/bus.
Be Careful Who You Talk To
Be wary of people you do not know just coming up to you and making conversation; thieves often work in groups. Be on your guard for people requesting help or change, refuse point blank, and move away smartly. These places have all the help anyone could need.
Eating, Drinking, and Reading
If you can, always try to position yourself with your back against a wall if you are having a coffee, sandwich, or just reading; this will reduce the areas that need to be watched and give you peace of mind.
These are, without doubt, potentially higher-risk areas but can be managed efficiently with little thought. Be wary of people standing near the toilets. Always use a cubicle with a lock and when you have finished, make sure you are completely dressed and ready before unlocking the door; unlock the door and move quickly out of the cubicle and out of the toilets. You should have a small bottle of antiseptic gel in one of your pockets (50ml) to remove the need to wash your hands in the bathrooms, an area of particular vulnerability. Sunglasses with reactive lenses are also a good idea, as spraying fluid into a victim’s face (often only soapy water) to frighten them seems to be on the rise again.
In the Unlikely Event of a Confrontation
If you have been successful in your assessments and preparations, the event of a confrontation will be improbable. However, several items may be used to great effect should things need to become physical; a rolled-up magazine, a ballpoint pen, an unimportant plastic ‘credit-card’ type card. Or a bunch of keys; these are only a few everyday items that you may use to control the situation. A ballpoint pen in your top pocket looks harmless enough, but when held in your hand with your thumb over the top, it becomes extremely adaptable, a groin, thigh, or back of hand application being very persuasive.
A rolled-up magazine used end-on is very strong indeed; use this to prod the small depression where the neck joins the chest (just below Adam’s apple). A sharp prod here will allow you to walk away unhurried, as will a similar blow to the eye socket or the underside of the nose. A key or plastic ‘credit-card’ type card across the face will also have the desired effect. If another female confronts you in the toilets, don’t get into a brawl; a finger or thumb to the eye will terminate the situation instantly. Providing these things are only used in self-defense, you will have no problems with the authorities whatsoever.
Help From Others
Don’t rely on help from other people; the vast majority will just walk away, not wanting to get involved with someone they don’t know. Instead, always try to be completely self-sufficient; this will help in many other areas throughout life-giving a glowing presence of confidence and control, the very thing thieves wish to avoid.
Always make sure you know where all the exits are and where they lead should you need to use them in an emergency.
The Whole Thing
All these things together will protect you better than you think; Thefts know what to look for and avoid; everything you have done, from the clothes you wear and your confident manner to the things you carry, all tell the thieves that you are a really bad risk. They will look for an easier target. Remember, good security is all about avoiding confrontation; if a bodyguard has to physically protect a client, he has failed in his primary objective of risk assessment, placing the client in direct physical danger. Unfortunately, good security often goes completely unnoticed. The consciousness of what is going on around you will always serve you well, and although this has only scratched the surface of a constantly changing subject, hopefully, it may just help things along a bit.
Safe traveling to all you female adventurers.