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10 Safety Hacks Every Woman Who Travels Alone Should Know

10 Safety Hacks Every Woman Who Travels Alone Should Know

You’re a woman traveling alone.  Perhaps you’re traveling on business or you’re just finding yourself.  Keep your wits about you and you could have an adventure worth telling.  Here are some dos and don’ts to help you navigate your way through an unfamiliar city and a foreign land.

1. DO wear a wedding ring, even if you’re not married.

An obvious band of gold signifies that you’re not interested and, even more important, that your burly husband is somewhere close by. If you start picking up a weird vibe from someone you’ve just met, the faux, or real, wedding band provides a polite excuse to walk away.

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2. DO travel during the day if at all possible.

You don’t want to be traipsing through a dark parking garage or left hanging around a deserted airport.

3. DO check in with your family, friends, or co-workers as you make your way.

Have them track your flight using an app like Flightaware, so they’ll know when your plane has landed and when they should be hearing from you.  Have a safeword.  Also, have them watch the movie “Taken,” so they can do their best Liam Neeson impression when the kidnappers answer your cellphone.   

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4. DO protect yourself against electronic theft.

It can be thwarted with radio-frequency identification (RFID) blocking shields. Individual RFID shields, wallets, and purses are plentiful. Travelon and Pacsafe carry a full line of items geared toward travel safety, some of which are not only RFID-blocking but also anti-slash. 

5. DON’T flash your cash.

Let’s say you are taking $500 dollars on your physical person as you gambol about the city.  Have small bills in your wallet or shirt pocket for tips and food.  Stash other money in more than one place. Of course, you don’t want to be obvious paying for a cab with the money you pull out of your bra.  Consider carrying a dummy wallet if you’re going to be in a place known for pick-pockets.  Fill it with those promotional credit cards you get in the mail that have your name on them and some small bills so it looks the part.

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6. DO be loud.

Fear can be paralyzing. If you’re not a screamer, carry a Personal Screaming Device (yes, that’s a thing) or the Storm, the world’s loudest whistle.  The Storm is so loud that even someone wearing a helmet can hear it.

7. DON’T offer personal information to people you’ve just met.

In fact, it’s a good idea to have a plausible, but completely fictional, story to tell those who are overly curious.  And, not to sound too paranoid, but while you may be talking to someone who genuinely is who they say they are, the guy behind you is making notes of your travel plans.

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8. DON’T drink the water.

Bottled water is always safest and probably better tasting.  If you like the taste of   radium-228, arsenic and lead with your tap water (I’m looking at you Las Vegas) drink up. Tap water is fine if it’s properly filtered.  But even filtered water tends to miss that pesky E coli or rotavirus, so consider a travel water bottle with a purifier.  

9. DON’T get drunk.

Intoxication reduces not only your inhibitions, but your awareness of your surroundings. That’s when predatory drugs (roofies, liquid ecstasy and, yes, cat valiums) can get slipped into your beverage. 

10. DON’T dress to impress.

To travel safely in a foreign country, you will probably fail at blending in, so aim for not standing out.  To make packing easier on you, choose a versatile wardrobe with a pick a neutral-based color scheme of non-wrinkly clothes.  Black/white/grey/blue-toned charcoal—those are all easy to mix and match.  Keep your bling at home.  A woman alone doesn’t have to travel in constant fear.  The best travel safety tip is to look like you know what you’re doing.  Lost often comes off as weak or vulnerable. Walk with determination and purpose.  Don’t fumble for things. If you have to pick a stranger to ask for help, choose a family with young children  or an older woman.  Such choices are less likely to be serial killers in disguise.  Research where you’re going.  The CIA World Factbook is a great resource.  Realize that, in a worst case scenario, bad things happen no matter how many precautions you take. Your job is to reduce the chance that those bad things will happen to you.

Featured photo credit: Dalicia in Florence via facebook.com

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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