“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

TravelHaven Tips – Women Traveling Alone

Women have never been more free and independent in their personal and business lives, which is wonderful for us all! Increasingly women are traveling alone, both for business and pleasure. While statistics are limited, according to the Travel Industry Association , an estimated 32 million single American women traveled at least once in the last year for business or pleasure, and a third of them made tracks five times or more.

Here’s a list of tips derived from the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) for women traveling on their own to make their trip a safer and more pleasant one:

Know Before You Go.

Learn as much about the destination as possible, especially when traveling to a foreign country. An area’s religious or cultural beliefs can directly impact you, compelling you to adapt your dress and demeanor to comply with local customs. Especially outside the USA and Western Europe, it’s best to avoid form-fitting or revealing clothing to prevent unwanted attention.

Welcome to Hotel Safety.

Get to know the staff. If they are familiar with guests, they can more effectively monitor who enters and exits the building. Ask beforehand if a member of the staff will be available to escort you to your room if you arrive late at night. Ask for a room on a higher floor, near the elevator but away from emergency exits, stairwells and any renovation work. Never accept a room if the clerk loudly calls out your name and room number.While at the front desk, grab a card from the counter with the hotel’s name, address and phone number on it, and keep this card on you at all times. Once inside your room, make sure the door has a peephole and a deadbolt. If it doesn’t, make sure you don’t open the door to someone you don’t know.

Travel Documents.

Make two copies of important travel documents—one set for the trip, and one for friends or family to keep at home.

Packing Smart.

Pack light so you won’t be weighed down and look weighed down, both of which would make you an ideal target for pickpockets. Avoid expensive-looking baggage and clothing, lock all suitcases and only use covered luggage with your office address written on it rather than your home. Place a business card inside each piece of luggage to assist in recovery if it is lost or stolen. Carry only one credit card, and don’t keep all your money together.

Transportation.

Explore transportation options available at your destination ahead of time, especially if you will be arriving late in the evening. Travel agents can help determine the safest choice and make the necessary arrangements. If renting a car, carefully examine maps, write out directions in advance and bring along a cellular phone.

Know Your Surroundings.

Study a map of the area you will be visiting. Learn as much as possible about getting around the streets to avoid looking like a lost tourist. Ask the concierge about where—and, more importantly, where not—to go and the best route to travel.

The Best Vacation Memories are Good Vacation Memories.

There may be safety in numbers, but there is also safety in knowledge. With some advance planning and the advice of a professional travel agent, your vacation or business trip can be safe, hassle free and pleasantly memorable.