Travelling to new countries can be a fun, exciting, yet stressful experience. Whether it is for work or pleasure, travel can take us all over the world to exotic new locales but there are some specific travel considerations for women and members of the LGBTQ+ Community one should consider to ensure a safe and secure trip.
Different Laws and Cultural Practices
While we often like to view the world as a welcoming, loving place full of wonder, with lots of adventures to be had, this isn’t always the case for many travellers. Some countries have laws, cultural practices and rules to follow for female and LGBTQ+ travellers which need to be respected to say both safe and free from unwanted attention from the authorities. Prior to travel to any country outside of Canada, it is important to visit the Government of Canada’s Travel advice and advisories by destination webpage (https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/advisories) which provide travel advisories and risk ratings for every country around the world. It is a handy tool to get a quick snapshot of any potential dangers for whatever country you may be travelling to. The “Laws and culture” tab may contain information on the laws and social customs that could affect LGBTQ+ and female Canadians there.
Pre Travel Research
The GOC also provides handy information for LGBTQ+ Canadian travellers which provide recommendations you may not have considered prior to overseas travel, such as tightening security settings on public facing online social media content which could be viewed by in-country authorities and used against you as member of this community, or avoiding known LGBTQ+ friendly nightlife which may be monitored by authorities and raided. (https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/health-safety/lgbt-travel)
There is also a webpage devoted to Canadian women travelers – https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/health-safety/advice-for-women-travellers. This provides insight into where to find laws surrounding women in your destination, links for sexual assault resources, and tips for travel as a woman. It is also important to research cultural expectations around women’s attire, modesty laws, and travel without a male companion if you are a solo traveler.
Advice and Guidance
Now that you have conducted your pre-travel research, here are some helpful tips and items you have wish to pack in your suitcase to help keep you safe abroad. While hotels can be a calming escape from the hustle and bustle of work and travel, they aren’t always as secure as we would like to imagine. Hotel room doors are surprisingly easy to compromise, and hotel staff can be bribed for access to a room of a lone female traveler. Bringing a simple rubber doorstop to wedge under the door is a cost effective and easy way to keep your room secure while getting some respite. Personal alarms are handy tool to have to attract attention or scare away a potential attacker in an emergency, and sharing your mobile phone’s location with a trusted friend or family member while abroad may help authorities locate you should the worst come to pass. While touring the city or heading to meetings, ensure you are always aware of your surroundings, only take licensed taxis / Ubers, and be wary of anyone who becomes overly friendly, asks too many questions, or asks for your contact information. Be aware of “honey traps” out to rob or blackmail travelers, if you’re a 4 in Canada, you’re still a 4 abroad. Sorry to say, they don’t like you for your personality.
Once you have done your research, packed your security tools, and registered with the local embassy, you are ready to go!
If you have any questions or would like to talk to a security advisor please get in touch.
On behalf of the Kirsch Group – bon voyage, stay safe and have fun!