The number of women travelling around the world on business trips is constantly growing.

Sadly, the travel safety risks for women are far greater than for their male counterparts, so companies must do their utmost to ensure that travel policies are inclusive and protective towards female employees. A recent survey of business travellers conducted by World Travel Protection revealed that 71% of women respondents felt travelling for work as a woman is less safe than as a man.

To make sure your female business travel experience will be safe, smooth and fulfilling, here are some tips for female business travellers.

10 top tips for female business travellers

1. Do due research

As a woman, preparation is key when it comes to business travel. Depending on the destination you’re visiting, you’ll need to check your travel policy and duty of care to see if there’s any recommendations for the specific country you’re travelling to:

Put plans in place to ensure you use safe means of transport. In some places, taxis might be the only option, but in others, buses, trains, or simply walking may be the best way to get around. Or if your airport arrival time is late at night, it’s important to factor that into your itinerary.

  • Find where to stay by researching the safest neighbourhoods and most conveniently located accommodation.
  • If the country you’re visiting has a different currency to where you live, getting some cash out in advance is advisable.
  • Make sure you are aware of local emergency numbers.
  • Read the local news about your destination beforehand and be aware of any political unrest, climate news or risk factors for travel.
  • If you are visiting a country where you don’t speak the language, try to learn some basic words and phrases, along with local etiquette.

2. Be mindful on social media

Bear in mind that posting in real time on social media can be risky in terms of personal safety. Of course, it’s tempting to share enticing pictures of delicious local food, sights and selfies, but sending constant updates of your live location makes it easy for anyone to track your whereabouts and may put you in danger. Use social media wisely by:

  • Avoiding tagging your location
  • Posting pictures and videos in real-time
  • Posting pictures of your hotel or flight tickets

3. Get business travel insurance

Insurance is important for all travel, be it business or otherwise. Interruptions to your plans due to natural disasters, accidents, medical issues, or flight delays can cost you time, money and peace of mind. To make sure you don’t end up in a stressful situation and are protected in any difficult travel scenario, take out additional protection in the form of business travel insurance. We’d advise checking insurance options recommended by your company or with your travel manager if you’re arranging it yourself.

4. Use travel safety products

Thanks to such an increase in recent years of women travelling solo, ample products are now available to help mitigate the risks of doing so. Here are some suggestions for travel-friendly safety products that you can keep with you to give you extra peace of mind:

  • Safety bracelets – you can wear a small security device around your wrist that can be used to send messages with a single click if you need help.
  • Portable phone battery – to ensure you don’t end up stranded without any means of contact, carry an additional portable battery to charge your phone in case of an emergency.
  • Portable alarms – compact, portable alarm systems can signal sufficient decibels to alert anyone within a certain radius of where you are.
  • Pepper spray: in specific destinations, it is legal to carry an aerosol spray that can be used as a disabling weapon by irritating the eyes and airways. Research the laws on this at your destination before you go.
  • Business travel software – there are handy locator tools available that can help your travel manager oversee your locations if shared with them, and keep you safe.

5. Be aware while exploring

Most business travellers like to add on a few days of leisure time to explore a destination once the formalities are over. But if you’re unfamiliar with the local area, it’s wise to explore during daylight hours only – especially if you’re a woman travelling solo. You can also check with hotel staff and ask for local travel safety tips and make sure you only use licensed taxis to get around.

6. Take care when getting money out

ATMs are hotspots for theft, especially for tourists who might be distracted by their unfamiliar surroundings and unaware of local areas where thieves may operate. Here are some tips for female business travellers looking to protect themselves while abroad:

  • Don’t carry large amounts of cash – leave it in a safe in your hotel room or with the hotel reception, along with any other valuables you don’t need on your person.
  • Use an anti-theft aluminium or carbon fire wallet – these wallets can block criminals from stealing money and personal information by scanning your cards without realising.
  • Use alternative payment methods that are more secure.

7. Choose accommodation carefully

Whether it’s the employee or a different team booking business travel accommodation, it’s important to be aware of safety requirements for female business travellers. When selecting business travel accommodation, pay attention to hotel location, reviews and whether or not there is a 24/7 reception service. For added security, you can also look out for measures like fingerprint scanning upon entry and CCTV.

8. Keep travel documents safe

While it may seem obvious, it’s easy to forget where you’ve put all of your important travel documents while you’re busy on the move for work. But being prepared and creating a backup (often simply digital copies will suffice) of travel and identity documents is a great way to avoid any safety issues at your destination.

9. Dress inconspicuously

Dressing appropriately is important for both male and female business travellers, not only to make you less of a target for pickpockets and other criminals but also to make you feel welcome with locals. Making an effort to speak the local language and paying attention to local etiquette in terms of what you wear are also great ways to ensure you avoid any negative travel experiences. Try not to wear expensive jewellery or shoes or carry designer handbags that attract attention to you as a tourist.

10. Feedback to your company after the trip

Giving feedback to your employer after a business travel trip is a great way to make sure any safety risks for female business travel are avoided in future. You can highlight useful safety or security services you appreciated, transport options that made you feel safe, or aspects of the hotel that made it a success. It’s also important to mention the parts of the trip that need to be improved upon. This could be any safety concerns, anything that could be more convenient, or any safety training that you think might help female employees.

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