When I traveled solo on business trips more than 30 years ago, I experienced negative and skeptical reactions from hotel receptionists, waiters, and even other travelers. They assumed I was a loser who couldn’t get a man to accompany me or a floozy looking for some action in the back of the lobby bar. I enjoyed proving them wrong.
Now women comprise more than 51% of people traveling for business and pleasure. Most of us have a routine when entering a hotel room: prop open the door, check the closets and shower for bad guys, and then close and lock the door. Wearing a holster and pistol is a good idea, but that usually is discouraged by the staff.
Here are some helpful tips for women who love to travel but choose to return alive.
1. Pack light and wear sensible shoes. Be able to wrestle all your luggage by yourself and still run a city block, if necessary. Wear casual business attire and avoid stilettos unless you can use them as pointed weapons.
2. Don’t loop your purse over your head because if some jerk wants to steal it, you’ll be slammed to the ground in the process. Don’t read maps or fiddle with your cell phone while standing alone because that makes you appear vulnerable. You need to look fierce enough to scare off any prospective attacker.
3. Be street-smart. Ask for two room keys so it appears you’re not alone. Sign the hotel register with your first initial and last name. If a stranger follows you, return to the front desk, report the incident, and ask for an escort. If you have a rental car, park under a light and look in the back seat before getting in. Pity the fool who tries to hide in your car because he’ll get a stiletto stuck into his head.
4. Trust your gut. If the guy in the elevator looks like a creep, wait for the next elevator. Don’t get your exercise by taking the isolated staircase – use the hotel gym and increase your strength for self-defense.
5. Get out of the room. Turn off the free Internet, and take advantage of the local attractions. In large cities, you usually can find a single theatre ticket in orchestra seating, and the concierge can help with taxi and dinner reservations. If you forget where you are staying, you shouldn’t travel.
6. Learn new technology. I’m now on a trip that includes flying out of state, renting a car, and driving in the dark. My adult children taught me how to program route instructions through Pandora on my cell phone and plug the information into my car radio. Now every few miles a gentle voice tells me where to go. And, I obey.
7. Realize that the world offers wonderful sights and adventures, but it’s also full of horrible criminals who would cut off your finger to get your diamond ring. Turn your rings around, stay alert, and arrive alive.
8. For more current travel tips and deals, visit www.travelingwomenblogs.com.
One last word of advice: if a slick guy at the hotel bar asks if you need a little company, just tell him you already bought one last week. Works every time.
Today’s blog is fueled by a 2010 Erath Estate Selection Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley. It’s about $34 a bottle and provides the perfect finish to an exciting day of travel.