Now more than ever, women are traveling by themselves for business
or pleasure. And although their reasons for traveling are similar to
their male counterparts, women traveling alone have very different
concerns. From safety issues to cultural variations, women travelers
encounter a variety of difficulties that can be avoided if the
necessary precautions are taken.

learn how you can travel safer, read these tips from the American
Society of Travel Agents (ASTA). Some of the most travel-wise people in
the world, ASTA members understand that while it pays for both men and
women to be educated travelers, it is imperative for women to plan
every step of their trip - from packing a suitcase to choosing a hotel
room - to ensure a safe return.

Know Before You Go
- Learn as much about the destination as possible, especially when
traveling to a foreign country. An area's religious or cultural beliefs
can directly impact you, compelling you to adapt your dress and
demeanor to comply with local customs. Also, what is regarded as sexual
harassment in one country is part of the social fabric of another, so
avoid form-fitting or revealing clothing to prevent unwanted attention.

Welcome to Hotel Safety - Get to know the
staff, who will be familiar with guests and are able to more
effectively monitor who enters and exits the building. Ask beforehand
if a member of the staff will be available to escort you to your room
if you arrive late at night. Ask for a room on a higher floor near the
elevator but away from emergency exits, stairwells, and any renovation
work. Never accept a room if the clerk loudly calls out your name and
room number.

While at the front desk, grab a card from the
counter with the hotel's name, address and phone number on it, and keep
this card on you at all times. Once inside your room, make sure the
door has a peephole and a deadbolt. If it doesn't, make sure you don't
open the door to someone you don't know.

Travel Documents - Make two copies of important travel documents - one set for the trip, and one for friends or family to keep at home.

Packing Smart
- Pack light so you won't be weighed down and look weighed down, both
of which would make you an ideal target for pickpockets. Avoid
expensive looking baggage and clothing, lock all suitcases and only use
covered luggage womantags
with your office address written on it rather than your home. Carry
only one credit card, and don't keep all your money in one place.

- Explore transportation options available at your destination ahead of
time, especially if you will be arriving late in the evening. Travel
agents can help determine the safest choice and make the necessary
arrangements. If renting a car, carefully examine maps, write out
directions in advance and bring along a cellular phone.

Know Your Surroundings
- Study a map of the area you will be visiting. Learn as much as
possible about getting around the streets to avoid looking like a lost
tourist. Ask the concierge about where - and, more importantly, where
not - to go.

The Best Vacation Memories are Good Vacation Memories
- There may be safety in numbers, but there is also safety in
knowledge. With some advance planning and the advice of a professional
travel agent, your vacation or business trip can be safe, hassle free
and memorable.