How Women Can Boost Their Travel Mindfulness & Intuition

I’ve been fortunate enough to travel a lot – often alone – to give workshops and talks. I’ve also lived in another country that is very different culturally from my home in the United States. I mention this information because I was living with the false belief that I was a really savvy traveler.

And then I was blindsided. A man who was a workshop participant began to follow me. At first, I didn’t notice his behavior. I was too busy arranging my materials and focusing on other things. (Remember that word “focusing.” More about that later.) But, still, I should have picked up some potential danger signals: He stood too close to me, praised me a bit too much, and managed to sit near me too often.

My intuition light bulb finally went on when he asked me to join him for dinner at a favorite place not too far away. The words “not too far away” called up images of some deserted road. A woman who was sitting next to me overheard the conversation, and grabbed my arm and said, “We’ve got to be at Ann’s meeting in three minutes!”

Thankfully, another intuitive light bulb went on, and I knew she was sending me a “safety signal.” We got up together from the table. Once we were in the hall, she said to me that he was sexually aggressive with her friend. She didn’t recognize him at first from her friend’s photo that she took of him on her iPhone because he once had a beard.

After that experience, I’ve become more mindful – and automatically more intuitive. It was the last time I was caught unaware.

And now about that word “focusing.” Intuition includes the ability to focus on what is important – and to ignore what is not. It is a skill – and it can be learned!

When I was doing research for my book, Smart Relationships, about the love issues of today’s career women, they told me their stories about their travel encounters with danger. They ignored important signs. It was clear that I needed to offer workshops about this topic.

Here are the top issues and tips from these workshops (especially if you are traveling alone or for business). I am not trying to scare you – just educate you so you will be safe enough to enjoy your travels!

Safe Travel Tips for Women

1. Know the culture and published crime reports or statistics of assaults on local women and tourists of the country you are visiting. Some countries do not value women, and they may not publicize attacks at all. Make sure you know whether you need to cover your head, neck, and arms. If you need directions or any travel assistance, ask a woman, if possible.

If you reside in the United States, visit the State Department’s website for their safety list of countries. Get the address and contact information of the American Embassy or Consulate for where you are visiting, and keep the information on you! (You can also ask your elected state representative’s office for the information.)

Do not fall for a woman’s tendency to be non-judgmental. You have much more to lose by not preparing yourself.

2. Research information ahead of time about the area of your hotel. Travel sites like TripAdvisor often include descriptions of the neighborhood. Call the concierge desk of the hotel to learn about safety. Ask the person: “On a scale of 1-10, with 10 the highest, how uneasy would you be if your partner, friend, or family member walked this area alone?”

3. Give family and friends all of the contact information about your hotel, conference, and travel schedule. Check in regularly with them. A short text is good enough.

4. Memorize two of your credit card numbers, expiration dates, security codes, and phone numbers. You can do it! Buy an RFID wallet or protective security sleeves for your passport and credit cards to protect against electronic theft of your information. You can find them in online travel catalogues such as Magellan and TravelSmith, as well as places like Amazon and Target. Make copies of your credit cards (both sides) and the front page of your passport. Give them to your friends or family members. Hide a copy under the sole lining in your shoe.

You can hide money inside your shoe as well. I also like keeping money and a credit card in a small pouch that wraps and snaps around a bra strap. The travel sites above also carry them.

5. Use a handbag that has a cross-body strap and, preferably, a front flap that hides the zipper. I like ones that fold flat in your tote or wheelie. I fill it with everything I would need in my handbag. When I arrive, I can just pull it out of my tote.

6. Bring two ATM cards – especially if you are traveling outside of the United States. Some ATM machines in other countries have ways of “eating” your card. Find out from the concierge if the hotel has an ATM machine. If not, find the location of the nearest and safest ones. Keep lots of small bills for tips so you are not fumbling for change.

7. Travel very light! If possible, don’t check bags. If feasible, ship some things instead. Travel with a wheelie and a shoulder tote. I like HammacherSchlemmer’s very light 4-wheel wheelie. You don’t want to appear as a woman in need of assistance. Friendly gestures of help can lead to unwanted closeness.

Don’t weigh yourself down with an outfit for every possible kind of weather. You can wear any number of sweaters or jackets on the plane. There is no rule on how many jackets you can toss in the overhead. So what if you look like an overstuffed marshmallow for a few minutes!

Listen to your intuitive voice that says: “Oh, I am taking too much.” If you aren’t sure if you are taking too much, try these travel intuition boosters: Lift your suitcase to see how heavy it is. Could you put it in the overhead bin easily without assistance? On a scale of 1-10, with 10 the highest, ask yourself these two questions: How much will you dread unpacking and repacking? How high is your insecurity about having a wardrobe mishap? Don’t get fooled into thinking you can ward off every potential issue by packing every little thing.

8. Banish the idea of romance. Getting away from home does not mean getting away from you and your life – even in the most enchanting places. I’ve had clients come back from the Caribbean with stories about encounters gone wrong. Stay public, and stay near. Don’t give out your business card. Take the other person’s card instead.

9. Get mindful about the people around you and with you. Activate your intuition by focusing your attention on others. Think about how you would describe the people in your group. Who is the critic or expert or reticent one? For example, what animal do they remind you of? Look for extremes of behavior: too friendly or too aloof. Scan a room or street for people who are just loitering – or are people-watching too intently. Listen to your intuitive voice that says things such as: “This person is a waste of my time.” Or, “I just don’t trust or like this person.”

10. Don’t go out at night alone. If you go out, travel in groups that include men. Big men! Pack healthy snacks in your bag in case you get hungry later and are tempted to go out alone.

11. Keep your wits about you. Don’t drink alcohol. Don’t let someone else bring you a drink of any kind. Get your own – and watch the bartender. Another of my clients was slipped a drug in her drink order.

And get a good night’s sleep!

12. Use taxis that are approved and known by the hotel. When in doubt, ask the doorman. One of my clients hailed a gypsy cab on the corner of a large U.S. city, and the driver stopped at a friend’s house on the way! Nothing happened – he was doing an errand – but it frightened her. Make sure the cab has a meter that accepts credit cards. Ask if it is in working order.

I hope these tips help. My mission is to help you grow your emotional bravery and intuitive power in life, love, work, happiness, and success!

Want to be part of my next book about empowering your intuition about love, happiness, success, and other things? I would love to hear your story. Click the link in my bio below and provide your contact information, include the word ANGEL or INTUITION in the Message box, and I’ll send you the information! Your participation will help others!

Author's Bio: 

Dr. LeslieBeth (LB) Wish, Ed.D.MSS is a nationally honored psychologist, licensed clinical social worker and author, specializing in women’s issues in love and work. The National Association of Social Workers has named her as one of the Top 50 professionals. Marquis Who’s Who Publications includes her for her pioneering work with women. She is the author of two research-based, self-help books: Smart Relationships: How Successful Women Can Find True Love, and the companion cartoon book, The Love Adventures of Almost Smart Cookie. Visit Dr. Wish at LoveVictory.com to learn more and receive a free gift.