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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 March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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