This is from a series originally posted on my original blog: Seefahrer Thayer. While I don't recommend it, you can view the original posts here. Because the content had value and useful tips I've decided to repost them here, however, they've since been heavily edited and updated.
Yes, I do just make up these numbers.
These should be some basic safety guidelines, but I thought it would be a good time to bring them up, as I've been executing them recently. Most of them everyone knows, but I stole one from Rick Steve's that I liked too. Some of these may apply more to females on their own, but it could give ideas to cautious guys too.
- If you're at an old b&b like I am now, and you can see through the keyhole, leave something I front of it. I hung my shoe over the handle and hole (more noise). For one, it's creepy thinking someone could see you, but it's also unsafe that they could see you're alone.
- Ryan mentioned leaving your key in the door can allow someone to push it out and get their hands on it- so stick with a shirt or scarf.
- Never say you're traveling alone. Say you're on your way to meet a friend, or better yet, husband. Consider carrying a picture or maybe a fake ring.
- Most importantly, go with your gut. Walk away if you feel uncomfortable. If all that's left is a shady motel, spend the money and go to a more expensive one. Or drive to the next town. Trusting your instinct never leads you wrong.
- If you're staying in your room alone, no matter how safe, put something in front of the door that'll make a lot of noise if it's opened. They even make portable motion detectors if you have space in your bag.
- If all else fails, Rick Steves suggested, a coke can filled with change acts as the best alarm to wake you.
- Lastly, don't wear headphones. Not only do you look like a jackass. But you're missing out on the world around you (and creating a barrier between you and the locals). You're totally unaware of your surroundings. At the very least, only wear one-- admittedly I'll listen to some low music in one ear on occasion. But, absolutely never, at the very least, walk alone with your music on loud in your ears while you're carrying your entire life on your back. Just stop.