All the single ladies, now put your hands up! Imagine yourself lounging on the warm sand, listening to the gentle waves crash upon the shore. You look up to soak in the beauty that is around you when you look over and see… HIM. Oh, baby, you think! One thing leads to another and it is date night with Mr. Good Looking.
There are so many variables running through your mind! What do I wear? How should I style my hair? Should I hug him when I see him? What should we talk about? These are the common thoughts that run through your mind before a first date. Some not so common thoughts that run through your head… What happens if he tries to follow me home? Did he just slip something in my drink? Why is he asking so many personal questions? While dating abroad can be one of the loveliest experiences ever, it needs to be equally as safe.
My #1 rule in all of traveling is to ALWAYS maintain your safety. Safety becomes a higher stakes issue when you start involving other people (who you do not know) into your travel plans. On top of that? When you are potentially entering a romantic and intimate relationship with someone. So, in order to keep all my sisters in travel safe, here are 10 safety tips when you are single and thinking about dating while traveling abroad.
1) BE AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS
The best kind of daters are smart daters. Now, there is no need to be paranoid, but there is a need to be smart and safe. Continually have your “safe scanners” on. Remember, you are essentially going on a date with a complete stranger. You need to protect yourself. You need to be aware of things, such as… Am I entering a more secluded location? Has that car been following me for the last 10 blocks? When you are aware of your surroundings, you are aware that you potentially may need help.
2) ALWAYS WATCH YOUR DRINK
I cannot say this with enough emphasis… Always watch your drink when out at a bar, especially with someone you do not know. Date rape continues to be a rising problem among women, and there are a lot of tips and tricks to help avoid it as much as possible. Always get your own drink and never let your date get it for you. Watch the bartender make your drink, and never let your eyes leave your drink (yes, even bartenders have been known to drug drinks). Never leave your drink alone at the table, or anywhere, for that matter. A key phrase to consistently be reminding yourself… never let your drink out of your sight.
Pro tip: Drinking a bottle of beer? When you are not actually drinking the beer, hold your bottle and place your thumb over the bottle opening.
3) BE ASSERTIVE
In the dating world today, women need to be extremely assertive. This especially rings true when dating abroad, as your date may know you are not from the area, and goodness forbid, is trying to take advantage of you. Being assertive does not mean you have to be a mean girl (You can’t sit with us!). Continue to be your lovely and pleasant self, but do not be afraid to say NO. There are very polite ways to tell someone no, and sometimes it just takes a little practice to think of the best way to go about it.
Something to think about: Before you go on a date, practice saying no to certain situations. That way, if the situation arises, you will know what to say and how to say it.
4) FOLLOW YOUR INSTINCT
I truly believe that the female instinct is a sixth sense. There have been multiple times where I have felt something is not right, and gosh darn it, I was right about that feeling. Are you feeling uneasy about a situation? Did your date just say something that did not sit right with you? Trust your instinct and get out of that date and situation in a safe way.
Safety tip: If you are trying to get away from your date, stay in a place with a lot of people. Never try and go somewhere where you place yourself alone. Wait for help to come to you.
You should always know where the local police station is located and where your country’s embassy is located. When you start to feel that your safety is being compromised on a date, it is best to get ahold of the authorities. When you first arrive in a new destination, locating the authorities is one of the first tasks you should do. If you are not sure how to locate them, ask your hotel concierge or local visitors center.
6) LEARN A FEW KEY PHRASES
One of the main obstacles when dating abroad? You may not be fluent in the country’s language. Now, this can be a major obstacle in general. However, when you are placed in an uncomfortable or dangerous situation, this can become an even more serious obstacle. You should always store a few key phrases in your phone or wallet. Here are a few key phrases that will particularly come in handy if you are placed in a compromised situation on your date: “I need help” and “Please call the police”.
7) LET OTHERS KNOW OF YOUR PLANS
This is huge. Make sure to always let someone know of who you are meeting, where you are meeting and what time you plan on being back home. If you are traveling with friends, let your friends know of your dating plans. If you are traveling solo, let your hotel front desk know when they should expect you back. When your friends or hotel staff know of this information, they will know where to start looking if you are not back by your stated time.
Taking it a step further: Install a tracker device app on your phone like Find My Friends. This way, friends and family can see your exact location at all times.
8) MEET IN A PUBLIC PLACE
Never, ever, ever, ever meet your date in a remote or secluded location. I do not care how romantic or dreamy it may be… Always pick a date location where there are going to be other people around. It is important to have other people around because it will deter a date from taking advantage of you, and it will give you access to help if you need it.
Pro tip: Schedule your date for the morning or afternoon when it is still daylight out. This can make women feel a bit safer compared to when it is dark out.
9) DO NOT GIVE OUT TOO MUCH INFORMATION
Sometimes this one can easily slip by women. You would not think too much harm is being done by your date asking where you are staying, right? But be careful with questions like this. They may seem harmless, but when you answer questions of this nature, you are actually giving away more information than you may realize.
My story: I was in Miami with a few of my girlfriends and we met up with some guys at a local bar. While we were sipping on cocktails and chatting, one of the guys asked us to take out our driver’s license, so we could all compare our photos to one another. This did not sit well with me in the slightest, as there is so much information that can be found on a form of identification like this. So, we politely said we were not comfortable partaking in this and left the bar.
10) GO ON A DOUBLE OR GROUP DATE
Here is an idea! Go on a first date with some other people that you know! Take a wing woman with you or incorporate the buddy system. Remember the good ‘ol phrase, there is safety in numbers? Well, that is a pretty true statement in my book. Women are less likely to be harassed or targeted when they are in a group setting. So, going on a double date or group date may be a good idea for that first date!
STAY SAFE, LADIES
Meeting people can honestly be one of the most rewarding experiences when traveling abroad. And I have heard plenty of love stories of women meeting their significant other when traveling throughout a foreign country! I mean, how fun of a story would that be to share with the grandchildren?! Just always remember, safety needs to come first. While following your heart is something I sincerely encourage, do not forget to use your head a little bit too.
We hope that this article has given you some tips to date abroad safely. If you have any questions about the destination or have your own travel tips to share please leave these in the comments below.
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