Wear fake wedding ring when travelling alone, says Canadian government

Jen Kirsch
Shine On
February 29, 2012

As you're going through your packing checklist before your next trip, don't forget to pack a fake wedding ring and a picture of your faux hubby too, advises the Canadian government.

The Foreign Affairs Canada publication Her Own Way: A Woman's Safe-Travel Guide -- in its third revision -- offers female travellers tips on how to avoid, and get out of, awkward and potentially unsafe situations, such as getting hit on.

"The booklet offers a preventive, female-friendly approach to tackling the security, cultural, health, and social concerns of women traveller's," says the guides intro.

But these government tips aren't the typical ones that come to mind such as travelling with traveller's cheques and a phone card in case of emergency. Instead, they include avoiding wearing mini-skirts and tank tops, and if you have blonde hair, to cover it up.

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In addition to suggesting that single women wear a fake wedding ring, the guide advises, "Also carry a photo of your husband (or an imaginary one), which you can show to persistent suitors."

The whole idea behind these tips is if you're seen as married and aren't beckoning attention, "you will lower your profile and stave off uninvited advances," says the guide, which also says, "The truth is that women face greater obstacles, especially when travelling alone."

Travel adviser Lori Gold thinks this guide is a good idea, but disagrees with the concept of putting a ring on it. "I advise my clients against wearing jewelry on a vacation because you're more of a target that way," says Gold. She suggests leaving your expensive jewelry at home to blend in with the locals.

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The guide also advises, "In some cultures, being outgoing or friendly — or simply smiling or initiating a conversation — may be interpreted as flirting or a sexual invitation."

If travelling where they dress really modestly, be respectful of that and research cultural norms. "One of the most important things to remember is to dress the part. You definitely don't want to draw anymore attention to yourself, so blending in would be key," says Gold.

Why wait until you go away?  Perhaps it's time to download an image of a gent your cell the next time you're approached by a guy at the bar.

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