The content of each post is solely written by that contributor and only expresses the contributor's personal views. Each post does not represent the views of all the contributors or Women of Color Living Abroad as an organization. Each contributor is speaking from their own person experiences and/or perspective.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

What Every Woman Should Know Before Traveling

March, 2012—Cha Jones

If you are an American and a woman, then you have most likely been WARNED about woman’s safety. I think all American women have the rape statistics ingrained in our brains. We all know that 1 out of 4 women have been raped or molested, and to be safe and cautious when in new environments. Or do we? 

How many times have you watched the news and saw a person traveling overseas on vacation featured as MISSING? You would think that anyone going to a foreign country would have some precautions, women in particular, would be very mindful of their environment. However, that is not always the case. 

Are you aware that sex trafficking is 90% women, or how about that 50,000 women are trafficked into the United States alone each year?
Government and nongovernmental experts in the field estimate that out of the 700,000 to two million4 women and children who are trafficked globally each year, 45,000 to 50,000 of those women and children are trafficked to the United States. Approximately 30,000 women and children are being trafficked annually from Southeast Asia, 10,000 from Latin America, 4,000 from the Newly Independent States and Eastern Europe, and 1,000 from other regions. (Central Intelligence Agency briefing, Global Trafficking in Women and Children: Assessing the Magnitude, April 1999.) 

Now, I know that many of you are Solo Travelers, but it is always safer to travel in a group. However, I have traveled in a small group and I felt like it would be much safer if I were alone. When traveling on my own I tend to have my guard up, but it's much easier to be comfortable when you think you have the safety of a group.

I recently went on a trip where the person I was with got invited on a date, and because I was with them, I felt obligated to go if for no other reason than to keep them safe. It was at that time, I realized how unsafe some women are. I have a photographic memory and I pay a great deal of attention to my surrounds, but I realized that some people just don’t. I witnessed firsthand a women falling asleep in a car with a stranger, I was floored. How do you know where they are taking you, and how do you trust someone that much with your life?

When traveling overseas the best part of the experience is being spontaneous and adventurous, but that doesn’t mean being unsafe or ignorant. I am the type of person who lives by my intuition, and nine out of ten times I am always correct, but if I feel anything wrong I never second guess it, I follow my feelings. I happen to love meeting new and interesting people, but I don’t care to meet anyone who will potentially take my life. In most cases you are safer than not, but here are a few things that you could do to keep yourself safe while traveling and meeting and having a wonderful time:

  1. Always be aware of your environment, watch the locals and see how they respond
  2. Blend into your environment, when you look like everyone else it is harder for people to single you out
  3. Have a plan, when you know what  do if something were to happen before it does, then the less you have to think about and prepare  for (If you stay ready you don’t have to get ready)
  4. Have some form of communication (cell phone, paper and pen, ect.)
  5. Research the area you going to first and be aware of things that could occur, make sure you know the areas that are not really good for women or foreigners to be in alone
  6. Leave your plans or trip itinerary with someone that you trust or that you talk to frequently
  7. Check trip advisory boards to see about weather issues and possible negative tourist attacks

Do you know the top 10 countries listed for rape are
                                             (to see the complete list: click)
  1. France
  2. Germany
  3. Russia
  4. Sweden
  5. Argentina
  6. Belgium
  7. Philippines
  8. Spain
  9. Chile
  10. Lesotho 

Again, I am not trying to pump fear into anyone. I really want more women to travel and see the world from a place of love, but I believe that the more you know the more valuable your experiences are. It is always better to be safe than it is to be sorry. So, I hope that you find this articles helps you think about some things that you may not have thought about.  


  1. These are great tips! I haven't traveled outside of the US yet, but when I did I know where to come to get safety tips. The world is amazing but it is also scary. There is no such thing as being too prepared.

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