10 tips for women traveling alone

As sexist as it may sound, women traveling alone, whether on business or for pleasure, are at greater risk than men traveling solo.

When I tended bar at a large hotel with a large complement of business travelers, many of our female guests acknowledged that reality, and some had developed strategies for minimizing their risk.

With that as background, it was with great interest that I read a recent e-mail from author Jamie Zunick, who has written a book detailing a lengthy journey she took with her mother as they scoured almost all 50 states in their quest for a new place to call home.

In addition to domestic travels, Zunick has traveled alone through Europe and Malaysia. Not always being able to find a traveling companion, she has learned a thing or two about traveling safely and has detailed some of her road trips and tips in her new book, “The Sweetness of Life: An Exploration of Life, Death, and Self-Discovery.”

Zunick also offered the following article, which I am pleased to share.

10 Tips for Women Traveling Alone
 By Jamie Zunick

Long road trips are the best part of my life. I have traveled cross-country through America many times. As a single woman traveling alone, I have learned how to take care of myself so that the journey can be pleasant and enjoyable. This list contains my suggestions for anyone who enjoys solitary journeys.
  1. Always let someone know where you are. Though you may enjoy the freedom of feeling “lost” on the highway, it’s always best to check in with a family member or friend so someone always knows where you are. Also, let someone know when you are leaving and when you will return.
  2. Do not pick up strangers. Do not offer rides or agree to share a hotel room with anyone you don’t know. Though you may think the person you are helping is harmless, you can never fully know someone’s true intentions after just a few minutes of conversation.
  3. Make sure your car is “road ready.” Before starting any road trip, always take your car in for service.
  4. Don’t stop for someone stranded on the side of the road. Though you may want to assist someone in trouble, don’t stop unless you are sure it’s safe. It’s always a good idea to get to a safe place first and then call for help for the stranded driver.
  5. Eat well and get plenty of sleep. Take care of yourself physically so you can focus while you’re on the road. Stay alert behind the wheel.
  6. Stay in a nicer hotel. Though it may depend on your budget, it is always best to stay in a safe, secure location.
  7. Dress conservatively. Once you reach your destination, dress any way that fits the location and occasion. When traveling alone, however, it is best to dress down and not bring attention to yourself.
  8. Do not let strangers know you are traveling alone. If people know you are traveling alone, you may be considered an “easy target.” (Editor’s note: One of my female guests shared the following tip: When buying a beverage to take back to your hotel room, order two. The second drink implies that there is someone traveling with you.)
  9. Notify credit card companies. Some credit card companies will block your card if they see “suspicious” activity like continuous gas charges. Inform companies that you will be traveling so they do not cut off your credit.
  10. Travel with a pet. Bringing a dog on the road with you can deter strangers and give you companionship during long drives.
Zunick's book is available on Amazon.com, BarnesAndNoble.com, Overstock.com, and other major retailers.

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