25 Travel Safety Tips for Women Business Travelers

Business Traveltravel safety tips for women

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While business travel has gotten safer and easier for female travelers, women traveling alone still need to take some special precautions on the road to protect themselves (as well as their belongings).

Travel Safety Tips for Women

How to Pack

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1. Travel Light and Cheap

Carrying heavy bags not only weighs you down, but slows you down as well. You may have to rely on the kindness of strangers to lift your bags. Travel is tough on your luggage — no matter how expensive it is. So buy lightweight luggage (“spinners” only, they’re much easier to navigate) on sale. The point is to get in and out of the airport quickly.

2. Dress Conservatively

It helps you avoid unwanted male attention, whether you’re eating alone in the hotel bar or in a foreign country.

3. Leave the Backpack at Home

Bring a handbag that can be worn as a crossbody and zips close. Backpacks are not a good choice — especially in city environments.

4. Carry a Personal Safety Alarm

If you plan to do any sightseeing on your trip or go for a run, a personal safety alarm is a good addition to carry.

5. Pack a Doorstop Alarm

Stay safe in the hotel by packing a doorstop alarm.

6. Bring Backups

Pack a backup credit card and some cash hidden inside your carryon. If someone steals your purse, you’ll have a backup. Always have a copy of your driver’s license or passport as well.

What to Do Before Leaving

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7. Keep Your Home Safe

And make sure you’re safe when you get home by making your home look lived in while you’re away. Use an app like SmartHome to turn lights on and off remotely. Or if you’re not that techie, a simple home timer that plugs in does the trick.

8. Stop Mail Delivery

Keep mail from piling up by having your mail held at the post office. Stop newspaper delivery or have a neighbor pick up your papers.

9. Careful with the Luggage Tag

Use a laminated business card as a luggage tag so your home address isn’t exposed.

10. Give Copies of Your Itinerary

Leave your itinerary with a friend or family member and check in daily.

11. Reserve all Transport

Reserve hotel, car or ground transport. Planning ahead prevents you being stuck at the airport. Register with services like Uber or Lyft. (Uber’s come to my rescue more than a few times.)

12. Make Use of Room Service

Both smaller and larger hotels have their pros and cons. But I prefer staying at larger hotels that offer room service. Large hotel chains will have card keys and better security as well.

13. Join Loyalty Clubs

Join the loyalty clubs of all the major chains. At certain levels, you get perks, in addition to accumulating points towards free hotel stays. Some of the bigger chains (Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, Starwoods) have choices at all price points.

14. Get a Room With an Interior Entrance

Whatever type of hotel you pick, request a room with an interior entrance and above the ground floor. You want to be near the elevator, but not too close to the emergency exits.

On the Way

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15.  Use GPS

Spring for a GPS if you’re renting a car. You don’t want to get lost in a strange place, and struggling with your phone on an unfamiliar road is dangerous in itself.

16.  Use Valet Parking

Use valet parking rather than walk to your hotel, restaurant or conference from a distant lot or a parking garage.

At the Hotel

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17. Get Two Room Keys

Always ask for two room keys — it helps hide the fact that you’re traveling solo. Keep both with you, one on your person and one in your purse. That way, if your purse is snatched, you can still get into your room. (But tell the hotel so they can change your key code.)

18. Don’t Give Out Your Room Number

Make sure no one overhears your room number. If they do, ask for another room.

19. Check all Locks

Once you get to the room, check doors, windows, closets and the shower. Make sure all locks work, and use them — including the deadbolt and security chain.

20. Don’t Open the Door for Just Anyone

If someone claiming to be from housekeeping or room service shows up unannounced, call the front desk to check before opening the door. Many hotels will give you a five-minute advance call if someone is coming up to your room. You just have to ask. 

Socializing and Sightseeing

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21. Use Concierge Services

Have some time to view the local sights? Use the concierge’s services and don’t be afraid to ask about safety, whether you’re planning a quick morning run along the river or a fancy dinner, if you’re going solo.

22. Don’t Use a Map

When out and about, use a GPS on your phone instead of a map so you won’t look like a lost tourist. (That said, it’s good to have a map on hand in case your phone dies.) If you still get lost and have to look up new directions, duck into a store or coffee house instead of standing on the street.

23. Keep Your Phone Charged

Keep your smartphone charged. It’s not just a business necessity, but also a smart safety precaution. That’s why my new favorite travel “tool” is the Belkin 3-Outlet Mini Travel Swivel Charger Surge Protector. It’s got dual USB ports and five charging outlets total.

24. Don’t Befriend Strangers

Don’t make friends with strangers. Pickpockets and other criminals prey on solo business travelers. Don’t share too much information with anyone you don’t know, and don’t be shy about cutting off a conversation if it gets weird. Never invite a stranger back to your room.

25. Don’t Drink Excessively

Don’t drink too much. It clouds your judgment and weakens your defenses (not to mention making you look unprofessional).

Bonus: Travel Tips for Comfort

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I’d like to add some bonus tips that have nothing to do with safety but are all about comfort.

  • Bring slippers or slipper socks. They keep you cozy on the plane, feel amazing after a long day on your feet and keep you safe from that yucky hotel carpet.
  • If you color your hair, bring your own (travel-size) shampoo and conditioner. Even the shampoo at higher-end hotels contains sulfates, which is bad for your hair color.
  • I often book online and request a small refrigerator in my room. That can save a lot of money if you’re a soda addict (like I am), or if you want to avoid pricey room service or restaurant charges.
  • Always bring a laptop mat, especially if you plan to use your computer from the bed. (Hotel desks are never comfortable for me.)
  • If you’re on an extended trip and plan to stay at more than one hotel, bring extra plugs/chargers for your computer and phone. It’s very easy to leave these items behind.

Traveling, Luggage, Door, Lock, GPS, Concierge, Slippers Photos via Shutterstock

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Rieva Lesonsky Rieva Lesonsky is a Columnist for Small Business Trends covering employment, retail trends and women in business. She is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Visit her blog, SmallBizDaily, to get the scoop on business trends and free TrendCast reports.

10 Reactions
  1. You really have to highlight the dress conservatively part. Some women dress in a way that leads people to disrespect them and then they complain when they don’t get the respect that they think they deserve.

  2. Be cognizant of your environment at all times. Avoid isolated areas. Call for taxis or public transportation, Always know where you are travelling to avoid getting lost in a tough field.

  3. When I travel to a city with a reputation for not being safe, I have the hotel I’m staying at pick me up at the airport. Yes, this is more expensive than other options (and often much, much more expensive in developing countries). But the hotel is incented to get me safely to their property. Other modes of transportation are not.

    • That’s a really good tip, Steve.

      When traveling internationally especially, I always relied heavily on the hotel. The concierge also can guide you to safe restaurants and provide other invaluable advice.

      And in New York, I often have the hotel arrange for a private car to get around town to important appointments not within walking distance, and to return to the airport. Especially around cab driver shift changes — if you’re trying to hail a cab in New York around the times the cabbies are changing shifts in the late afternoon, or in Times Square when the theatres let out, and other “sensitive” times — good luck.

      And I’ve learned to specifically ask the hotel staff the rate for the private car and whether the gratuity is inclusive. And then state to the driver when you hop in: “The hotel told me the rate was X and the tip was included.” If you ask what the rate is, I guarantee the driver will tack on another $10 to $25. 🙂

      – Anita

  4. Thank you for sharing! This article is very useful for me personally. It covers all the precautions and best practices women should follow while traveling alone.

  5. Thanks for the tip to use GPS to get from one location to another when visiting a foreign country. Speaking of a foreign country, it reminds me of my sister who is going on a trip next month. Wouldn’t another point on this list is to know whether one should get a visa first before going to said country?

  6. Solo traveling is not easy traveling. Most of the female is a solo traveler but she is all things are clear before the solo traveling for ex. Destination chooses, Traveling issue etc. You share the right information share and very helpful for the solo female traveler. Great blog. Thanks for such post and please keep it up.

  7. Hello, Rieva; how are you?

    The tip on not drinking excessively, for me, is very important. Many things can happen in the case of drunkenness, whether you’re returning home/to your hotel in your personal car or a taxi. All the tips including “not befriending strangers” are also very important. Well done.

    Warm regards,
    Emmanuel Obarhua

No, Thank You