If this post makes absolutely zero sense, let me apologize in advance for my lack of brain function. I have had 2 out of the past 4 nights with no sleep (like, none. zippo.) and am running on total fumes. Yesterday evening at 7pm CST, I spoke at the Pinners Conference in Phoenix before heading back to the hotel to quickly change and catch a red eye flight back to Houston. The man I sat next to on the plane sweetly decided to blare gangster rap music out of his headphones the entire trip, which greatly deterred my ability to sleep at all. We landed at DFW at 4:30am, where I somehow managed to get a shuttle back to my car and get on the road to Houston without falling asleep or OD'ing on coffee. I drove the 4 hours home and crawled into bed right as Zach and Bear were waking up at 8:30am. Naturally Bear was ready to play and go on all kinds of adventures, so this Momma is beat but sucking it up (you other mommas know exactly what I'm talking about!).
I'll be sharing more about the Pinners Conference soon, as it was such an incredible experience and I loved meeting so many amazing, inspiring women. For now, I want to discuss traveling alone and the precautions I take as a woman to do so while it's fresh on my mind. I don't travel solo often, but when I do my Mom is a nervous wreck. Because of the fear she's instilled in me, I want to travel smart and I tend to be a bit oblivious in general, so I try and be more aware when I'm in a new place by myself. In case any of you ever find yourself jetting off without a companion, I'm sharing some of the safety tips and tricks that have made traveling by myself a bit less complicated and overall more secure.
Travel Safety Tips
1. Scan your driver's license, passport, & health card and email them to yourself and a friend or family member. If you lose your passport or ID, it makes getting a new one much easier.
2. Always let someone know where you are going, when you expect to arrive, & where you are staying. When you arrive, confirm those details right away. If something should happen, at least one person knows where you are.
3. Download apps like Uber and Lyft in advance and use the free codes for your first ride. I prefer Lyft, as it seems to be a bit cheaper overall. Both options are better than a cab, and usually Uber drivers keep a cooler of drinks and some snacks for passengers which is always a nice treat.
4. If you do end up taking a cab, Uber, or Lyft, snap a picture of the license plate before you get in it. This is both for safety reasons and in case you leave something inside; having the license plate number makes tracking the vehicle down much easier.
5. Public transportation is a pickpocket's haven so never carry anything in your back pocket and always be aware of your surroundings. Subways, buses, trains, and even busy sidewalks are all ripe with pickpockets, and they're not always stereotypical men. I was once robbed in the street by an 8 year old boy in Lima, Peru. Groups of women also target other women by kindly bumping into the target on a bus. I've used these travel wallets many times in the past, tucked inside of my shirt, and they're so much safer than carrying a purse.
6. Bring an external phone charger because you will without a doubt need it at one point or another. I have this one and used it several times in Phoenix; my Mom and Zach would've both been freaking if my phone had been dead and they couldn't reach me.
7. If you order room service or something from a hotel, never identify that you are alone. If you have to, say the person will "be right back" or open the door only partway.
8. If you're listening to music, don't wear both headphones so that you can always stay alert. If you suspect some foul play, you can also wear headphones with no music on as a way to eavesdrop and overhear anything sketchy that might be going on.
9. Avoid appearing like a tourist. Ditch the Disney t-shirt and never pull a giant atlas out in the middle of a busy place; dart in a bathroom or small coffee shop to find your bearings.
10. Trust your instincts and don't be afraid to say no. It's okay to turn down help with your bags, an invitation to dinner, or a shot of vodka from some guy named Borat. Rely on your intuition and don't be afraid to be rude if it means staying safe.
Hope you have all had a wonderful weekend! I'll be back tomorrow with a delicious, healthy recipe!