Women often have more of a difficult cultural adjustment than men. Perceived gender roles in other countries are not necessarily the same as that of the United States, which can lead to frustration and anxiety. Many women, for example, state that they receive more unwanted sexual attention, whether it is through being honked, stared, or yelled at. Foreign men often view American women as more “liberal” than other women, which can lead to cultural misunderstandings. Below are some general safety tips especially catered to female travelers. Be sure to talk to your program director for any additional safety tips.
1. Dress more conservatively
While you may be comfortable wearing a tank top and short shorts in the United States, this kind of attire may be inappropriate in some countries. Some parts of the Middle East, for example, require women to cover their shoulders and wear shorts to the knee. While other countries may not be as strict as the Middle East, wearing more modest clothing will help you detract attention.
2. Avoid wearing expensive jewelry, flashy cameras and American logos.
You don’t want to be a target for theft either; expensive accessories can be an invitation for theft.
3. Avoid eye contact with strangers.
While it is not uncommon to politely acknowledge or smile at strangers in the United States, these gestures can lead to unwanted situations. Look straight ahead when a man is uncomfortably trying to get your attention
4. Travel with someone else.
Having at least one other person with you can make all the difference for your personal safety. Look out for your peers, and be sure they know where you are if you have to depart briefly from the group. If you have to travel alone, be sure to especially avoid alleys, suspicious neighborhoods, and streets with poor lighting.
5. Travel light.
You don’t want to be weighed down with baggage if you suddenly find yourself in an uncomfortable or dangerous situation. Carry a light daypack that contains things you can afford to lose.
6. Talk to your program director if you experience an uncomfortable situation.
Your directors can help you avoid occurrence like these happening again, as well as contacting the police, if necessary.