Diversity Woman Magazine

WIN 2017

Leadership and Executive Development for women of all races, cultures and backgrounds

Issue link: https://diversitywoman.epubxp.com/i/780405

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Page 51 of 59

50 D I V E R S I T Y W O M A N W i n t e r 2 0 1 7 d i v e r s i t y w o m a n . c o m DW Life > Use common sense Always be aware of your surroundings, notes Groshek. "Inquire with the staff or concierge at your hotel about places to avoid, lock valuables and travel docu- ments in a room safe, keep friends and family informed of your daily itinerary and check in often, and avoid excessive alcohol consumption." Also, be discreet: don't wear flashy jewelry, be careful when using electronics (a frequent target of thieves), carry as little cash as possible, and keep spare bills in a travel wallet hidden under your clothes (around your neck or your waist). Some travelers even carry a spare "dummy" wallet that con- tains a few small bills and expired credit cards, to distract thieves. There's safety in numbers Whenever possible, travel in a group, Blochtein says, noting that she recently received a request from an 82-year-old woman who wanted to arrange a trip to Mexico—alone. "She was well traveled and wanted to go to all the tourist sites and really get to know Mexican culture, but she didn't have a travel companion," Blochtein recalls. She didn't feel com- fortable sending the woman by herself, so she put her with a larger group on a package tour. Blochtein also purchased travel insurance for her client and pro- vided contact information on WhatsApp so that the client could reach Blochtein anytime, day or night. "I monitored her from the moment she embarked until she arrived back home," Blochtein adds. e result? "She had a wonderful time and has already planned a second trip!" Should you find yourself having to go places alone, "be street smart and trust your instincts," Bratell says. "Evaluate the situation beforehand to think of ways to avoid risks, watch your belongings, and keep an eye out for the nearest es- cape route." Bratell, who frequently had to walk around Rio by herself with a TV camera while filming events, also sug- gests trying to make contact with a lo- cal person you can trust: "I've done that every time I've traveled for work and I've always felt safe." Look like the locals As the saying goes, "When in Rome, do as the Romans do." at applies whether you're traveling to Iceland or Indonesia. "Blend in with your local surroundings in dress, mannerisms, and customs," Gro- shek advises. "at's not just because it's the polite and respectful thing to do, but because it demonstrates that you're an intelligent traveler." Sara Kosyk, an operations manager with Academic Arrangements Abroad, a cultural tour operator in New York City, learned the importance of this advice recently when she took three groups of Americans to Iran on art- and archaeology- focused trips sponsored by the Metro- politan Museum of Art. In Iran, so-called immodest dress is ille- gal, meaning that women must not only cover their hair so that only an inch or so shows in the front, but must also cover themselves down to their ankles and wrists and up to their collarbones. While she wouldn't want to live with such re- strictions permanently, Kosyk found that the effort she took to blend in was well worth it. Her concerns quickly fell away once she arrived, and she was able to en- joy her experience fully knowing she was less likely to stand out: "I'm surprised at how quickly I adjusted to my head scarf!" Copy, copy Make two copies of all your important documents—passport, visa, identifica- tion cards, credit cards (copy both front and back), travel reservations, itinerary, and so forth. Leave one set of copies back home with a close friend or family member, and take one with you but keep it separate from the originals. Carry your passport copy with you but leave the original, as Groshek noted, in your room safe. When this reporter's passport was stolen while she was traveling in Argen- tina, the US Embassy was able to issue a new one in less than 24 hours because she had a copy of the original. Keep a positive attitude As it turns out, Bratell, the Swedish re- porter, didn't need any of the emergency medical training she received, but she did rely on many of the safety tips. "Working in Rio during the Olympics was an amaz- ing experience," she offers. "Sometimes it was hard, because I always had to watch my back and find that very fine balance between trusting the right people and be- ing naïve, but once I did find it, my expe- rience was fantastic. I met so many lovely people and learned and laughed so much during my time there." "Traveling makes you grow as a per- son," she adds. "So don't forget to smile, have fun, and be open minded." DW Travel writer Sara J. Welch attended the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, where she found the advance press about chaos and crime to be completely unfounded. THINKSTOCKPHOTOS Traveling makes you grow as a person. So don't forget to smile, have fun, and be open minded.

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