The Check-In: travel safety tips for women, solo adventures, and more

Personal safety comes before being polite

A woman wheels a yellow suitcase through an airport terminal
It's easy to let your guard down due to the stress of traveling
(Image credit: Marchmeena29 via Getty Images)

Welcome to The Check-In, our weekend feature focusing on all things travel.

Experts share tips on staying safe while traveling

When you're trying to make it through the security line at the airport without losing your luggage, kids or sanity, it can be easy to let your guard down; predators know this. In their new book, "Smart Safety for Women: Your Guide to Defensive Living," out Oct. 3, Joy Farrow and Laura Frombach share their tips on how to stay alert, vigilant and persuasion-proof while traveling.

Farrow, a retired deputy sheriff, and Frombach, a technologist, recommend developing your safety intuition before you leave home. This involves reading body language and picking up on people's microexpressions, which "flit across someone's face in less than a second," Farrow told The Week. Your brain and eyes are reading these expressions without you consciously being aware "and saying to you something about this person makes me uneasy." If you feel a pit in your stomach or the hair on your neck goes up, this is your safety intuition warning you something is wrong.

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Ensure a secure connection while using public WiFi by putting a virtual private network (VPN) on your phone, and enable Face ID so someone watching you can't figure out your password. Thieves "shoulder surf," Farrow and Frombach said, so they can try to steal your phone's data. While in a public area, never leave your suitcases alone, because "not only could someone take something away from you, they could put something unwanted in your luggage," Frombach said.

When it comes to staying safe in a ride-share vehicle, make sure the license plate matches what is shown on the app once the car arrives. Check the vehicle to see if anything is altered, like a door handle was removed or the child safety lock is on.

If you're staying at a hotel, bring a door stop alarm. Should someone knock on the door, you don't have to open it, and can call the front desk to make sure it is a hotel staffer on the other side. Farrow and Frombach recommend carrying a tactical pen and small flashlight, which can both be used as weapons, and keeping hornet's spray on the nightstand.

Women are socialized to pay attention and focus on other people, Farrow and Frombach said, and it's important to be persuasion-proof. "Remember, personal safety comes before politeness," Farrow said. That means if someone comes to your car and asks for help, do not roll your window down; instead, offer to call for help. "Women tend to always want to give an excuse," Farrow and Frombach explained, but all that needs to be said is, "No. That's all. No, no, no way, nada."

These indulgent hotel packages are just for solo travelers

Solo travel is on the rise and hotels around the world are taking notice, offering special packages for parties of one. At Gili Lankanfushi in the Maldives, the Gili Solo Experience Package has a little bit of everything; the itinerary includes a spa treatment, photography session, sunset sail, Maldivian cooking class, snorkeling excursion with the resort's marine biologist, daily sunrise yoga sessions, and a "dine in the dark" dinner experience. There is a minimum four-night stay, with guests choosing their villa accommodation.

A beach in the Maldives

Turquoise waters in the Maldives
(Image credit: DEA / M. Borchi / De Agostini via Getty Images)

The three-night Almanac Solo package at Almanac Barcelona opens the city up for guests looking to have an immersive experience. At the hotel, you'll have a private 60-minute sunrise yoga session, but most of the time you'll be exploring the city, armed with a curated list of shopping recommendations from the concierge and a Barcelona City Pass that grants access to landmarks like the Sagrada Familia. Be sure to add the three-hour tapas tour that goes to hidden gems across Barcelona and the private shopping experience at La Manual Alpargatera, where you'll customize a pair of espadrilles.

A view of the Barcelona skyline

A colorful view of Barcelona
(Image credit: Jim Bennett / Getty Images)

It's going to be hard to go back to "we" after all the "me" time at The Wauwinet in Nantucket. The Take Time for Yourself package includes accommodations for three nights, as well as a $200 spa credit to the White Elephant Spa by Darya, a $50 voucher to spend at Nantucket Bookworks, a sailing excursion, a private guided hike to the Coskata Coatue Wildlife Refuge, a trip to the Whaling Museum, and a welcome basket filled with self-care items.

Crashing waves

Waves break on the beach on Nantucket Island
(Image credit: Robert Nickelsberg / Getty Images)

In case you missed it ...

  • Turkish carrier Corendon Airlines announced some of its planes will have adult-only sections where, for a fee, passengers 16 and up can sit in a child-free space, The Washington Post reported.
  • Summer is still hanging on, but you can use this round-up from Travel + Leisure to start planning your fall foliage routes now.
  • If you want to get into The Vault, a new cocktail club at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, you have to know somebody who knows somebody else who knows that guy (no, not him — the other one). It's that exclusive.

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Catherine Garcia

Catherine Garcia is night editor for TheWeek.com. Her writing and reporting has appeared in Entertainment Weekly and EW.com, The New York Times, The Book of Jezebel, and other publications. A Southern California native, Catherine is a graduate of the University of Redlands and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.