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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 December 2, 2019

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

Plato knew that the body and mind are intimately linked. And in the late 1800s, the Mayo brothers, famous physicians, estimated that over half of all hospital beds are filled with people suffering from frustration, anxiety, worry and despair. Causes of worry are everywhere, in our relationships and our jobs, so it’s key we find ways to take charge of the stress.

In his classic book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie offers tools to ditch excessive worrying that help you make a worry-free environment for your private and professional life.

These are the top 10 tips to grab worry by the horns and wrestle it to the ground:

1. Make Your Decision and Never Look Back

Have you ever made a decision in life only to second-guess it afterwards? Of course you have! It’s hard not to wonder whether you’ve done the right thing and whether there might still be time to take another path.

But keep this in mind: you’ve already made your decision, so act decisively on it and dismiss all your anxiety about it.

Don’t stop to hesitate, to reconsider, or to retrace your steps. Once you’ve chosen a course of action, stick to it and never waver.

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2. Live for Today, Package Things up in “Day-Tight Compartments”

You know that feeling: tossing, turning and worrying over something that happened or something that might, well into the wee hours. To avoid this pointless worrying, you need “day-tight compartments”. Much as a ship has different watertight compartments, your own “day-tight” ones are a way to limit your attention to the present day.

The rule is simple: whatever happened in the past or might happen in the future must not intrude upon today. Everything else has to wait its turn for tomorrow’s box or stay stuck in the past.

3. Embrace the Worst-Case Scenario and Strategize to Offset It

If you’re worried about something, ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Could you lose your job? Be jailed? Get killed?

Whatever the “worst” might be, it’s probably not so world-ending. You could probably even bounce back from it!

If, for example, you lose your job, you could always find another. Once you accept the worst-case scenario and get thinking about contingency plans, you’ll feel calmer.

4. Put a Lid on Your Worrying

Sometimes we stress endlessly about negative experiences when just walking away from them would serve us far better.

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To make squashing that worry easier, try this strategy, straight from stock traders: it’s called the “stop-loss” order, where shares are bought at a certain price, and then their price development is observed. If things go badly and the share price hits a certain point, they are sold off immediately. This stops the loss from increasing further.

In the same manner, you can put a stop-loss order on things that cause you stress and grief.

5. Fake It ‘Til You Make It – Happiness, That Is

We can’t directly influence how we feel, but we can nudge ourselves to change through how we think and act.

If you’re feeling sad or low, slap a big grin on your face and whistle a chipper tune. You’ll find it impossible to be blue when acting cheerful. But you don’t necessarily need to act outwardly happy; you can simply think happier thoughts instead.

Marcus Aurelius summed it up aptly:

“Our life is what our thoughts make it.”

6. Give for the Joy of Giving

When we perform acts of kindness, we often do so with the expectation of gratitude. But harboring such expectations will probably leave you disappointed.

One person well aware of this fact was the lawyer Samuel Leibowitz. Over the course of his career, Leibowitz saved 78 people from going to the electric chair. Guess how many thanked him? None.

So stop expecting gratitude when you’re kind to someone. Instead, take joy from the act yourself.

7. Dump Envy – Enjoy Being Uniquely You

Your genes are completely unique. Even if someone had the same parents as you, the likelihood of someone identical to you being born is just one in 300,000 billion.

Despite this amazing fact, many of us long to be someone else, thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But living your life this way is pointless. Embrace your uniqueness and get comfortable with who you really are: How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

8. Haters Will Hate — It Just Means You’re Doing It Right

When you’re criticized, it often means you’re accomplishing something noteworthy. In fact, let’s take it a step further and consider this: the more you’re criticized, the more influential and important a person you likely are.

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So the next time somebody talks you down, don’t let it get to you. Take it as a compliment!

9. Chill Out! Learn to Rest Before You Get Tired

Scientists agree that emotions are the most common cause of fatigue. And it works the other way around, too: fatigue produces more worries and negative emotions.

It should be clear, therefore, that you’ve got to relax regularly before you feel tired. Otherwise, worries and fatigue will accumulate on top of each other.

It’s impossible to worry when you are relaxed, and regular rest helps you maintain your ability to work effectively.

10. Get Organized and Enjoy Your Work

There are few greater sources of misery in life than having to work, day in, day out, in a job you despise. It would make sense then that you shouldn’t pick a job you hate, or even just dislike doing.

But say you already have a job. How can you make it more enjoyable and worry-free? One way is to stay organized: a desk full of unanswered mails and memos is sure to breed worries.

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Better yet, rethink about the job you’re doing: What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Want a Successful Career

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Featured photo credit: Tyler Nix via unsplash.com

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