Advice for women travellers

Each country has its own distinct legal system. If you’re travelling internationally, you should get informed about your destination’s legal framework. You should also find out about the social customs governing gender norms there. 

Below you will find useful advice on legal, cultural, security, health and social considerations relevant to women travellers.

Before you go

When you’re abroad

2SLGBTQI+ travellers

For safe-travel advice for 2SLGBTQI+ travellers, including trans women, see Travel and your sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics.

Travelling with children

If you are travelling with children, visit Children, which has information about consent letters for children travelling outside Canada.

If you are travelling with an infant, bring plenty of baby essentials—for example, diapers and formula—which may be unavailable in your host country. If you plan to breastfeed, follow the example of local women, since practices vary from culture to culture. When in doubt about local practices, opt to breastfeed in private.

Travelling while pregnant

If you’re pregnant or planning to be, see Travelling while pregnant. When you visit your health care professional, ask about diseases that may have negative effects on your pregnancy. Make sure your travel health insurance covers pregnancy-related conditions.

If you’re going to give birth outside Canada, if possible identify a local hospital or birthing facility beforehand that is up to Canadian standards. Also make sure to get the necessary custody and legal documents if you have children with someone while you’re abroad. For information about children born to Canadian parents abroad, see Birth abroad.

Travel health

Travel safety

In some destinations, women travellers risk being harassed, verbally abused or physically or sexually assaulted. Local authorities’ response to reports of sexual violence may differ substantially from those in Canada.

Sexual assault

To help prevent sexual assault, stay alert and ensure your accommodations have adequate security features, such as cameras and security guards with radios.

Rape and sexual assault and aggression against foreigners can occur in many places, including beach resorts. Exercise caution with strangers or recent acquaintances, be wary of offered rides or other invitations and avoid taking public transportation or walking alone at night.

Read Sexual assault abroad to learn what precautions you can take. If you are sexually assaulted abroad, report the assault immediately to the nearest Canadian embassy or consulate or contact our Emergency Watch and Response Centre. Our officials may be able to guide you through the process.

Human trafficking

Human traffickers frequently recruit foreigners, particularly women, through fraudulent ads for work as hostesses, models, nannies, maids or other seemingly legitimate jobs. Our Travel Advice and Advisories can tell you whether the country you want to visit has high levels of trafficking.

Overseas relationships

Proceed with caution if you’re going abroad to meet someone new. Don’t give the person information about your finances, and ensure you have a plan for leaving the destination country. Protect your return airline ticket or have enough money to get back to Canada and—most important—protect your Canadian passport. For more information on how to protect yourself from international scams, visit Overseas fraud: an increasing threat to the safety of Canadians and Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

Forced marriage 

A forced marriage is one in which 1 or both people do not, or are not able to, consent to the marriage. Forced marriage is a violation of human rights. It may be the result of being pressured into marriage through kidnapping, harassment, emotional blackmail or any other threat, including by family members. For more information, visit If you or someone you know might be forced into marriage and Marriage overseas .

Domestic violence

Depending on the destination, women travellers could be at an increased risk of domestic violence, including being left stranded or experiencing mistreatment by a partner or relative. In some countries, a wife must have her husband’s permission to obtain travel documents and to leave the country. For information on protecting yourself, visit Physical assault abroad.

If you need help 

For help with emergencies abroad contact:

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