A rising number of women are traveling the world solo — but is it safe?
On TODAY Monday, NBC investigative and consumer correspondent Vicky Nguyen demonstrated some easy tips that can help women stay safe while traveling by themselves.
In recent years, women have been targeted for assault or worse while traveling alone.
Last year, a Florida woman was found dead near her vacation rental in Costa Rica. In another case, a New York woman had to learn to walk again after she suffered a spinal cord injury running from an attacker on vacation in Thailand in 2016.
So Nguyen took a trip to Costa Rica, a popular solo travel destination, to show some simple precautions women can take to make sure they avoid dangerous situations. And it starts before you arrive at the airport.
Here's what experts recommend:
- Make a color copy of your passport as a backup or take a picture of the passport and email it to yourself and someone you trust in case it gets lost or stolen.
- Arrive at your destination during daylight hours so you can check out the surroundings to make sure it's safe.
- Consider staying at a hotel that has staff working 24/7 rather than a home share.
- Check in with family at home after arriving and share your itinerary with someone at home so they know what you are doing.
- Write down the exact address of where you're staying in case your phone dies or gets lost or stolen.
- Request a room on a higher floor because there's generally a layer of security before you get to the elevators.
- If you're riding the elevator with a stranger, let them press their floor number first. If it's the same as yours, go up another level just to be safe.
- Try to wear clothes that blend in while out in public so you don't advertise that you're a tourist, and leave the valuables at home.
- Only carry what you need, primarily your phone, ID and some cash.
- Use a purse or pocket that can be worn in the front so that way you prevent pickpockets from reaching into a back pocket.
- Carry your cash in more than one spot, like a shoe or somewhere else, so if your purse does get stolen, you still have some money on you.
- If you're enjoying some nightlife, keep an eye on the person making your drink, don't let your drink out of your sight and stay sober if you're by yourself.
- Don't tell strangers where you're staying and keep it vague if they ask.
- Consider going on a group tour by booking with a certified tour operator. Read the reviews first.