Queen of the Road

“Surely one advantage of traveling is that, while it removes much prejudice against foreigners and their customs, it intensifies tenfold one’s appreciation of the good at home.” – Isabella L Bird, writer, historian and explorer.

Though most people die to grab the opportunity to travel alone, for women it might not exactly be a walk in the park. Like it or not, women have to take special precautions while they are on the road… especially when they are all alone. With the major issue of safety concerns to deal with, EXEC takes a trip through some of the do-s and don’t-s for your next trip.

Back up the Itinerary
Though it might not occur to you, it is important that you leave behind photocopies of all documents that you’ll be requiring for the trip. Include names, addresses and telephone numbers of every place you will be staying. Include photocopies of your passport identification page as well as flight and ticket information.

Toilet Tales
On the move, clean toilets are often hard to come by. So it is best to arm yourself with the knowledge of quick modes of sanitization. It is best if you avoid contact with toilet seats, but for the times it is not possible, keep a roll of tissues handy.

Safety First
Leave all valuables, such as extra credit cards and jewelry, at home. Even costume jewelry poses an unnecessary risk to your safety. For self defence, make sure that you always have a can of pepper spray in your purse.

Finally, check up on medical insurance claims, prescriptions you might require for medication and make sure you have all your regular medication stored in your medical kit.

Local Picks Image
While travelling out of your home city, you have little or no idea about the locals their, their sensibilities and what might offend them. More often than not, it is not possible to know about cultures by just reading up, so it is best to be respectful about the practices you encounter and polite to the locals you come across. You never know who you’ll need to turn to for help.

Room Service
It is best to book a hotel befor you reach your destination. While booking the hotel, make sure to run thorough checks about their credibility and make sure that the place you choose is near the heart of the city. Often compromises are made to save money, but when on your own, a few notes is in no way as important as your own safety.

After checking in, make sure that all of the doors and windows in your room have working locks. If you feel uncomfortable at any point of time, do not back away from asking the hotel security for help.

In Conversation with Road Warrior Ansoo Gupta

A physics and math graduate, Ansoo believes that her travels have taught her many a valuable life lessons. The COO of India’s largest digital platform, Ansoo started travelling independently almost two decades ago. After traveling to more than 30 countries across the world, Ansoo now conducts travel workshops aptly titled “Get Out!” all over India. EXEC catches up with her as she shares some tips with women business travellers.

Travelling very often for work, Ansoo believes in traveling ‘fuss-free’. “I generally travel very light and try to do away with check-in luggage as often as possible,” she smiles as she starts recounting her do-s and don’t-s while traveling. “Now-a-days there are some great luggage solutions one can choose from. The cabin size luggage available is perfect for women who are traveling on their own for work purposes,” she continues.

Advising us on packing, Ansoo believes, “In all honesty, you have little or not time to look around once your work is done. There really is no point carrying things you don’t need. It is best to carry clothes that are light and can double up as something you’d wear to dinner after you’re done with work.” And indeed, it is not difficult at all to jazz up your work clothes with just a belt or a scarf. And when it comes to shoes, “Carry a comfortable pair that can double up as both formal and non-formal. For women, this is easier to pull off,” she chuckles.

Traveling light has its other advantages too. “If you’re traveling light, running becomes easier for you. Though I haven’t missed flights, I have had to run across the airport pretty often to avoid missing connecting flights because of tight timings and delays. If you have too many bags to keep track of, that becomes impossible,” Ansoo says.

And about new places and people? “It is always good to play it safe and not attract attention to yourself. Don’t be flashy or loud and please read about the country and her sensibilities so that you do not get into an awkward situation with locals,” says Ansoo.

Concluding the conversation, Ansoo has only one bit of advice for our women readers who need to travel often, “While traveling on your own, it is essential to remember one thing: Don’t Panic. Sometimes schedules will get messed up and sometimes accidents will happen and sometimes the back-ups you though of won’t come in handy, but remember to stay calm. More importantly, be prepared for anything.”

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