Do Women Need to Be More Careful When Traveling Solo? What About Men?
“And men. Men should be banned because sometimes they hit on me when I really want to read (This is less frequent since I crossed the 50 Rubicon but it still happens.) and their sense of entitlement takes all the oxygen.”
This was the comment posted by reader Flyer Mama, in this article I wrote pertaining to whether or not children should be banned from the premium class cabin.
Are men becoming more like “pigs” lately — or has this always been the case with solo female travelers?
When I met Kendra Collins of Points & Pixie Dust for the first time last week at the BAcon conference in Las Vegas, I mentioned to her how I felt bad that she had what she called one of the worst travel days she had experienced in a long time. She then told me about creepy guys who blocked her path multiple times; followed her down the street; and sit next to her in a restaurant where she was sitting by herself — and that was before I read her article.
Kendra sports an unusually wild and funky kind of hairstyle. If I recall correctly, she also told me about this one “creep” who touched her hair.
Meanwhile — approximately halfway into her walk to a restaurant in Las Vegas where she wanted to have breakfast — Keri Anderson of Heels First Travel was hesitant to complete her solo trek because of some “homeless men and drunk guys.” She turned around and settled on taking out breakfast from a fast food restaurant.
I decided to peruse the Women Travelers forum on FlyerTalk. Here are some discussions which have been launched this year:
- men hitting on you?
- Dealing with harassment during flight?
- Safe country for 9day trip for a solo female traveler?
As with racism pertaining to people of Asian ethnicity, this is all foreign to me. I would never even think of approaching a woman to blatantly “hit” on her. In fact, I am rather shy; and am staunchly protective of my personal space.
I have never ascribed to the term “weaker sex” for women; but it also saddens me to see story after story of women having to watch out for creepy guys…
…but men also have to watch out as well when traveling. Fortunately, this has never happened to me; but there have been stories of attractive women who entice men — some of whom “think with one head instead of the other”, which usually can get them into trouble — and lure them into situations where it is too late to extricate themselves. One of many examples is the scams in China involving “tea ceremonies” or “see my art work.”
It is really a shame that travelers have to watch out for creepy people who are bent on disrupting our enjoyment for their personal gain at our expense; but I was born and raised in Brooklyn — and what I have learned is the following:
- Always be aware of your surroundings, which will allow you to detect any suspicious activity that much sooner
- Have at least one exit or an “out” in mind at all times should anything go awry
- Keep your valuables in a place where it is difficult for a perpetrator to access — such as the front pocket of your pants or slacks
- If and when absolutely necessary, have a “weapon” handy — such as having your keys stick out between your fingers when clenched as a fist
- Try to be as inconspicuous as possible and not call any undue attention to yourself — for example, I wear jeans, a polo shirt or T-shirt, and sneakers to simply blend in with the crowd
- Do not foolishly venture into suspect places or neighborhoods — especially when you do not have to venture into them
- Ignore “creeps” and other people who attempt to invade your privacy or personal space — even an adverse reaction still calls attention to them, which they crave
Even with the best of efforts, it can sometimes be impossible to avoid an uncomfortable or dangerous situation — but you can employ the measures listed above to significantly reduce them from happening to you.
By no means is the list above considered to be exhaustive — and that is where you come in. What do you do to avoid “creeps” from accosting you and to keep yourself from being vulnerable to uncomfortable — and potentially dangerous — situations?