Travel Safety

Tips For Female Travelers

Women must take extra precautions to stay safe when traveling abroad.   There are a few things you should consider adding to your list of things to be done before you start packing for your trip.  

Always check the US Travel Advisory

I firmly believe that your safety is of utmost importance.  That means that you must begin thinking about safety before you start packing for any trip.  Be aware of any precautions that you need to consider before embarking on your trip abroad.  A great place to begin is by consulting the US Travel Advisory recommended for your destination.    The Travel Advisory  is color coded to indicate different levels of caution.   You should make yourself aware of any Travel Alerts before you take any trip abroad.   You can read them online. 

Plan to Stay connected

Once you arrive at your destination, let someone at home know your travel plans, including your itinerary and contact information. Pin your location so that if something happens to you a family member or a trusted friend will know where how to find you.  You should also carry a cell phone with you at all times.  Most smartphones allow you to save emergency contacts to share your Uber ride, send pinned locations, or send an emergency alert,  These preparations should be made before you leave home.  

Take precautions against theft

Keep your valuables close to you at all times, and don't carry more cash than you need. You should also consider investing in a money belt or travel wallet.

Download maps of the area.  

This will save you anxiety and worry once you arrive at your destination.   A word of precaution-- avoid traveling alone at night. If you must travel alone at night, stick to well-lit areas and take a taxi or public transportation. 


Download the Uber app or Didi rideshare app.  

Depending on your location, one or both of these services will be cheaper and more reliable than the local taxi service.  Again, for safety always check the identification of the driver as well as the number on the plates. Uber allows you to see the name of the driver, the make and model of the car, and the license plate number ahead of time.  You can also share your ride with a family member.  

Learn a few basic phrases in the local language

This will help you get around and communicate with easier with locals.  Knowing some basic phrases will give you the confidence needed to get around, ask for what you need, and to be understood.  If you make errors in speaking, don't worry about it.  The locals will appreciate the effort and they will help you with pronunciation and wording if you are receptive to suggestions.  Learning the language is part of the fun of traveling.  

Always Be aware of your surroundings.  

During your initial outing, consider putting the cell phone away so that you can pay attention to the people and things around you.  This is especially important when you're in a new place.  Don't be afraid to ask for help from your hotel concierge or a local guide if you need it.

Choose a Hotel in a Safe Area.

It's best to find accommodations and activities in areas where the largest concentrations of hotels, resorts, and restaurants are located.  These are usually designated tourist areas and they tend to be the safest places to stay during your trip. 

Trust your instincts. 

If something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't. Don't be afraid to walk away from a situation or person that makes you uncomfortable.  Women especially need to be selective about who we spend time with. Don't be afraid to say no if you don't feel comfortable with someone or say no to people who want to impose on your travel plans.  If you don't know people well enough to be around them night and day in your home, you should rethink traveling abroad with them.  Do not put yourself at risk for the sake of pleasing others.  

A case in point is a young woman by the name of Shanquella Robinson of North Carolina.  Her demise has been reported in the news.  Shanquella traveled with a group of 'friends' to Mexico.  They did not have her bes interest in mind.  Tragically, this trip cost her her life.  

Watch the video breakdown and consider it a cautionary tale of things to consider when you make your travel plans.                                        

 ~Beverly of miles and coffee

About The Mexican Police 

If you happen to have an incident with police during your vacation, as long as you are not involved in any illegal or illicit activity,  you will probably have a positive or neutral experience.  Whatever the case, it's important to know which type of police you're dealing with.  There are 3 main branches of police in the Mexican policing system: Municipal, State, and Federal Police.  Read on to find to discover how each branch operates.  

photo credit: Cabo Sun

The Municipal Police 

Chances are, the Municipal Police will be the branch that tourists are likely to engage with.  The main duties of the Municipal Police are enforcing local laws and responding to low-level crimes such as pickpocketing and minor assault.  

photo credit: Cabo Sun

The State Police

The second branch is the State Police (Policia Estatal).  Tourists are much less likely to engage with state Police.  Their duties are to deal with drug crime, violent crime, and the enforcement of arrest warrants on the state level. 

photo credit: Cabo Sun

The National Guard

At the very top is the National Guard (Guardia Nacional).  This branch combines the forces of the federal, military, and naval police to create a unified national police force.  The National Guard is a highly professional group.  Their duties include dealing with organized crime in Mexico at the highest levels.  They patrol critically important areas and can be observed protecting high tourist areas.  

photo credit: Cabo Sun

What to do if you are asked to pay a Fine

If pulled over by the Police in Mexico, it is important to remain calm and to be respectful.  If you can do this, chances of things going in your favor are higher.  If asked to pay a fine, insist that you would like an official citation such as a written document, not a handwritten receipt. Also request to go to the nearest police station with them to pay the fine.   Traffic fines and spot fines must be paid at a police station in Mexico.   Armed with this knowledge, you're likely to avoid paying a bribe.

Feel free to speak to the police in English.  Even if you can speak basic Spanish, it's best to speak using your native language during encounters.   If they need to, they can find someone who can speak English to avoid miscommunication.  Also, know that 911 dispatchers will have English -speaking operators.  

The bottom line is, avoid engaging in illegal activity and stay calm if you should have an encounter with  Police.   By staying among the tourist areas and avoiding illegal activity, you are less likely to have a negative encounter with Police in Mexico.  

                                                      ~Beverly of miles and coffee