Rule #1 for women traveling alone: Do not look or act like prey, as this will grab the attention of any predator nearby. Looking like non-prey may be difficult for some women, but one way is to dress in black. Black is the color of authority (e.g., judges, nuns, priests, referees, police officers). Here are more rules:
- Before embarking on your trip, get your car road ready by a trusted body shop.
- Never give strangers a ride. If you’re tempted, ask yourself what their fate would be if you never crossed paths. Would they die? If not, ignore them and move on. You are not obligated to give anyone a lift, even if it’s “just a mile down the road,” even if the stranger is a woman. She might be a co-conspirator with a man to rob you, or just plain dangerous by herself.
- To reinforce the don’t give strangers a ride rule, review possible scenarios before you leave for the trip. For example, you strike up a friendly conversation with a stranger at a diner who then offers to cover your meal, then says he/she needs a ride to the motel down the street. What would you do? Plan ahead your template response, then rehearse it.
- Give someone your travel plans including complete itinerary before you leave.
- Always be aware of every exit in any building you enter such as diners.
- Don’t yap to anyone that you’re traveling alone, not even the nice lady pouring your coffee. If anyone says something like, “It must be scary, traveling alone,” and it’s obvious you’re alone, do NOT validate this comment! Say something like, “Actually, I’m not the least bit scared. I turn into a grizzly bear when threatened.” Rehearse this line so that it sounds like it’s true.
- Do not carry a lot of cash; use your ATM card or credit card.
- Leave the pricey jewelry and high priced designer handbag behind. Don’t wear clothes that suggest you have a lot of money. Do not wear any attention-getting attire.
- Wear sneakers when driving. You can run easily in these and walk long distances. Forget the flip flops or pumps.
- Never ask strangers for directions; only ask employees.
- Don’t stand at the payment counter fishing through your stuffed purse to pay for gas or your meal. Have the money in your hands ahead of time and leave the purse hidden from view in your car.
- Carry pepper spray on your person.
Robert Siciliano personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen. See him knock’em dead in this identity theft prevention video.