According to a recent poll conducted by Beijing International SOS Clinic, female business travelers want travel security advice from their organizations. Fifty-seven percent of respondents said their company did not provide relevant travel advice for women and 85% felt that their organisation should give more advice.
Deputy Managing News Editor Dr Penelope Kinch of Travel Security Services says, “Unfortunately, the reality is that women are generally perceived to be easier targets; however, there are ways in which uncomfortable or dangerous situations can be avoided or mitigated.”
The good news is that by preparing for travel, travelers can gain a head start in mitigating potentially dangerous situations before arrival.In general, there are five golden rules for female travelers:
Know Your Profile
Be aware of your risk profile. In general, an outgoing personality encounters more security risks than those with an introverted character. Being careful about attire is important as designer clothes and jewelry attracts attention. Wearing a wedding ring may help minimize unwanted attention.
Do Your Research
Research the security situation prior to travel and understand the areas that are considered safe and unsafe. Are there cultural sensitivities? What is the status of women in business and society? What languages are spoken? Are bare arms and legs permitted or appropriate?
Be a Hard Target
Arrange to be met at the airport by a company or hotel car or even better, by a colleague or friend. Avoid unlicensed taxis, ensure mobiles are switched to roaming prior to travel, carry a list of key contacts, book a room on the third floor or higher and ask for women-only floors if available. Never accept food or drink from a stranger.
Confidence And Assertiveness
Trust your instincts! If you suspect you are being followed, go to a public place and call a taxi. Walk with confidence and avoid overt expressions of confusion. Politely refuse invitations to social events if you feel uncomfortable.
If approached, maintain personal space and try to avoid eye contact. In most cases, attackers want money and to leave quickly. Adopting an aggressive posture can escalate a situation into something more serious so stay calm and be prepared to give up possessions. Prior to travel, send a passport copy to a web-based email address for easy retrieval if the document gets lost or stolen overseas.
These tips brought to you by Beijing International SOS Clinic.