How to Stay Safe as A Single Female Traveler In India

In India, attacks on tourists have recently been on the rise, leaving one question the level of safety of women touring alone in the country. This has led to women taking safety measures to avoid “Eve-teasing”; the name used in India referring to sexual harassment.

The problem has greatly been attributed to the easy access to illegal homebrews, an increase of porn on the internet and the increasing numbers of uneducated bachelors- who, having lost hope of settling down- relocate into towns and cities away from their families.

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I have put together a useful list of what to do and not do for women traveling alone in India. Women are further advised and reminded that they are not without help. Opportunists are always watching a woman’s behavior and not with the best of intentions. Please be reminded western women that they are not to carry themselves as they do back home. It was observed that both local and foreigner women are at risk of these horrific attacks. Most of the local educated women hardly go out after dark and are often brief when dealing with male strangers and even hotel staff who attempt to chat with them.

What to do or not do when traveling alone in India

To Do

  • Always make arrangements with your guesthouse or hotel for taxi transfers to rail and bus stations particularly after dark.
  • Make use of pre-paid cab counters at the airports and always take the smart and air-conditioned taxis.
  • Ensure your hotel room door has fast bolts on the inside. You can acquire rubber doorstop to help prevent intruders.
  • Avoid the streets after dark. Make use of a rickshaw or taxi to restaurants like the local women do.
  • When in Delhi, use the carriages for women only on the metro and only walk when you have to. This will keep you away from encountering the growing eve-teasing problem.
  • Even when you have not made a hotel reservation, act as though you do. As the taxi to drop you off a particular place then continue from there.

Not to Do

  • Wear any revealing or skimpy clothing. This can be anything from long see-through skirts, strappy tops, shorts or a cut-off pair of trousers. Putting a long tunic over a loose trouser is suggested.
  • Be too welcoming with hotel staff or men who engage you at tourist attraction sights. Instead, hold conversations with women only. While on trains, it is unusual to see any Indian woman chat with a strange man unless it is her husband.
  • Accept drinks from any stranger. The local women barely take drinks in public- even at the hotel bars- therefore be careful of men who invite you for drinks.
  • Facing staring Indian men. This is understood as an invitation. Therefore look away or turn your eyes down. This will indicate your lack of interest in any further interaction.
  • Take walks in the countryside alone. If you have to, have your mobile phone at hand with a speed-dial number ready to call for help. Use your mobile to make fake calls when you get an uncomfortable feeling.

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It pays to stay safe when you travel to another country especially when you are alone and this is your first time in a new destination. Bring back fond memories of your travels  by being cautious, alert and respectful.


Kally

Kally is a former Sales and Customer Service manager turned Writer and Founder of MiddleMe.net. She came from Singapore; lived in Shanghai and now calls Kuala Lumpur her home. After hanging up her corporate briefcase, she now pursue her passions – Writing, Traveling and of course, hunting for good food.

Connect with me @ Kally@ladyredot.com

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Activities to do in Iloilo, Philippines

A heart-shaped province located in Western Visayas, Iloilo is aptly called the “Heart of the Philippines.” It may only have a total land area of 5000 square km with a population of approximately 2 Million, but this province offers countless activities for the young and old!

Food Tour

When you’re in Iloilo, it’s kinda difficult to stay faithful to your strict diet. Why? For starters, mouth-watering dishes are Iloilo’s year round attractions. Find a true blue local to show you places where you can eat authentic Ilonggo cuisines: La Paz Batchoy, native “lechon manok” (roast chicken), talaba and sinamak (oysters and native vinegar), KBL (pigeon peas, pork, and green jackfruit), chicken binakol, Pancit Molo, and fresh seafood dishes (The Philippines is an archipelago, so you see fresh seafood almost everywhere).

Heritage Sites Tour

There are several historical sites scattered all over Iloilo. Don’t forget to visit Calle Real, Plaza Libertad, the Iloilo Provincial Capitol grounds, Cathedral, Lizares Mansion, Casa Mariquit, Molo Church, and Bahay Camiña nga Bato, Jaro Metropolitan Cathedral, Miagao Church, San Joaquin Church, Dumangas Church, Santa Barbara Church and Convent, Ermita Chapel, and Nazaria Lagos Monument. You will surely be in awe of the history, architecture, and culture of the people. This activity is not only fun but also very educational!

Take a dip in Iloilo’s pristine waters

No travel article about the Philippines has no section about how beautiful its beaches are. Don’t forget your swimming outfit, eco-friendly sunblock, and cameras (these beaches are soooo picturesque)! Head over to Islas de Gigantes, Concepcion, Ajuy, Sicogon, San Joaquin, Miagao, Guimbal, Tigbauan, and Oton.

Climb, Trek, and Hike

Aside from crystal clear waters, Iloilo is also blessed with lush mountains. Get a trusted local tour guide to show you the roads less traveled: Bucari, Igbaras, Janiuay, Calinog, and Lambunao. Hike hidden trails and be surprised to see amazing waterfalls, overlooking views, and super clean surroundings! Your lungs, eyes, and heart will surely thank you!

Enjoy the city life

In most parts of the Philippines, it is still possible to enjoy the so-called “city life” without losing that laid-back ambience. Iloilo City has a number of lifestyle centers where you can enjoy a cup of coffee while reading a book, spa day (alone or with your loved ones), dine at classy restaurants, and shop at malls. Don’t forget to check out Plazuela de Iloilo, Ayala Atria Iloilo, Smallville Complex, SM City Iloilo, Robinsons Place Iloilo, and Iloilo Business Park.

Or go on a city tour

Iloilo may be a province, but Iloilo City is actually a tourist hub. Aside from its numerous restaurants and shopping districts, it also has amazing museums, hotels, and lifestyle districts.  and nightlife in the province await.

Join a festival

Because the Philippines is hugely Catholic, it’s not difficult to find yourself in the middle of a religious festival while in a province. Iloilo hosts the Dinagyang Festival, a religious and cultural festival held on the fourth Sunday of January. Enjoy the tribal music, religious rituals, street dancing, colorful costumes, amazing food, and most of all, the warmth of the locals.

Not a sleepy old town, Iloilo has plenty to offer for the adventurous and young at heart. Reach out to us to help you to plan your next trip to Philippines @askus@ladyredot.com.


 Hello, I am Mish! I used to work as a travel expert, customer service specialist and a communications trainer in the past. After working for eight years straight since I graduated, I decided to give up my corporate job to focuses on my 4-year old son, works as a freelance writer and a real estate assistant. I am a sun-worshipper, a water baby, and an earth warrior. And oh, I’m tiny but I am an Olympic-level glutton. Let me bring your tummy around the globe! You can reach me at LinkedIn.

 

How To Keep Your Valuables Safe When Travelling

There are so many fun things to do when you travel. And because, most of the time, your mind is preoccupied with your itinerary and exciting activity plans, it’s so easy to get your mind off your valuables. We have listed some tips for you to make sure you keep your valuables safe when travelling:

First of all, make sure to only bring the necessities when travelling. That means you have to leave your jewellery and other expensive items that you may not need during your trip. For instance, if you’re going on a trip for 3 days to the beach with an itinerary that includes mostly water activities, it may not be a good idea to bring a laptop or your gold chains with you. And unless you’re a blogger or going to an important event, leave your designer bags and dresses at home.

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Keep your passport, IDs, money and credit cards on you. Some say putting them in a money belt is the best way, but a neck bag or neck wallet that you can slide underneath your shirt actually does a better job at keeping these items safe.

This may seem impossible to do, but try to avoid getting wasted and walking around in a foreign land with your valuables. You’re very vulnerable when you’re drunk, so if you’re going out to party, leave your valuables in a locker.

It is never a good idea to trust a complete stranger to help you with your luggage. If in case you are in dire need of help, make sure the bag that has all the valuables is with you and not with someone else.

Do not put your cash in one place. If you have $250, do not put all of them in a wallet. If you lose your wallet, you will have to say goodbye to all your cash, too.

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Get creative when hiding your cash. Roll your bills and put them in empty lip balm/beauty product containers, vitamin bottles or even your kid’s Play-Doh containers. If a thief decides to break into your hotel room, they would usually go for the most obvious places that might contain money (bag, locker, closet, mattress, pillow, drawers) but they would not have time to open vitamin bottles or Play-Doh containers.

Always be aware of your surroundings. Tricksters—young or old—are literally everywhere these days. They move really fast in stealth mode and you wouldn’t have the slightest idea about what’s going on if you zone out.

Invest in anti-theft luggage. Bags that are slash-proof and tamper-proof are really helpful. They can be costly in some places, but it’s worth it.
When shopping or going to the ATM to withdraw cash, do not stay long and count your cash at the ATM. Doing so makes you an easy prey for thieves.

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When roaming around, make sure to find out the name of the place you’re in by asking around. In case you lose something, you would know where you’ve been and hopefully be able to trace where you lost your stuff.

The tips on how to keep your valuables safe are endless. No matter where you are going, the best way to stay safe would be to remain vigilant at all times. Have a happy and safe trip!


 

mish

Mish worked as a travel expert, customer service specialist and a communications trainer in the past. After working for eight years straight since she graduated, she decided to give up her corporate job. She now focuses on her 4-year old son, works as a freelance writer and a real estate assistant. She is a sun-worshipper, a water baby, and an earth warrior. And oh, she’s tiny but she is an Olympic-level glutton. Let her bring your tummy around the globe! You can reach her at LinkedIn.

The Benefits of Traveling Solo

Travelling is, undeniably, beneficial to everyone. It can be fun and life changing at the same time.

Nowadays, it has become very popular and more people are going on trips than ever before. But the question is, how do we make the experience even more worthwhile? Should we go in groups? Or is it best to travel solo? A lot of people say travelling with a group of friends is better, but a portion of the world’s population thinks otherwise. They say going solo is actually as beneficial or even better! Why?

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Going on a solo trip is, admit it, easy to plan. Personally, I’ve had numerous travel plans that fell through just because one of my friends who initially decided to go, suddenly changed her mind. And I don’t know about you guys, but with my friends, if one expresses hesitation about the trip, a couple of others will be disheartened and will eventually decide not to go, too. Being a damper on the fun can be contagious.

Bummer, right?

Well, when you travel alone, you’re the master of your own schedule and this won’t happen!

Do anything you like. Go anywhere you want.

When you travel solo, you can do whatever you like without the hassle of asking for somebody’s opinion, and without waiting for someone’s approval. Spur-of-the-moment ideas are always possible! And the best part is, you don’t have to go through the process of arguing where to eat and where to go next, right? (Which normally happens when in a group)

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Well, when you travel alone, you’re still going to need help from different people. Asking for directions, asking locals where to eat or what transportation to take can be stepping-stones to new relationships.

“Me time” is always a good time. Every once in a while, we have to be alone and one with nature. It’s a good way to relax and think of your goals and aspirations. The tranquillity can also help you realise things you have not thought of in the past.

Stepping out of your comfort zone makes you stronger. Challenging yourself and doing things that you never thought you would do are some of the things that will help you improve yourself. So if you have always been terrified of travelling alone, it’s time you consider the idea. As they say, you will never know what you are capable if you do not try.
Whether you’re 18 or 80, there is always something you have yet to discover about yourself. There can be self-discovery moments in doing things alone, in an isolated bubble, away from the unsolicited opinions of other people. Who knows, you might just surprise yourself in the process!

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You can be yourself, and no one will judge you. When you travel, you will be surrounded by people who do not know you. You can do whatever you want (of course, without disrespecting their culture) and be the best version of yourself because, although the strangers you bump into may judge you, you won’t even care.

Experience is the best teacher. Travelling solo will help you learn things and see them in a different perspective. You also will also learn to appreciate life more and realise that although it never runs out of obstacles, it is beautiful.

Over here in LadyRedot, we will make sure you are well taken off in our hands. Reach out to us at askus@ladyredot.com now!


 

mish

Mish worked as a travel expert, customer service specialist and a communications trainer in the past. After working for eight years straight since she graduated, she decided to give up her corporate job. She now focuses on her 4-year old son, works as a freelance writer and a real estate assistant. She is a sun-worshipper, a water baby, and an earth warrior. And oh, she’s tiny but she is an Olympic-level glutton. Let her bring your tummy around the globe! You can reach her at LinkedIn.

An Impulsive Solo Trip to Surabaya

Looking at one of my girlfriends’ Facebook posts about her trip to Mount Bromo excites me and I immediately book an air ticket to Surabaya. I started to ask her details about her trip and engaged a private tour guide, named Ebrott. It is quite upsetting to learn that he has to work at a tender age of 17 to support the family as his dad has passed on. His service is extraordinarily good, courteous and patient.

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There are a couple of airlines that fly directly to Surabaya. You can choose either Air Asia or JetStar. My first stop is a 5 to 6 hours’ drive from city to the foot of Mount Bromo. I spent a night in a local guesthouse. It comes with basic minimal necessities – a bed and toilet. It is very cold – approximately 16 degree at night. Hence, don’t expect a fan or air condition in the room.

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To catch Sunrise at Mount Bromo, I have to wake up at 2am as Ebrott is picking me up at 3am. We will be travelling via a jeep as the road is bumpy and uphill. We reached the peak at about 3.30am. The temperature is so cold we decided to get something hot from one of the stalls. The sun starts to rise at 4.30am. The view is magnificent and unforgettable. It’s the power of nature and we should treasure it.

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We stayed for 2 hours enjoying the nature of light and went for breakfast. The simple comfort food – bowl of soup noodles and egg is all I asked for. Simple food like this means a lot to me especially after the breathtaking view, I have to appreciate simplicity even more. We continue the journey to the other side where you can take a horse ride to the foot of Mount Bromo before climbing up through a sea of sand to the crater.  

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After Mount Bromo, we travelled another 4 hours to a hotel near Kawah Ijen for a good rest and nap. I am going to catch Ijen Blue Fire hence needs to set off at 11pm. Please prepare to gear up your good trekking/hiking shoes, windproof jacket and pants. Bring a bottle of water and light snacks along. You’ll be sure to thank me for this tip!  

The hike up and down to catch the glimpse of Blue Fire took me 2 hours. Someone like me who doesn’t hike as frequently as I want to, I must say I feel so proud accomplishing the mission. Yay! A lot of determination and strength is required and the overall experience is worth it. Pace yourself well and take your time. 

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It’s time to head back to Surabaya city. Travelling back is approximately 8 hours. Have patience with the tour guide. He is tired as well. Since I am the passenger, I get to sleep and rest throughout the journey. On and off we did a few pit stops for meals and break. I checked into Ascott Waterplace at about 5pm. And something caught my eye – A&W fast food restaurant opposite the hotel. I couldn’t resist and pack a meal back to the room. I made an advanced booking of Body Massage at 8pm which is indeed the best choice after 2 days of hiking.  

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Personal Thoughts after the trip: I think I have become stronger from all aspects of myself. The power of determination and achieving the Goals set.  Thank You, Ebrott (@hisba_93) for being a helpful and supportive friend and teaching me to be contented with what I have in life and the beauty of simplicity. 

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Terrorism & Travel

Recently, we received sad news on the recent spate of terror events happening to countries that we love. Places like Germany and France are well sought after holiday destinations, very popular with all kinds of travellers and families, especially during summer holidays. With the tragic incidents, many of my friends have chosen to divert their holidays to elsewhere instead, some avoiding Europe all together this year.

If you are still keen to visit Europe this year, it will be the best that you take precaution and be on high alert at all times. Below are some of the compiled safety precautions that you can take to keep yourself safe and still enjoy a wonderful holiday.

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Stay Alert

Always look out for signs of unease and do trust your gut instincts. If you don’t feel safe in the area, move away and go somewhere else. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

Where’s your embassy?

Before you travel, always take note of your nearest embassy or high commission’s location. Check if it is near your booked accommodation (can you walk or do you have to take public transportation) and have their 24 hours hotline program into your phone which is usually diverted to a person’s mobile line.

Registration

Most countries allow you to register online with the ministry of foreign affairs when you are travelling to another country. I always make it a habit of allowing my government to track my movement when I’m outbound from my country. This will allow them to outreach to you in the case of emergencies and if they require to evacuate you. It serves the purpose of them contacting your next of kin, should they need to reach out to them.

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Leave a Point of Contact

Notifying your family members and your loved ones of your itinerary is usually a good idea. Giving them a list of point of contact is a great way for them to reach you in case they can’t contact you via your mobile. Numbers such as your accommodation, your tour guide or even your hired driver will help your loved ones if they need to reach you urgently.

Carry Self-Defense Items

I always carried one with me all the time for safety purposes. Self-defense items can be pepper spray, portable high pitch alarm, taser etc. However, do note that some countries or airlines do not allow you to carry such items so always check to make sure you are not carrying a prohibited item.

Keep Yourself Updated

Make it a point to watch the local news at least when you are back to your hotel room. Keep yourself aware of what is happening to your area will allow you to be more aware and take necessary safety measures. Like if there are reports of suspected foul play intended at a certain event, you might want to skip the event.

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Visit your country’s Foreign Affair website

Your country’s Foreign Affair website will probably list a few countries that are not advisable for visits. It will be good if you check out the website a week before you leave for your holiday.

Blown Out of Proportion

The above advice is very similar to what you will give to anyone who is travelling to a high-risk country. What is happening around us has blown out of proportion, you can choose to focus on panicking and avoid travel altogether or you can choose to take necessary precautions and still enjoy your well deserved holiday.


Writer’s Profile

Kally

Kally is a former Sales and Customer Service manager turned Writer and Founder of MiddleMe.net. She came from Singapore; lived in Shanghai and now calls Kuala Lumpur her home. After hanging up her corporate briefcase, she now pursue her passions – Writing, Traveling and of course, hunting for good food

Connect with me @ Kally@ladyredot.com

Health Tourism Hotspots

Medical tourism is on the rise, and dozens of countries around the world – from Asia to South America to eastern Europe – are getting in on the act. Agencies are being set up to promote less expensive health care costs to potential foreign visitors from developed countries where health care costs are through the roof. Reasons other than cost to travel overseas for health care include better treatment, as well as avoiding long waiting lists and dodging questions from colleagues and family.

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Israel

Israel is the leading destination for in vitro fertilisation (IVF) procedures, having the highest number of clinics per capita in the world. Unlike countries where couples can go broke trying to conceive with the assistance of costly medical technology, Israel provides free, unlimited IVF procedures for up to two “take-home babies” until a woman is 45. The booming industry has also provided other advantages to Israeli physicians. The large pool of patients with diverse fertility problems has helped them tailor treatments that end with a successful pregnancy, they say. And because a cost is not an issue, there is less pressure to implant multiple embryos, which can lead to larger than desired multiple births — triplets, quintuplets or even the occasional octuplets.

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South Korea

With a subtropical climate, mountain ranges and extinct volcanoes, South Korea makes for a very appealing healthcare destination. Patients visited from 188 different countries including China, the UK, and Australia in 2012. Many visits for cosmetic surgery, dentistry, cancer treatment, brain surgery, and oriental medicine. The most cosmetically enhanced people on the planet can be found in South Korea, where plastic surgery is regarded as “natural and harmless” and is believed to be the key for better employment prospects and a happier life.

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Singapore

Cancer treatment is a top speciality there. The World Health Organization ranks Singapore the best health care system in Asia, and sixth in the world. And while socialists claim that Singapore’s efficient, rather socialist health care model is a model for the rest of the world, personal responsibility is a key driver that keeps health care costs in here reasonably low. If you’re looking for the most developed country for less expensive surgery, Singapore might be for you.

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India

India is one among the top five medical tourist spots in the world having hosted nearly 166,000 medical tourists from across the globe. The growth of medical tourism in India has led to the enhancement of better and advanced medical facilities in the country. More tourists are coming to India because the cost of treatment here is much less compared to the US and the European countries. Stories of westerners travelling to India and saving 75% over home country costs for large procedures – travel costs included – are not uncommon.

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China

China is fast emerging as a destination for patients seeking treatments that integrate traditional Chinese medicine with Western medical technology and techniques. China is also home to stem cell research and hospitals that offer treatments considered experimental or that have yet to be approved in many Western countries. Other available procedures include cardiology, neurology and orthopedics.

If you are looking for resources for us to prepare a plan like what I have suggested, contact us at askus@ladyredot.comand we will be happy to assist you.


Writer’s Profile

Kally

Kally is a former Sales and Customer Service manager turned Writer and Founder of MiddleMe.net. She came from Singapore; lived in Shanghai and now calls Kuala Lumpur her home. After hanging up her corporate briefcase, she now pursue her passions – Writing, Traveling and of course, hunting for good food

Connect with me @ Kally@ladyredot.com