young university graduates to businesswomen to energetic grandmothers,
Canadian women are travelling like never before. They're travelling
solo, in pairs and as members of interest groups. And while women
travel for many of the same reasons that men do, their social concerns,
as well as their health and safety needs, are very, very different.
The following tips
and advice are just a few of the many pertinent facts contained
in the booklet, Her Own Way: Practical Tips and Advice for the
Canadian Woman Traveller written by Journeywoman Editor, Evelyn
Hannon and published by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International
- A smart traveller
is one who finds out everything she can about the culture
and customs, and the role of women, in the places she'll
be visiting. It makes sense to learn what to expect and
prepare yourself for as many eventualities as possible.
- Don't count
on mainstream media to present information specifically
relevant to the female traveller. Instead, supplement
your reading with travel books, newsletters and magazines
for women. They address, with appropriate empathy, the
most important health, safety, cultural and emotional
issues experienced by females on the road.
- It's a good
idea to travel light. A few days before your departure,
you might want to try some test walks with your luggage.
Pack your bag and make your way around the block. Visualize
yourself climbing subway stairs or getting on and off
a train unassisted. You'll probably go home and reduce
the bag's content by half.
- Extra security
makes sense. Consider carefully whether to accept food
or drink from strangers. Understand that drugging is always
- If you use
contraceptive pills, be sure to take them every 24 hours.
Don't be misled by crossing time zones.
- Choose your
accommodation carefully. You should avoid ground-floor
rooms or any room that has easy access from outside (i.e.
a balcony or fire escape). Book a room that is close to
the elevator and away from exits. Stairwells allow troublemakers
to hide and to come and go undetected.
- If you can't
make yourself understood in the local language, seek out
female teenagers. Chances are they're studying some English
at school and will take pride in being your translator.
- If you travel
into developing countries and male-dominated societies,
make every effort to dress modestly. In some places, customs
based on religious and moral beliefs strongly influence
the way the women dress. For you to blatantly break these
rules would be considered irreverent and might put you
in jeopardy. Why not adapt your clothing to fit the customs
of the host country? It becomes an interesting and educational
- In some cultures,
making eye contact with a man is a sign that you want
his company. Some women solve this problem by wearing
- If you're
not comfortable eating alone in the evening, have your
main meal at lunchtime when even the finest restaurants
offer their specialities at more reasonable prices.
- Off travelling
for the day? You should leave a note in your hotel room
explaining where you're going. If you run into trouble,
at least there will be clues to follow.
- The pregnant
traveller should check her insurance policy to make sure
that she is covered for all eventualities. Most policies
don't automatically cover pregnancy-related conditions
or nursery care for premature infants.
with an infant? If you're breast-feeding, take your cues
from local women, since cultural practices vary from country
to country. However, when in doubt, try to breast-feed
- For the older
woman, this is a wonderful time in your life to be travelling.
In most cultures, age brings respect. Children will gravitate
to you. Local women will be protective, and you'll suffer
less from unsolicited male advances.
- In certain
cultures, businessmen may consider it acceptable to proposition
or to flirt with visiting businesswomen. Don't be offended.
A simple and direct "no" is appropriate.
Note: For many, many more user-friendly bits of advice
Canadian women say.......
most important things about traveling: pack light, always
wear comfortable shoes and SMILE!
Erin Woodley, Canadian Olympic Silver Medalist, Synchronized
- it opens your eyes. It makes you realize how well off
we are here in Canada.
Captain Nicole Sauve, Pilot, Canada 3000 Airlines
I enjoy leaving it but I love coming back.
Erica Ehm, Real Life with Erica Ehm Host, Life Network
As a woman,
my fear of being cooped up in my home without new challenges,
new conversations, new vistas, far outweighs any fears
I might have of travelling solo in a strange land.
Evelyn Hannon, Editor, Journeywoman Online E-zine