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Tips for women travellers

Remember Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) HIV/Aids, is more transmissible from men to women than vice versa and other sexually transmitted disease (STD’s) , inclusive of the Zika Viruses can cause increased transmission of the virus.  Remember, if not your partner, then abstinence is best.

Personal safety and security are very important, especially if travelling alone. Leave an itinerary of your trip with a responsible person contacting the person at pre arranged times and dates.  Be careful in ostentatious display of jewellery, money, luggage and dress, to avoid the wrong type of attention.  Be aware of your luggage and hand bags at all times.  Do not leave them unattended or hanging on the back of chairs in restaurants, even in the so called safest places.  If confronted by a potential physical attack, avoid getting into a dangerous situation and hand over your bag.  Don’t try to fight.  If you are forced to strike, make sure it is a crippling blow that gives you a chance to escape.  You may join a women’s self defence course before travelling if you are worried of your ability to gauge dangerous situations.

Generally, don’t panic or show fear or let the person confronting you get the upper hand, try to gain psychological advantage throwing him/her of balance that is compliance. When choosing accommodation, look for safe areas, Avoid red light districts, Request a room near the lift or stairwell not on the ground floor.  Keep your money and valuables close by you at night.  Inspect door locks and window fasteners and never open your room door until you have properly identified the caller.  Identify yourself on the phone only after the caller has identified himself or herself. If you have inspected your room and you are not happy with it request a change or move to another hotel.

Listen to advice of the locals and fellow travellers.  Try to develop a street sense and be alert at all times, and make sure you are not in the wrong place at the wrong time.  When in a confrontational situation, a woman is rarely a physical match for a man.  Try as much as possible to always be with someone you know and trust.

A woman travelling alone will generate interest from locals and tourists alike.  Dressing is important as codes differ from country to country.  Tight and skimpy clothes are generally inappropriate in most countries outside Europe and North America. Clothing may have to be conservative, presentable, loose fitting and comfortable.  Arms and legs may need to be covered especially in certain religious places and landmarks.  Head scarfs may need to be worn.  Try to be inconspicuous yet confident avoiding confrontational challenging situations by adopting an assertive, dismissive manner.

Small tips: – Pack light, avoid flirting if you did not set out to do so, wear a wedding ring if necessary, carry a can of mace if allowed.  High heels except for business meetings and official social functions can be “Wahalla”.  Always carry a mobile phone with your ICE (In case of emergency) numbers on it. Sanitisers, tissue paper, small hand bag and maps may be useful. Maids do steal from hotel rooms, so don’t carry anything valuable you do not need.  Always have a functional fully roaming fully loaded mobile phone.

 Remember the worldwide emergency number even if your phone has no credit is 112. It is free of charge and it works. Have a pleasant and safe trip.


Adeniyi Bukola,

Consultant Family Physician and Travel Medicine Physician

Q –Life Family Clinic

Continued from next week

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