Mitigating risks for women travelers

In case you don’t know, March is Women’s History Month. It highlights and celebrates achievements and contributions of women that played an instrumental role in shaping today’s society.

Of course, this includes in the business travel industry as well. Be that as it may, it’s important for women to be aware of the various risks that travel may pose. As you can imagine, traveling alone can be risky, however, traveling as a woman can introduce an increased number of dangerous situations.

We got some insight from the Vice President of EWA, Chris Van Dyke, to get a women’s prospective on how women can travel solo while mitigating risks.

K: In your own words, would you be able to provide some thoughts and tips on safety and duty of care for women?

C: Women are breaking the proverbial glass ceiling everywhere and in every industry. More women are rising the ranks and proving that they're just as savvy, if not more, than their male counterparts. But in an increasingly connected world, this means international business travel. However, one only has to pick up a newspaper (or browse a paper online) or turn on TV to know that today's world poses a higher number of diversified risks for the international traveler. For women travelers, these risks are magnified, especially in certain parts of the world. So, let’s think about what women traveling solo could do:

Pre-Trip: Know the map of the city, know your hotel, know where you are staying. Look at Google Maps and know your surroundings before you arrive. Maybe "map" your ride from airport to hotel so you know what "feels" right. Stay up on current events to know if any rallies, strikes, or events are happening that could bring large groups of people. Register with U.S. Dept. of State. You should know the basic customs of the country, including how women generally dress.

Communication Protocol: Never leave home without your phone. But make sure your phone works where you go. Carry portable chargers. You can change your settings on phone to make your location accessible to family members who can find you in emergency. Provide key numbers to family friends and know local emergency numbers of if there are people you can rely on in the city. Know the hotel numbers in case stranded at airport. MOST IMPORTANTLY, in this day and age of over-communication and social media, don't advertise on social media where you are going or where you are through pictures...

You should do the same whenever leaving the hotel room, even if staying within the hotel premise. Have the number of your client in your phone as well as other relevant business contacts. 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 lavish dinner, if you're going solo.

Katlyn Pierre