Howdy, Kansas City! Many of us have to travel for our jobs, vacations, etc. And while it’s great to get out and see the world, it’s also important to remember: safety first! Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Sarah, has some great tips on staying safe and smart while traveling. Check it out!
14 Safety Tips to Keep in Mind When Traveling
The world is a scary place and it gets scarier with every news story that scrolls across the screen. I am at the point that I won’t even turn it on in the mornings for fear that I won’t leave my bed! And the worst part is these news reporters don’t even have to travel to find these stories—they are happening right next door!
Now I am a strong advocate for not living in fear and showing what an independent, strong and brave woman I am, but sometimes even I need to check myself (and my ego) at the door! My husband is constantly trying to get me to realize that I need to pay attention to my surroundings at all times. I will be honest, at first I didn’t listen but now, especially that I have kids; I have to do it more. But when I travel for work, I find myself doing things that are probably a little dangerous, i.e. walking to the restaurant in Boston which happened to be on the other side of the Public Park!
I wanted to write this article to just bring it to our attention that we are strong men and women but just a small thing can turn you into a victim. So below are 14 tips for traveling alone and in some cases just leaving our house!
#1 With hotels – smaller can be smarter
When it comes to finding a hotel, smaller can actually be smarter. Hear me out, the staff is more likely to know you and call you by name. There is also not so much of a chance of loiterers in the lobby or in common areas. Course let’s face it, these boutique hotels can sometimes be way outside the price range. So if you do find yourself at a large chain, just get to know the day and night shift front desk person. It can make you feel safe and they really enjoy it as well!
#2 Be aware when working out at hotels
Speaking of the hotel, who doesn’t want to keep up our workout routine while on vacation? Okay so maybe not on vacation but when we are traveling for work sometimes it is a great stress reliever. Just pay attention if there is an attendant or if you need a key to get in to workout area. If not, it could be a good idea to call someone before and after you go.
#3 Be weary of the “Do Not Disturb” sign
Please don’t be my husband when he travels! He always puts the “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door. That just tells people that you aren’t there and if they are really paying attention they can track when you come and go! Most hotels will let you just call housekeeping instead to ask for your room not to be cleaned. This way it won’t cause additional attention to your empty room.
#4 Handle important documents & money wisely
Carry just one credit card and photocopies of important documents. Divide money for small and larger purchases so you don’t have to expose a wad of bills. And try not to carry large bills when possible. Become familiar with foreign currency before you need to use it so that you aren’t fumbling or accidentally give them too much or too little.
#5 Let your concierge know when traveling alone
When you ask the concierge to make any restaurant reservations, have him or her say, “Please take care of our guest, she’s coming alone and will need a taxi home.”
#6 Women traveling alone — check out these sites
I wasn’t aware of this– for all our female travelers, I guess there are a lot of great networks to connect female travelers all around the world. Be cautious, of course, as you would on any internet connection site. But what a great way to ask about customs, where to stay and eat and things to do in their area. Check out: The Travelettes, Go Girl Travel Network, Pink Pangea.
#7 Get creative in storing your valuables
Have you heard this one yet? Store any extra cash in a wrapped up diaper? Another one I saw was a tampon box. Unfortunately, now that everyone had heard of this then every thief will look there. So how about a shoe or in a soap box that you get from the hotel. Just think like a thief for a moment!
#8 Consider portable security features
Portable security features. Door alarms that can easily be carried on as well as door jams that are a lot easier than using a chair jammed under the door knob. Think of this too if you happen to have adjoining rooms with someone you don’t know. Or a door that faces into a parking lot or courtyard.
#9 Get a second key
The front desk always asks me if I want one or two keys. I usually say one because it is hard enough keeping track of everything unless I am traveling with someone else so they can keep track of one too. But I came across a good tip. Keep two hotel keys with you — one in your bag and one on your person. That way if your bag is taken, you change wallets or purses or you leave it somewhere, at least you aren’t locked out of your room!
#10 Keep only one headphone in your ear
We all take our travel time to listen to music, an audiobook, or if you are like me I constantly have a podcast streaming in order to pass the time. Although it may be difficult to hear it is a great idea to only keep one headphone in your ear, this way you can always stay alert.
#11 Snap a photo of your taxi/Uber license plate
Snap a picture of your cab’s license plate before you get in it. Or take a picture of the license inside the cab (THAT IS REQUIRED) to be in full view of the passenger. You may think taxis are the safest thing, even if they are arranged by a concierge or restaurant host but even they are not safe in some instances. And please don’t even get me started on Uber! Please check the license plate and person BEFORE you get in with the app, if it isn’t the same then don’t be afraid to pass! This happened to me while traveling, the Uber driver showed up in a different car and obviously different license plate—he told me it was his wife’s car that he was borrowing. I politely declined, he was angry but I felt a lot safer that way!
#12 Trust your instincts
Speaking of which—it is always okay to turn down help with your bags, an invitation to dinner or a drink! Don’t be afraid to be rude if it means feeling safe. And trust your instincts about when to accept help.
#13 Remember — well lit & public areas
Along those same lines, do you know that it is your right if you get pulled over by a policeman that you can wait until you are in a well-lit and public area to actually stop. Now you can’t just floor it to try and get to the closest mall; you have to make an effort of slowing down and signaling that you are intending to pull over. You can also ask to see his/her credentials (badge, ID) before you roll down the window. Just keep in mind that you need to explain what you are doing as you are doing it, otherwise you can look a little sketchy. There are so many stories out there of people traveling alone being pulled over by someone impersonating a police officer.
#14 Take a full-body selfie & send it to someone
To wrap this up, there was a great idea posted to the comment section of the article. “I make a point of taking a full-body selfie every morning before I leave the hotel & posting it to Facebook, along with texting it to my husband. If anything happens, there’s a recent photo that also documents what I was wearing that day.” I am not too sure if you need to post to Facebook because that will indicate you are traveling. But not a bad idea to send it to someone just in case!
Now that you are truly scared and probably will never leave your house, let’s take a step back. Chances are nothing will probably happen to you, but I promise that those chances skyrocket when you aren’t protecting yourself with just little things that you do on a daily basis. Don’t take for granted that “this is a small town” or “we are in the Midwest, what could happen here!” These types of phrases are usually the first thing that get us into trouble. I found a lot of these tips in two really great articles; feel free to check them out. 50 Tips for Female Travelers and 46 Incredibly Useful Safety Tips for Traveling Alone.
From iFamily to Yours,