I believe as women we all have an innate desire to showcase our phenomenal bodies, personalities, and spirits. This is not a new concept…think Cleopatra. There’s nothing wrong with being a sexy safe traveler (and yes, you can be both!).
I mean, who spends each evening at yoga class with the intention NOT to wear her “jeggings” and hot amazing leather boots?! Go! Girls are inherently foxy, but while traveling and in day to day life we must exercise common sense safety precautions to stay out of harm’s way.
For better or worse most culture in the world are still patriarchal societies in which women are placed a bit lower than men. Unfortunately, even in the US, harassment and assault against women are still a very large issue. To me, it is a balance of letting that femme fatale loose but also keeping her in check.
Here are some handy snippets for the sexy safe traveler.
1) While on the road, your surroundings will not be familiar at first.
Day to day activities and nighttime adventures, especially ones at bars and clubs, should be done using a wing-woman or better yet a mini entourage equipped with a few keen men.
2) At night, stick to the well-lit areas, be aware
When I was little I remember my mother and I would walk out of the mall at night into a large lit up parking lot in middle class suburbia. She would grab my hand and say “Look in every direction around you, stay alert, walk fast to the car”. I always shrugged it off as a mom “being a mom”. However, after living in a few urban places, the 4-point look around has become a built in part of any walk I take. Even during the day ladies, know your surroundings.
3) Keep the Control
At times, you might find you need to use your sexuality against an aggressor, while staying in control. By this I mean, turn up the inner tigress if it means getting yourself out of a dangerous situation. I was once approached late at night and followed by an aggressive French man while studying abroad in Italy. He got into my face and kept asking (in Italian) “Pretty lady where are you taking me dancing tonight?”
Some sort of instinct kicked in, and rather than running, I played into it to buy my mind some time. I seductively grabbed his necktie, pulled him close and said, “I know just the place we can go…” Confused and startled, he followed along with me. I led him to an American students’ internet café where, thankfully, the owner got him off my case and I made it home safely.
4) Take a self-defense course before heading overseas
The most popular yet costly course of choice right now is Krav Maga. Many smaller karate studios will offer sample classes, check your local bulletin boards. Also, remember that anything can be used as a weapon and that your elbow is one of the strongest parts of your body.
5) Considering carrying a weapon?
I was too, and then I consulted with a few well-traveled friends. If you are about to be mugged, chances are your aggressor has done this before. Which means they most likely know how to use that (insert any weapon here re: stun gun, knife, pepper spray, etc) against you fast. Do NOT carry a weapon unless you are well versed and prepared to do damage.
6) Keep Money Handy
It is useful to keep a few loose bills in your bag or pants, to be able to readily give it up if you get held up.
If you find yourself in a situation where you are getting hit on at the local cantina, stereotypically a femme fatale would also lie, to get into or out of a situation. So, lie. Perhaps your boyfriend is meeting you at any moment, or maybe even your girlfriend!
I have heard of the fake wedding ring while traveling helps a bit to cut down on unwanted advances too. Your male travel partner could instantly turn into your boyfriend with a convincing kiss at the bar in front of Don Juan. Just make sure to alert your friend first of your decoy plans….or you might have two Don Juans.
Always remember that your camera and passport can be replaced, you and that amazing spirit just can’t be!
Keep your guard up and learn to creatively work each angle of a crisis situation.
What about you? How do you balance being both looking good, and staying safe while traveling? Can the two go hand in hand? What are your tips?