Traveling can be an exciting escapade, but it’s not all fun and games. There should always be a concern for safety while traveling, regardless how comfortable you feel; You don’t want to be prepared only after you get scammed or robbed. Here are 16 safety tips that will keep you more protected during your adventures.
Do your research
The first step to maximize your safety is to read reviews and travel websites that will give you the 4-1-1 on how secure your travel destination actually is. Keep a tab on how often crime occurs, how responsive law enforcement is and spots that are better to avoid.
The best way to attract a robber is to stand out, so blend in as much as possible. Don’t wear flashy clothing at a normal tourist attraction and keep your Louis Vuitton bag at home. Really analyze a person before you ask for directions, and try not to make a scene when you’re checking your map or phone for directions.
Speaking of not knowing where you’re going, it is so much easier to plan which metro or bus line you need to take before you get to the station. If you’re walking somewhere new, pre-load directions onto your phone, write them down, or screen shot map directions to follow along your trip to avoid roaming the streets uncertainly.
Make copies of your documents
I live by this rule. When traveling, always have a copy of your itinerary, reservations, vouchers, vital medical papers and even your passport on you. I will usually keep one set of papers at my accommodation, and bring whatever I need for the day with me in terms of vouchers and directions. I have also in the past given a copy of all my information to family, so if anything happens, they have a general knowledge of what I was doing and can show important documents to authorities.
Keep emergency contacts
You never know what kind of issue you can get into, so it is important to keep the numbers of important people and services with you. On the flip side, write an emergency contact or two on your travel documents so they can be reached if anything happens. Make sure to set an ICE (In Case of Emergency) contact on your phone as well.
Register with your government
The U.S. Embassy has a program that allows you to alert them of international travel, so they can then alert you of any dangers in your destination.
Alert your bank
This is such a simple way to protect your money while traveling abroad. Simply call the number on the back of you debit or credit card, and let them know where and when you’ll be travelling, so your funds will be available to you when you need them.
Always carry cash
This is a general life rule, but it should always be followed when travelling. You never know which cards will work where, or if your bank will freeze your account because they don’t know you’re away (see above tip). So, it is always important to have cash in the currency of the country you are visiting, so you are never without food, water, transportation, etc.
Be wary of ATMs
When I travel, I try to use ATMs as little as possible. It’s crucial to check out the ATM before you use it. Has it been tampered with? Did other people use it successfully before you? Can people see easily when you enter your pin? If you know someone who successfully utilized one before you, ask them which one they used so you have better confidence in your transaction.
Be careful with Wi-Fi
Public Wi-Fi is with no doubt a lifesaver when traveling abroad, but it is important to be wary of what you search on that Wi-Fi connection. It is easy for hackers to log on and steal your information, so avoid visiting bank accounts, credit card information or any other significant material that would lead to disaster if stolen.
Be aware of your surroundings
This is a no brainier, but when people are lost in the romance of their travel destination, it is easy to let any alert melt away. Always scan your surroundings, observe the people close to you and hold on tightly to your belongings. Don’t hold your wallet in the open, and make sure it is tucked away safely when not in use. Anti-theft backpacks and bags as well as scan-proof card holders are useful solutions to any worry of being taken advantage of while traveling.
Keep your items close
Building onto being aware of your surroundings, it is smart to avoid using your back pocket. Robbers can easily pull a phone or money out of back pockets without you noticing until it’s too late.
Don’t be out alone at night
And if you are, stay in well-lit areas.
Monitor your alcohol intake
It’s invigorating to experience the night life of a new country, but it is always important to drink responsibly. Being publicly intoxicated not only looks bad on you as a tourist, but it makes you more susceptible to crime.
Carry an alert system with you
Whether it’s pepper spray or a button that emits a high-pitched noise, tools like these can be the difference between a robber taking your valuables, or running away from you.
Be aware of food
A thrilling part of traveling is tasting new foods. What’s not fun is when you’re sick for days after you try new food. Always make sure you understand what you are eating, know if you can drink tap water at your location and be knowledgeable of any recent bacteria outbreaks in food in that country. If you have allergies to various foods, it is smart to keep a paper in that destination’s language that describe your allergies. These are just simple steps to make sure your stomach is protected during travel.