Always find out transportation risks you may encounter in the destination you are visiting first whether you use taxi, car, shuttle services, public transportation, car rental or ride sharing services. Research them ahead of time and try to reserve transportation to and from the airport before flying:
- Pre-book a reputable taxi, car or shuttle service (avoid public transportation).
- Some countries have discrete car services for women only.
- If you need to get a taxi at the airport, make sure you go to the supervised taxi line and not with a solicitor in the baggage claim area or around the airport exit.
- If you are in another country and do not know the language, have your destination written in the local language to show the driver.
- Before you get in the vehicle, always check the driver’s identity via the ID card displayed in the taxi. Take a photo of the license plate or taxi identification. If the driver objects, say your company needs it for receipts.
While you are in the vehicle:
- Be guarded during your conversation with the driver. Do not say you are traveling alone.
- If you are traveling alone, make a fake (or real) phone call during the ride to pretend someone is waiting for you.
- Stay alert to your surroundings and track the destination on your smartphone map, so you can tell if the driver is going off route.
Before exiting the vehicle:
- Confirm it is the correct destination and be dropped off at the entrance.
- Make sure you have all your belongings.
- Make sure someone knows who you are traveling with and where you are going
Rental car tips:
Try to reserve a car from a rental car agency that is open 24-hrs with staff onsite. Reserve a car with a navigation system. If you arrive at the airport at night, rental car agencies and hotels can arrange for someone to accompany you to and from parking lots.
When you first get to the car:
- Confirm all locks and windows work properly and are secure.
- Learn how to use the car’s basic features, such as headlights, hazards, navigation and locks, before you leave the parking lot.
- If there are any issues with the car’s security or functions, go back to the rental car staff and request a new car with everything in working order.
While using the rental car:
- Always lock the doors. Never pick up strangers. Avoid rural or secondary roads.
- Always know where you are going, enter and map out the route on the navigation system before driving.
- Maintain gas (1/4 tank minimum).
- Take valuables with you or keep them out of sight in the car in order to avoid a “smash and grab” theft from the car.
- Stay alert to your surroundings. Pull over and park in a populated area if you become lost and need to re-route the GPS.
- Park in well-lit and busy areas and try to park “nose out”. Try to use valet parking as much as possible.
If you must use public transportation:
- Study all the passengers around you.
- Try not to sleep on the train or the bus; if you do, sleep and ride with any bags that are against you —use them as footrests and pillows.
In next post, we’ll continue with our Traveling Safety Tips, part 3: Accommodations.
When choosing accommodations, staying in a well-known and reputable hotel is generally safer than using unknown hotels, hostels or privately rented homes. Some hotels offer women-only floors, always ask before you book.
Have a great season’s greetings with safe travels!