Tips for female expats – staying safe abroad
If you’re a woman moving abroad, whether you are doing it alone or moving with a partner or family, it’s important to consider things you should (and not) do to keep yourself safe in a new environment. This is an exciting chapter, and life invariably in a new country, should be exciting and adventurous, but a new place poses new safety concerns.
Whilst there is no fool-proof way of preventing all danger, and rest assured, the majority of female expats do enjoy a safe and crime free experience. But whether at home or abroad it’s always appropriate to follow good safety rules. It’s completely up to you, which of these you stick to: but here are our top tips, internationally recognised by safety and humanitarian agencies, to keep you ladies safe!
Top tips for staying safe abroad as a female expat
- Dress respectfully for the country – this may mean dressing more conservatively, avoiding specific items of clothing or certain colors or patterns. Out of respect and, of course, safety, adopting local customs (which invariably include clothing rules) will help you fit in and avoid insulting or potentially upsetting local people.
- One of the more controversial tips; but consider wearing a wedding ring – even if this is a fake ring. It may help you avoid unwanted attention.
- Be firm but polite if refusing unwanted advances or discuss your husband/boyfriend (real or fake), which ever makes you feel more comfortable. It’s always a good idea to familiarize yourself with local customs between the sexes before you go
- When meeting new people, we suggest arranging to meet in public, open spaces, ideally in the day when it’s busy. It’s important to make new friends and connections, but begin new relationships in a safe setting.
- Do make sure people know where you’re going (especially if you’re heading out with new people) – this could be friends or family back home, or perhaps new friends you have met.
- Research the area before you set off. Knowing where you’re going and understanding the area (including the safest transport links and routes) will help you make informed decisions and in turn minimize danger/safety issues.
- Learn the language – no matter what the situation, being able to communicate (even just the basics) with and understand those around you will help you make more informed decisions and keep you safer.
- When looking for a home, find one that you feel safe in (that includes location and people you’re living with). If you can, visit the property at least once before moving in, and if you can ideally start with a month contract so you can get a feel for the place and whether you feel comfortable there, before committing to it long-term.
- Ask questions – the best way of getting to know a country is by interacting with locals or other expats, especially those who can share their experiences with you.
- Walk alone at night, even if it’s a short distance. Where possible, always have your route planned and use licensed and regulated forms of transport, unless you can walk with someone you know well and trust.
- Wear showy or expensive jewellery that may attract attention – you could unwittingly attract thieves and pick-pockets. Some countries will be more applicable here…
- Leave your drink unattended, ever. This should be a general rule in life, not just a new country!
- Leave an event or a venue with a stranger. Where possible try to make plans beforehand, as to how you are going to get home, and don’t give out personal details such as your address or hotel room number.
- Give out personal details, such as your address or hotel room number etc.
- Do anything you wouldn’t do at home. There may be different customs in a new country but just because you’re enjoying a new place, doesn’t mean you should leave your common sense at home!
Over our 120 years of international moving experience we have noted that if you’re culturally aware, with local language skills, you are more likely to feel empowered and secure in your move.
If you’re moving abroad soon and would like more information about how to get more culturally aware before you leave, or to learn the necessary language skills for your new home country, let us help. At Santa Fe Relocation, we make moving home easy for you.