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As I was writing this article, I was fortunate enough to be at a conference in Florence, Italy. Like a growing number of women who travel overseas, whether for work or leisure, many of the trips I've done in recent years have been alone. And as a digital criminologist (as well as a mobile app enthusiast), I'm certainly a convert to the practical usefulness of technologies for travel.
There are a wide variety of smartphone apps that certainly make travelling alone easier to navigate. Think offline maps, language translation, transport timetables, online ticket bookings, Uber, electronic banking, virtual private networks (VPNs, especially if using electronic banking on public Wi-Fi), and updating friends and family about one's activities.
Safety - Technologies - Government - Smart - Traveller
Then there are the more specific "safety" technologies. Some of them, like the Australian government's Smart Traveller website, allow voyagers to register their intended whereabouts in case of a natural disaster or emergency. Travellers can also keep up to date with local risk and incident alerts, which can help you to steer clear if there is an incident in the city you're headed to.
Others, like BSafe and Bugle, allow you to easily notify your emergency contacts if you feel unsafe, or do not arrive at your intended destination.
Apps - Reality
But while these apps might make you feel safer, it doesn't necessarily follow that they make you safer in reality.
How risky is solo travel for women?
Australia - Women - Violence - Age - Violence
In Australia, one in three women has experienced physical violence since the age of 15, and one in five has experienced sexual violence. Much of this violence takes place in private space. And the overwhelming majority of it is committed by men who are known to the woman victim. Often by an intimate partner, date, family member or acquaintance.
The rates and patterns of violence against women are similar in many countries globally. But...
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