The business world can seem like a male-dominated industry. Nevertheless, more women are rising the ranks and proving that they’re just as savvy as their male counterparts. This means women are also receiving special assignments abroad. These are certainly opportunities to seize on. However, a solo journey always poses risks. This is true regardless if you’re a man or woman but especially applies to the latter. Learn to stay safe by following these abroad safety tips.Five safety travel tips for women who travel alone for business.Take a look at my top woman traveling alone tips for woman traveler.
Study the Location
You should know the basic customs of the country, including how women generally dress. You should also study the specific location where you’ll be staying. Is the area generally safe? Are you clearly a foreigner? Being an obvious foreigner may make you a target. Being a foreigner AND female may increase the odds even more that someone may try to take advantage of you. Be alert when out and about. Rely on your instincts to determine if one or more person is eyeing you suspiciously.
Have Your Phone on You
Most people nowadays never leave home without their phone. You should do the same whenever leaving the hotel room, even if staying within the hotel premise. Use this global roaming charges page to determine whether you can use your personal mobile in the visiting country. If not, see if you can make arrangements with the company to have a temporary mobile device ready for you when you arrive at your destination.
Have the number of your client in your phone as well as other relevant business contacts. Also have the number of the city’s local police.
Be Wary of New Friends
You may meet new people during your stay. Unless introduced by a business partner or client, be wary of people who try to get chummy with you when out and about. This isn’t to say you should rebuff everyone that tries to strike up a conversation; just keep your guard up.
You should also try to limit consumption of alcohol. People with bad intentions will be more likely to target you if you appear intoxicated or even just a little buzzed.
Despite traveling alone, don’t make it apparent. If asked if you’re alone, don’t be afraid to tell a white lie and say your husband or business partner is accompanying you.
Study the Public Transportation
We don’t recommend taking a taxi if you don’t have to. Taxi drivers are known to take advantage of foreigners by purposely taking a longer route to accrue a larger fee. Don’t even think about getting in a cab if the vehicle is unmarked or if the markings appear fake.
If you’re comfortable driving in a foreign country and are familiar enough with the traffic laws, then arrange with your company to pay for a car rental. Some hotel services also provide shuttle transportation to nearby locations.
As far as using mass transportation goes, that’s fine as long as you’re familiar with the travel route. Be on guard, though, when around nearby passengers.
Another good idea is to arrange for meetings and conferences within the hotel. Most inns provide meeting and conference rooms for rent. Meetings in the hotel means less risk for you.
Meet the Client in a Group
If meeting a male client or business partner for the first time, see if it’s possible to meet up in a group or in a public space. Since you’re female, the client or partner may try to take advantage of you or suggest sexual favors in exchange for doing business. It’s unfortunate to think that a high-value client or investor would ever exploit their position in that manner, but that is always a possible scenario. Once again, rely on your instincts and don’t be afraid to walk away if your gut tells you the client/partner has ulterior motives for the meeting.
Also, don’t be afraid to report the incident to your boss back at home. Many women are afraid to report harassment for fear it will hurt their career prospects.
As a woman, you have to be on guard especially when on foreign land. Despite the risks, by no means should you turn down business traveling trips. Just be alert and do your homework of the visiting country. Traveling is still mostly safe in developed countries.
Dan McCarthy is an Event Manager at Venueseeker, an event management company based in the UK. Dan has 6 years of event project management under his belt. He has worked on many successful events, and currently, he shares his knowledge by writing on the company blog. Follow him on Twitter @DanCarthy2.