FEMALE TRAVEL SAFETY AWARENESS

In recent times, the desire of women to travel solo appears to be increasing, especially as many women aged over 50 are divorced, single or widowed. Solo travel for women is often viewed by them as an opportunity to achieve wellness, freedom and empowerment.

Below are some of the 2020 UK Demographic Travel Statistics:-

  • 81% Solo Female Travellers (SFT’s) are over 45 years old.
  • 13% SFT’s are aged between 35 – 44 years old.
  • 6% SFT’s are aged between 25 – 34 years old.
  • 1% SFT’s are aged between 18 – 24 years old.
  • 54% of affluent travellers with incomes over $250,000 are women.

Quite often, women enjoy the adventure of travelling alone and tasting the culture of different countries, even if sometimes the choice of countries may include those far-off locations, which may have travel safety issues.

However, in support of the issues faced by female solo travellers, Staff Defence cites the following example (*1), which tells the story of a best friend’s (Carla) five-day vacation to Costa Rica in celebration of her 36th birthday. Interestingly, Costa Rica is considered to be one of the safest countries in Central America. In order to arrange a meeting immediately after her holiday, Carla’s best friend, Laura, FaceTimed Carla the night before she was due to fly back to Florida. By all accounts, Carla had been staying in a gated AirBnb with its own security guard in a reputedly safe neighbourhood. So pleased was Carla with the villa, that she provided Laura with a video tour of her villa. Tragically, Carla never boarded her scheduled flight home. Curiously, Laura recalls that Carla knew something was wrong on the night of their phone call, but undoubtedly ignored her intuition. It was a week later when Carla’s brutalized body was found half-buried near the AirBnb villa that she had rented. At the same time, the property’s security guard was arrested in connection with Carla’s killing; the news of  Carla’s murder was acknowledged in deep sadness by Carla’s family and friends. The discovery of Carla’s body may well have been due to her family’s FaceBook campaign entitled “Finding Carla”, which is a testament to the efficacy of social media in speedily tracking a foreign individual in a far-off country.

This incident and other recorded headlines document the deadly violence exacted upon women, who have made the decision to travel alone. While social media appears to endorse the idea that far-off lands are not only easily accessible, but also safe for female solo travellers, the questions are raised about how our society in general is greeting the reported rise in women travelling lone. After all, the different types of media are beginning to shine a light on the abiding nature of gender violence, which is prevalent world-wide. Arguably, there exists the responsibility of local authorities in countries like Costa Rica to publicise the known risks of violence to women in their country to tourists. It appears that Costa Rica has an on-going, systemic problem of brutality against local women. In fact, the National Institute for Women, a government ministry, in Costa Rica states unequivocally: “…. the serious situation of violence against women.………….has its most brutal expression in femicide.”

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In the opinion of Staff Defence, such strong words require appropriate action for the  female traveller, which we provide in the form of our Female Travel Safety Awareness training course. In fact, the course discusses all of the issues that a female solo traveller may face, as below:-

  • Pre-Departure Planning
  • Personal Safety/Security
  • Situational Awareness
  • Gender-Based Violence
  • Travel Safety
  • Hotel & Social Media Safety
  • Personal Self-Defence
  • Basic First Aid

Nearly all of the Instructors at Staff Defence have a background in either the military or in emergency services, which means they have the knowledge and experiential training in diverse settings worldwide, including even in hostile environments. Additionally, the course encompasses a range of real-life role-play scenarios, which enables each woman to engage in practical and constructive learning that can be embedded into her mind through the structured training. Therefore, by the end of this course, the female traveller will be thoroughly prepared for safe journeys and will feel more confident and more empowered, when touring the world on her own.

If you are considering travelling solo, as a female, why not email or call us at Staff Defence, as below:

E: info@staffdefence.co.uk

T: 0203 997 7900

We can then discuss with you the appropriate Travel Safety course to meet your specific requirements, and most importantly, keep you safe on your excursions.

References:-

(*1) –  Specia and Mzezewa (2019) New York Times