What are the options for single people when they go traveling? Given the choice, most would prefer to travel with a companion, yet many travel alone by choice or out of necessity - and a growing percentage of them are women.
The hospitality industry has been paying attention to this trend. Hotels and tour operators are scrambling to cater to this growing market of solo female travelers with an increasing number of female-friendly or female-only accommodations around the world. From female-only hotels to those with wings designated for females, or rooms especially equipped for use by females, hotel management has been paying attention to feedback from their female guests. They are equipping rooms with items like hair dryers, ironing boards, irons, quality bath products, eye make-up remover, illuminated mirrors, and extra shelf space in the bathroom. Beds may have hypoallergenic duvets to be snuggled under while unwinding with complimentary herbal tea. Security is the main concern for most solo females, so features like spy-holes in doors, chain locks, swipe-cards, well-lit car parks, CCTV, 24-hour security, and security guards are much appreciated.
Business women are one group which complains of feeling vulnerable. They may find themselves with keys to rooms at the end of long, dark corridors or in parts of the hotel which are less secure. Women tend to dislike eating alone in restaurants and many hotels are responding by providing in-room cooking facilities. It is up to the solo traveler to seek out the availability of female-friendly hotels at their destinations. Even if it is not ‘female-friendly’ there's no harm in requesting a room in a more secure area of the hotel. Enter ‘Safe Travel for Women’ or a similar phrase into a search engine and a wealth of information and links to hotels and related sites will pop up.
This new trend is especially liberating for women who are required by their religion to cover themselves. They can benefit greatly from female-only hotels staffed entirely by females. It means they can order room service, relax in casual clothes or use the spa facilities without fear of being seen by a man. Apart-hotels are another option for those who wish to be self-contained and enjoy a higher level of privacy.
20 Top Tips
- Beware of accepting drinks or food offered by strangers. Spiking of drinks and food has become a worldwide problem whether the motive is *** assault, robbery, or both
- Avoid wearing expensive clothes and jewellery
- Beware of attracting the wrong type of male attention. Consider wearing a ring
- Keep an eagle-eye on luggage while engaged in activities such as checking into hotels or renting a car as these are vulnerable times when the solo traveller is often targeted
- Always appear calm, confident and in control (even if you don't feel that way!)
- Carry a mobile phone with plenty of credit or the means to top-up
- Arrange to travel during daylight when possible and avoid driving at night.
- Phone a reputable taxi company rather than risk an unknown street taxi
- Before leaving for a trip, research the best method for carrying cash and accessing money at your destination
- Make photocopies of the information page of your passport and keep separate from the passport. Have emergency contact numbers for your bank(s) and the number of the consulate or embassy at hand
- Use the ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign to deter anyone from entering your hotel room
- Leave your travel itinerary, hotel details and phone number with family or friends
- Know the acceptable behaviour, dress code, and expected etiquette at your destination country
- Remove name badge after business meetings and avoid displaying personal information on luggage or personal property
- Pack as light as possible. Don't struggle with a heavy suitcase which may not be a problem at the airport, but a burden on trains, buses or boats
- Carry a lightweight pashmina or shawl to cover up in countries where this may be a problem, especially for entering religious buildings or shrines
- Carry a supply of sanitizer wipes and tissues
- If taking prescription medicines, ask a chemist to write down all names the drug is known by, or the drug name in your destination country. See your doctor before travel and arrange for all necessary vaccinations well in advance
- Before booking a hotel or other accommodation check traveller review websites (Return the favour when you return by writing reviews on your accommodation)
- Take out travel insurance and ensure that all intended activities are covered
This information is intended only as a guide and is not a comprehensive list. One thing is for certain though. . . The specialist tour operators and hotels focusing on the female-friendly aspect of travel will be backing a winner. . . as long as they treat their female guests well. It's no secret that women are the great communicators of the world and if they are happy they'll provide free advertising by spreading the word!
Jean Andrews is a freelance writer living in the UK. She regularly contributes articles for TIA Ltd who offer single trip travel insurance .