WTOP Interview: Top Travel Tips for The Empowered Female Traveler

Interview Transcript:

Hillary Howard: If you’ve got a trip coming up, that you’re taking on your own, there are some things to consider for the safety of you and your family.

Shawn Anderson: Well, joining us live, Nina Mitchell of Her Wealth and The Colony Group in Bethesda. Nina, great to have you back.

Nina Mitchell: Great to be here, thanks.

Shawn: What start with keeping your identity, your money and your valuables safe? What can you tell us here?

Nina: Well, you know with women traveling more alone. You know safety is definitely a top concern and just according to a woman’s safety survey done by AIG travel, 45% of female travelers actually feel less safe today than five years ago. And our empowered female traveler article found on WTOP, has lots of great tips and links. So, I want to encourage everyone to read it. Let me give you a few helpful tips first. First, if you’re traveling outside the U.S, make sure to visit the U.S State Department’s travel website, where you’re going to find a lot of great information on international travel and they also have a dedicated section for women travelers.

Enroll in the smart traveler enrollment program; it’s also called STEP. And the app is free and it gives you updated security alerts and it makes it easy for the U.S embassy to locate you in case of an emergency, like a natural disaster. Of course make copies of your passport, your credit cards, insurance and other important information and keep that securely on your phone, in a vault, if you can get it through the cloud. And also, keep a hard copy in a safe place in case your phone does get lost or stolen. And then you know, leave you leave a copy of your itinerary with your family or close friends, make sure they know where you are at all times you know, have regular check ins and be smart about social media postings. You don’t want to provide too much real time information.

And then lastly, for women traveling alone in a hotel, never hang a sign asking for your room to be cleaned. Since that announces basically no one is home and consider carrying a door wedge to lock and wedge your hotel room door.

Hillary: A couple of moments ago, you mentioned checking out the State Department’s site on where you’re going. Is there anything else people should look at in terms of their destination?

Nina: Well, that in particular has just phenomenal information, up to date security alerts and also that STEP program. That will also immediately contact you. So, both of those and they’re intertwined through the State Department. It’s excellent.

Shawn: And what about your adult children? What about the things that you should maybe do for them or they should be doing for themselves before traveling?

Nina: Well, just keep in mind that once your children are age eighteen, they are legal adults. And there’s no better time than before a big trip to sit down with them and make sure that you actually as a family have appropriate legal documents in place to handle medical emergencies, which really means that you should have a medical power of attorney with HIPAA authorization in place.

Hillary: Any final thoughts for us Nina?

Nina: Just you know, about travel insurance; I know people have mixed opinions on travel insurance and you know, whereas we’re all familiar with travel insurance for trip cancellations. They also include coverage for medical or emergency evacuations and they’re a great resource when you need twenty four seven global assistance. It’s nice to be able to talk to an expert, if you need an English speaking doctor or if you have to coordinate an air ambulance, they can handle all of that. And then just lastly, make sure that your medical insurance does cover you outside the U.S. If you’re on Medicare, it does not cover you outside the U.S. And so that’s another way that if you want to have travel insurance you can incorporate medical insurance.

Shawn: Lots of good info. Thanks Nina. That’s Nina Mitchell of The Colony Group. Read more on solo travel at wtop.com, search Her Wealth.