What safety measures should Australian women take when travelling?

Insurer offers crucial tips

What safety measures should Australian women take when travelling?


By Roxanne Libatique

A newly released survey by Opinium, commissioned by World Travel Protection, has delved into the safety practices adopted by Australian women when travelling for business purposes.

The research, focusing on 500 Australian business travellers, indicates that a significant 88% of female travellers proactively adopt measures to ensure their security during solo travel.

Safety measures women adopt when travelling

Among the precautions taken, the most prevalent include:

  • communicating their location to either family members or employers (39%);
  • steering clear of nighttime events or meetings (25%);
  • using objects to secure hotel room entrances (14%); and
  • a portion (10%) carrying defensive devices such as pepper spray or keys for protection.

Risks women face when travelling

Highlighting the gender-specific challenges encountered in travel, Kate Fitzpatrick, regional security director for EMEA at World Travel Protection, pointed out the additional risks of harassment and discrimination women face.

The data reflects this concern, showing that 63% of female respondents feel more vulnerable when travelling compared to their male counterparts, with a higher percentage worried about the risk of sexual assault (44% of women vs 29% of men).

“When making plans for travellers who identify as women, it’s important to think about the social rules and safety of the destination they’re visiting. This includes how they will get around safely and any political problems,” she said. “Factors such as cultural norms, gender-based discrimination, and safety concerns can significantly impact women’s experiences while travelling.”

The survey also touched on the issue of global gender equality, revealing that 29% of female respondents are reluctant to travel to places where women’s rights are not adequately upheld.

A positive note was that 58% of women acknowledged their employers’ concern for their safety, highlighting measures such as arranging safer flight schedules, avoiding late-night travel from airports to hotels, and providing access to a travel assistance application.

The survey, which ran from February 1 to February 8, 2024, sampled 2,000 individuals from the UK, Australia, the US, and Canada who travel for business at least once annually.

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