45 SAFETY TIPS FOR TRIPS ––– FOR ALL WOMEN TRAVELERS (Everybody)
Here are the most common mistakes women make that could result in them getting kidnapped, attacked, and/or raped: I KNOW. This will never happen to you. With that in mind, please keep reading
1. Getting into the attacker’s car when he pulls a gun and orders you to get into his vehicle. Most attackers don’t want to shoot you … they want you to get into the car so that they can drive you to a deserted place and torture you. Don’t comply. Run screaming. It is MUCH more likely than not that he will just move on to an easier target
2. Pulling over when a man drives alongside of you pointing at your car pretending something is wrong. If this happens, drive to the nearest well-lit and populated gas station and look the car over yourself (or ask an attendant). Never pull over. Believe it or not, many women have fallen for this for fear of their car spontaneously exploding in the middle of the road. Not likely.
3. Not locking your doors while driving. I have read several cases where the attacker simply walks up to a woman’s car while she’s at a traffic light and jumps in with his gun or knife drawn.
4. Opening your front door when you have not positively identified who is there.
If you don’t have a peep hole, get one. There are countless cases where the attacker gains access to his victims simply by knocking on their door. Don’t let an attacker get into your home. He then has a private, relatively soundproof place to attack you.
5. Not being alert in parking lots. If you go to the grocery store at night, don’t be shy about asking for an escort to your car. Too many women are abducted from parking lots or even raped in the parking lot.
6. Look in your back seat before entering your car. Cars provide endless hiding places for attackers, both inside them and in between them.
7. Be aware of your surroundings by looking to the left and right and behind you with your head up all the time. You may appear paranoid and look funny to others, but an attacker will think twice about approaching someone who appears so aware of what’s going on.
8. Trusting a clean cut, honest looking strangers. Sex offenders do not look like monsters.
They often look like they could be your friendly grocer, bank teller, waiter, neighbor, clergy, doctor, etc. They are every age between 15 and 90. Only a small minority look scary.
9. Do not talk on your cell phone while walking to and from your car. You are preoccupied and make a good target. Always walk with purpose and be aware of your surroundings. Look strong and confident.
10. Or, purposely call someone on your cell phone while walking to your car. so that if the unexpected occurs, you are already connected with a source for help. (This is the opposite advice from # 9)
11. Lock the car and keep the keys with you when purchasing gas. (In some places, you must go to a booth or inside to pay for the gas and usually our keys and purse etc. are all in the car with the car unlocked.)
12. Unload your car at the hotel front door vs. in the parking lot. Most hotels will allow you to leave your car there while you check-in and take everything to your room. Why take any chances by driving to some remote corner of the hotel parking lot and lugging your stuff cross country?
13. Walk to your car with your keys in your hand. Always be aware of your surroundings. Do this day or night.
14. Schedule reserved transportation whenever possible. Never hail a cab from the street.
15. Do not carry luggage tags with personal name and contact information where they can be readily seen. Instead, put your company address and phone number on luggage tags. Since most luggage tags are removable, you can print personal information should be printed on the back.
16. Park close to the elevator. Know where the security person hangs out. (I am thinking of large parking lots like in Vegas.)
17. Never enter an elevator with a man alone. Most people don’t always follow this advice, but if you have the slightest sense of a negative intuition, don’t get in the elevator or exit before the door closes. Why gamble if you don’t have to?
18. Never stop at a rest stop or truck stop alone. You are safer at gas station where there are lots of people — especially at night.
19. When ordering room service stand at the door when it is delivered with the door open. Do not walk back into the room and shut the door. Have the waiter walk to the door and step outside while you sign the bill.
20. Do not take the stairs alone unless it is an emergency.
21. If you have a drink at an event, do not leave it unattended. If you do, rather than risk taking a sip from that glass, order a new one. Paranoid? Think about the times you have read about instances in your newspaper where a guy slips a Mickey into a female’s drink.
22. Be discreet when ordering in hotel restaurants or poolside. Providing your name and room number out loud can open you up to all sorts of uncomfortable situations, not to mention others buying drinks on your room #.
23. Don’t be hesitant to ask security to walk you to your vehicle. Walking to your car, waiting for a cab, can be unsafe at late hours.
24. Avoid staying on ground level. It’s the easiest place for intruders to break in.
25. Never leave your patio or balcony door open/unlocked.
26. Yell FIRE when confronted with a potential problem. Some people avoid helping strangers thinking it is none of their business. FIRE is all our business.
27. Drive directly to a well–lit parking lot and call 911 if you suspect you are being followed.
Stay in your car until the police arrive.
28. Call the area police department when you are being stopped for a traffic violation and confirm the validity of the stopping officer.
29. Try to stay below the 7th floor in a hotel. Most Fire Departments only have ladder trucks with ladders that extend to 110 feet.
30. Always take a business card of the hotel upon check–in. This way if you should get lost or need assistance you will have hotel information to provide taxi or call.
31. Bright Idea: Check into a hotel as Mr. and Mrs. Ask for two keys to give people who might be listening the impression that you are not alone. (See Tip #21)
32. Never park next to two large cars (vans, SUVS, Trucks) or vehicles with tinted windows. This creates a “obstruction” so you can’t see what is going on. Tinted windows allow for people to wait in the car to reach out and pull you back into the vehicle.
33. Travel during daylight hours as much as possible.
34. When stopped at a traffic light, be sure to see the tread marks on the tires of the car in front of you. This will give you enough distance and time to avoid a car-jacking.
35. Choose well–traveled roads and highways for long drives. They may have more access to gas, water, sanitary facilities and law enforcement when needed.
36. Check hotel windows and doors immediately for properly working locks.
37. Check hotel room for properly working services: electric, phone, plumbing.
38. When someone knocks at the door, use peep hole and check for name and ID.
39. Ask who’s there prior to opening the door.
40. Slide under a car if being threatened with rape. Try to vomit, or urinate or tell attackers you are HIV positive and on your period.
41. Look under/around your car before you approach it to make sure no one is hiding below the eye level, waiting to pounce. Getting into the car is a vulnerable moment. Move in fast, shut the door and drive away.
42. Elevators: If you don’t like the occupants or get weird vibes, don’t get on the elevator,
especially if it is one man alone and late at night. So, what if it looks stupid or is inconvenient?
Don’t care; you may have prevented unwanted encounter.
43. FOLLOW YOUR INTUITION. If you feel the hair on the back of your neck rise (or whatever the expression), or you get bad “feelings,” listen to those feelings and act on them. Don’t call yourself silly. It’s your life you are protecting. You may never know what disaster you (may have) avoided, but by following your intuition, it will become even stronger and serve you well.
44. Hotels: Lots of security cautions apply to a lone female traveler. Basic one: Make sure you double lock all doors and check any shared doors between rooms. Also check any windows that open onto balconies. Avoid lower floors where people can easily access your room by back windows and doors. When you leave the room, keep your TV on, so it confuses someone as to if you are present or not.
45. Always travel with a charged cell phone. If your car fails, you have a better chance of getting help. If you detest cell phones, carry a cheap plan one for emergencies only.