"" Writer's Wanderings: Lone Woman Traveler

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Lone Woman Traveler

Last weekend was the annual American Christian Fiction Writers conference in Indianapolis. Since it was so close to home, it was hard to pass up. (Picture at right is of Tim Downs giving keynote.) I drove and had a room to myself which is best for me since I would tend to want to talk late into the night if I had a roommate. If you find yourself traveling alone, here are a few things to consider for doing so safely.

  • Keep your cell phone handy and charged. Use it to keep family or a close friend updated as to where you are and what your schedule is. Don't discuss with that friendly stranger what your plans are.

  • Choose a hotel with rooms that have an indoor hallway. I once booked a hotel without realizing it had doors on an outside perimeter along with a window that had sliding glass panels that opened. I spent a very uncomfortable night not feeling safe and changed hotels the next day.

  • Which leads me to the next item: Follow your gut instincts. If it doesn't feel safe go somewhere else, don't stop there, eat somewhere else, leave.

  • When you arrive at your hotel room take note where the Exit sign is in the hall and how many doors away it is. Is it a left or a right turn out of the room. Don't rely on the map on the back of the door. It's confusing sometimes.

  • Always turn the bolt and set the chain while you are in the room. Unless you order room service, there should be no reason to open the door. The cleaning staff will come back later if you ask them.

  • Keep your key in a place where you don't have to fumble for it as you stand in front of your door.

  • If you are at a conference that requires you to wear a name badge, be sure to take it off when you are out of the conference area. It surprises me how many people don't realize their name is advertised on their chest when Bob (his favorite thing to do) calls them by name in the elevator.

  • When you are eating in the hotel, do not leave a signed bill with your room number on it on the table. Give it back to the server.

  • Don't run alone in an unfamiliar neighborhood. Use the gym or find a running partner from fellow conferees you can trust.

  • Always BE AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS. This goes without saying rather you are miles away from home or just in the parking lot of your local mall.

Stay safe out there. Gee, now I sound like one of those police shows.

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