The other question I received last week dealt with security concerns for women who travel alone. I found a really good site with excellent advice.
I hope this column is helpful for those of you who must travel on business regularly and share some of the concerns about your personal security.
QUESTION: As a woman who travels for business there are two things that are important to me. Firstly, is security. While I am always careful, are there any tips you can offer.
Secondly, I wish more attention were paid to women’s needs by hoteliers. It seems to me business hotels are designed for the male traveller. However, the balance has shifted dramatically since I first started travelling.
ANSWER: While I don’t have Canadian figures, in the United States, statistics suggest it is very close to a 50-50 split between male and female business travellers.
American female business travellers spend $200 million annually. And yes, while there have been some dramatic shifts in trying to concentrate services on the needs and wants of female business people, the reality is that change has been slow in coming.
However, a number of hotels internationally now have women-only floors that feature controlled access.
Progressive hotels are even stocking bar fridges differently, recognizing hard liquors are not as popular with women.
They are putting in better mirrors and hair dryers, and even organic beauty supplies.
From a security perspective, I found an excellent website that is worth a review by women who spend time on the road, staying at different hotel properties, and navigating cities or country sides on their own.
The website — http://www.womenstraveltips.com/ — offers the following suggestions to name a few.
Place the “do not disturb” sign on your door to discourage anyone from entering your room while you are away. You may want to mention the fact to the housekeeping staff. The sign could prevent someone from trying to access your room knowing you are alone and away at the time, then breaking in to await your return.
At check-in, or at other times for that matter, if the desk clerk mentions your room number out loud and there are other guests around to overhear, request that you be given a different room and that the clerk not mention the number.
If it’s very late and you’re alone, do not be reluctant to go to the front desk and ask security to walk you to your room.
Especially in male-dominated foreign countries, to ward off unwanted male attention, carry fake engagement and wedding rings to be used as necessary; and make hotel reservations as if you are married.
If there is a sliding door in your hotel room, check to make sure it is locked.
There are a number of other tips on the site worth reviewing even for experienced travellers.
If you have travel question forward them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ron Pradinuk is president of Journeys Travel & Leisure SuperCentre and can be heard Sundays at noon on CJOB.
Previous columns and tips can be found on www.journeystravelgear.com or read Ron’s travel blog at www.thattravelguy.ca