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Over the years, the number of women entrepreneurs going on business trips has significantly increased. While this is undoubtedly good news, female business travelers face greater travel risks than their male counterparts. Here are 12 valuable tips for women entrepreneurs for safe and successful business travel.
Do Your Research
As with any travel endeavor, research is essential. Even if a travel agency organizes your trip or you have others accompanying you, you must still take time to learn about your destination. Check the current weather conditions, political issues, and other external situations that might compromise your safety. Research the local news and the cultural etiquette of your target country. If traveling to a country with a different dialect, try to learn at least the basics so you can efficiently converse with the locals.
Find a Safe Accommodation
While it is usually your corporate travel manager’s task to book your accommodation, you must communicate to them any concerns that you may have about the place. Request an upper-level room, as rooms on lower floors pose a higher safety risk. Inform the hotel beforehand to refrain from publicizing your room number upon check-in and not to disclose personal information or travel details to random individuals. Check the essential establishments near your hotel and learn the modes of transportation available.
During business trips, packing less is ideal. Opt for one luggage and a carry-on to help you become more travel-efficient. Pack lightweight and versatile clothing that can be used for multiple purposes. Bring easy-to-pack footwear and carry your jacket or coat instead of packing them in your luggage.
Look for an efficient bag where you can place your essentials and gadgets. Search online for tags or captions like “this is the women’s travel bag I want to get next.” to help narrow your bag options. The fewer belongings, the more freedom you have to explore.
Dressing appropriately is vital when traveling to another country, especially to highly-conservative ones. Your fashion goal should be to find the balance between professional and stylish without drawing unnecessary attention to yourself. Choose modest business clothing and refrain from wearing expensive and flashy jewelry. Research the attire that women entrepreneurs often wear in your destination country and take note of the clothing you must avoid.
Use Social Media Wisely
While social media can significantly help you stay connected with your loved ones, you must be careful using it when traveling. Avoid sharing live updates of your whereabouts and filter your posts. Refrain from posting pictures of your flight and accommodation details to prevent dangerous people from accessing your personal details. Privately update your friends and family on your travel itinerary, especially if there are changes.
Be Mindful When Exploring
Safety should always be a priority when traveling. If you want to spend some leisure time between your job duties, you must explore cautiously. Ask the hotel’s concierge for tourist recommendations, specifically those safe for female travelers. You can also ask them if they can get you a cab or private vehicle instead of hailing one yourself.
Do your exploring during the daytime and be mindful of your surroundings. Never accept food or water from strangers, and avoid going to dark alleyways on your own. Remain vigilant and make sure you know the location of the nearest police station.
Maximize Your Time
If your schedule is hectic, consider adding another day to your travel itinerary so you can explore the area more. Try the local delicacies and socialize with the locals. Aside from visiting the tourist sites, ask trustworthy locals for safe places to go with minimal foot traffic. If adding an extra day is impossible, and you’ll be confined mostly at your hotel, check their amenities and engage in available activities.
Secure Your Travel Documents
When traveling to a new place, it always pays to be extra cautious. Create a backup of your travel documents and store them in a safe place. Make sure you have additional copies of essential documents, such as hotel and flight tickets, visas, passports, and other valuable identity documents. Aside from physical copies, you should also have digital ones in case the former gets lost or stolen. You can also send these documents to your trusted loved ones as an extra layer of security.
Be Smart with Your Financial Transactions
Some countries are reliant on cash, while others prefer plastic. Before flying, research your destination’s preferred mode of payment. If your destination country is close to becoming a cashless society, it is still ideal to carry some cash, as you don’t want to be stranded in a remote place without any money. It is also best to have an anti-theft wallet to protect your plastics from illegal scanning or skimming.
Get Travel Insurance
Unforeseen events are common when traveling, so having business travel insurance is ideal. Most business travel insurance coverage includes loss of luggage or personal items, medical expenses, flight cancellations, trip interruptions, and emergency evacuations. Verify your travel insurance coverage with your employer and ensure you have the necessary contact information in the unfortunate event of a mishap during your business trip.
Utilize Travel Safety Products
Since women travelers are more prone to safety threats than men, investing in travel safety products can help give you peace of mind when traveling. Some safety devices or product options include a door jammer, pepper spray, whistle or personal alarm, door alarm, safety lock, money belt, and luggage tracker. Remember to pack a well-stocked first-aid kit and a small flashlight with extra batteries.
Networking and socializing are inevitable during business travels. However, it is essential that you learn to say no to people or activities which can compromise your safety. If you’re uncomfortable going out for a late-night drink with colleagues, don’t hesitate to decline, regardless if they’re your work seniors. Establish healthy boundaries and always prioritize your safety above all else.
With these tips, careful preparation, and a positive mindset, female entrepreneurs can travel safely and comfortably.