HELOISE Safety first on the road and in your hotel

Dear Readers: Here are some travel tips for females. When it comes to traveling alone, whether to your local store or to a different city, women should be aware, prepare and beware.
UFirst things first -- lock the doors of your car and hotel room every time.
UWhen driving, know where you are going. You don't want to stop to ask strangers for directions -- that can be very dangerous.
UIf you think someone is following you, don't go home. The person will find out where you live. Go to a public place, a firehouse, police station or a well-lighted place with people.
UDon't stop or walk in dimly lit areas. Look at your surroundings. If you feel uncomfortable about a dark area that you must pass through to get to your parked car, do this: Call a friend on your cell phone, tell the friend where you are walking and talk to him or her until you get to your car safely.
UWhen driving alone, wear a man's cap or hat to disguise yourself.
UAlways let someone know you are on the way and your estimated time of arrival, along with the route you are taking.
UDon't talk too much or provide too much information to strangers on a plane, in a restaurant or at a store. No one needs to know you're traveling alone.
And here are some hints when staying in a hotel:
UI carry a small bell on a shoelace and tie it to the room door. If someone tries to get in, it lets me know. I've been known to push a chair against the door, too.
UWhen going out, I leave the TV on and hang the "Do Not Disturb" sign on the door.
UIf there is a sliding door, I make sure it is secure.
UWhen checking in, I ask for two keys. That way, it appears I'm not alone." Don't tell the clerk, "It's just me." Heloise
Dear Heloise: During a one-week stay in the hospital, my sister brought me a zippered tote bag filled with items to keep me busy during nonvisiting hours.
The tote had a couple of books from my favorite author, a collection of word puzzles and crosswords, pen, pencil, stationery and postage stamps. She also included a mirror, brush and manicure set with fingernail polish. C.C., San Antonio
Dear Heloise: If you have a squeaking cabinet door in the kitchen, forget the oil can. Just take a can of cooking spray and use it on the hinges. No more squeaks. David L., via e-mail
This is a short-term fix, but please remember that cooking spray also contains lecithin, which might cause stickiness over time. Heloise
XSend a money-saving or time-saving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000; fax to (210) HELOISE or e-mail to Heloise@Heloise.com.
King Features Syndicate

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