There is extreme joy and excitement when going on a trip to an unknown place for you. But while doing so you must not let your guard down! You have to remember that your safety is what’s most important. Usually, we don’t consider bad things happening to us until they do. To prevent a big part of them you must be prepared. Of course, there is no “good” or “bad” country as crime happens all over the world. Here we have compiled a helpful list of safety travel tips, that you should check out before you head out on your next travel adventure.
Travel Destination and other safety travel tips
Going out to discover what the world has to offer when venturing to the great unknown is always thrilling. It is a great idea to have a game plan in place, and know what to do to keep yourself and safe on your adventure. Besides staying safe, you also want your experience to be as enjoyable as possible by taking in a sigh of relief that all would go as smoothly as possible. So let’s get started on how to make your traveling destination the best one yet.
Learn something new
As we know language is a key to many doors and if you plan a longer stay in a region, it is better to learn the language at a basic level – not only does it enrich the travel experience it also helps if any problems arise. Knowing the language of the country will definitely contribute to your safe travel. Furthermore, who doesn’t like gaining knowledge?
Beware – SCAM!
Every city has its own special scams to look out for! A good safety travel tip si to have in-depth research about them. Furthermore, you’d better find what are like the most common travel scams out there.
Check-in with the State Department
Do you know that the State Department provides updated safety information for every country in the world? You can search for the website and get trustworthy details about the country you’re visiting. Find out everything, from which vaccinations you need to the local laws to any travel warnings (including crime and security warnings). While you’re on the website, head over to the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) page, where you can register your travel plans. In the event of an emergency (whether it’s a natural disaster, an emergency back home or civil unrest), they will be able to contact you. Researching such travel warning details would give you a general idea of what is happening in your travel destination. This is on top of our list of safety travel tips.
This is maybe one of the most ignored safety travel tips out there. But for your own good, get a travel insurance! There are plenty of good travel insurance packets – for both health and property. Everyone thinks that they are invincible, but accidents and crimes happen even if you’ve been careful the whole time. So you have to have your back covered.
Save emergency numbers
Remember, you can’t call 911 everywhere. Find out what the local emergency hotlines are and save them to your phone (preferably on speed dial). Or if you want to feel even more secure, print them out on a piece of paper, then laminate them and keep them in your wallet or another preferable place to you. Also, research the nearest U.S. embassies or consulates and save those addresses and phone numbers as well.
Choose your ground transportation wisely
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), motor vehicle crashes are the No. 1 cause of death for U.S. citizens abroad. Whenever possible, travel in a vehicle that is in good condition and offers working seat belts. Research the safety records of bus companies, and avoid using less-safe vehicles like rickshaws and mopeds. Furthermore, check if the driver is in good condition. He/she might be tired from the long shifts or even worse – had a drink before work, which is highly risky, but unfortunately still happens.
Be informed about your destination
You’d probably want to know which are the tourist-friendly areas around there, book a hotel/hostel in this area and make sure to keep out from any dangerous places. To double-check any areas you might want to visit, ask the locals. This safety travel tip goes hand by hand with any specific clothing that you should consider.
What to wear?
Some countries have special kind of clothing. For example, many Islamic countries have a specific dress code that is strictly enforced. Following the dress code of a country is a sign of respect, ignoring their local customs comes off as ignorant and rude. Furthermore, you probably want to blend in with the locals as much as possible just because you don’t want the scammers’ attention drawn to you.
For general advice, you can check out Wikipedia’s clothing laws by country
Spend more when it comes to your health and safety
Don’t be afraid to spend a bit extra money on a better hostel/hotel or a more convenient flight. For instance, it isn’t safe for you to travel at night to catch a plane or stay in a suspicious-looking room. Pay more, this is a very important safety travel tip that can actually turn out for the better.
Review the escape route in your hotel room
Let’s be honest — when you check in to a hotel room, you’re more focused on scoping out the amenities than studying the map on the back of your door. But before you get too settled in, you should take a quick look at the emergency escape routes. You’ll be glad you did if an emergency arises in the middle of the night.
Confirm visitors with the hotel desk
You’re in your hotel room and there’s a knock at the door from someone claiming to be maintenance or housekeeping. Before you let this person in, call down to the front desk to verify that someone from the property needs access to your room. Criminals have been known to pose as hotel workers to get inside rooms.
Registered radio taxis
While at the hotel, ask the reception to call you a taxi if you need to get somewhere. It is safer that way because the chance of getting in a sketchy cab that tries to take your money is zero.
Talk with the locals
No one knows better than the locals. Try talking to them so to find out what places are better for you to avoid and which spots are great for tourists. In addition to this tip, talk with the receptionists, they would be glad to help.
For your own good, even if the stranger seems kind, don’t share information such as travel plans, the location of your accommodation and so on. Even if they do ask, be vague about it or for example, lie about the name of the place you are staying. Moreover, if the person asks you if it’s your first time visiting, pretend that you have been in the country before. You don’t want to come off as an easy scam target, do you?
Leave an itinerary and emergency contact
Unplugging while on vacation can be great, but try not to go too under the radar, especially if you’re traveling alone. Leave your itinerary (even if it’s just as basic as which city you’ll be visiting and when you’ll return) with a trusted friend or family member back home, and try to check in with him or her every day. That way, if something happens, they can alert authorities on your behalf.
On the other hand…
Don’t post too much on your socials. This is another important safety tip for traveling – keep away from social media. Today, they are the greatest life-trackers that can be used against you. I know it can be tempting to tag yourself on Facebook or Instagram to share where you are. All of the information you post of your trip and location is the honey that can draw ill-intentioned people towards you.
Scan a copy of your passport
Before you leave, scan a copy of your passport, e-mail it to yourself and take a photo of it to save on your cell phone. That way, if you need your passport while out (but it’s locked up in your hotel safe), you’ll have access to all your details. Plus, if it’s stolen, getting a replacement will be that much easier.
Let the bank know you’re traveling
You wouldn’t like the idea of your bank ruining your travel adventure by locking down all of your cards, right? So, you should check in with them. Most online banking has a facility for letting the bank or credit card provider know that you are on the move. Just make it shortly before you go on your trip. Truly a neglected tip from all of the safety travel tips.
Don’t flash your cash or valuables
Keep your cash separated, with some spending money easily accessible and the rest hidden, so that you’re not showing off a big wad of cash every time you pay. Although it’s tempting to have your Smartphone out constantly to look up directions or take photos, be mindful of your surroundings — thieves love to grab cell phones from people using them on trains and run off at the next stop.
Keep documents and money separated
Usually, muggers only want money and credit cards. It would be better if you keep them in separate places. Another safety tip is to have “emergency” cash with you, just because you never know.
Keep a record
Always keep in mind what is with you and what is staying away at your hotel. If something does get stolen you have to know what was it. Before you go on your trip, write down all the information from your credit and debit cards, driver’s license, medical insurance, and other important documents. This will come in handy because you’ll know what to tell the authorities when reporting missing items.
Say goodbye to your back pockets
To put a smartphone or any cash in your back pockets is an actual invitation for the pick-pocketer to steal from you. Don’t become an easy target for them. Try keeping your phone close to your torso, probably in an inside pocket and your money in your front pockets. That way you’ll be secure that your belongings will stay with you.
Be cautious around ATMs
Most of the scams happen around ATMs. For a fuller list of tips for safety when traveling, this one was crucial. Firstly, always cover your hand when keying in your PIN, you never know who’s peeking behind your shoulder or if any hidden cameras are trying to write your pin down. Secondly, if the machine has eaten your card, run a finger along the card slot to see if there is protruding. This is the “Lebanese Loop” which, simply explained, holds your card in, tricking you to think that it was a malfunction of the machine. Then the fraudster takes your card and runs off. In addition, always look at the ATMs more closely. Does it look suspicious? If so, trust your instincts and try finding another.
Withdrawals in banks
As frauds and tricks happen all around the world, especially connected to ATMs, you’d better withdraw any money from a bank during the working hours. Most of the ATMs get skimmed during the off-peak hours or in public places so a good safety travel tip is to consider withdrawing money in the day and at a bank.
Know the phone number to block your cards
But if anything unfortunate happens, for example, you lost your card or it got stolen, be ready to block it fast. That way you’ll be sure that your hard-earned money is safe.
Protect your smartphone and yourself
Your smartphone holds sensitive information about you, your emails and possible bank accounts info. To protect it, create a strong password and install a legitimate location tracking app and a wiping software if your phone gets stolen or lost, so you can destroy all of that information.
No public Wi-Fi
The public Wi-Fi is not protected and it makes it easier for thieves and fraudsters to hack into the information stored in the device you are using. It is better to use the hotel Wi-Fi, which is locked with a password and remember to NEVER log into your important accounts such as a bank account when on the go.
Take a look at “20 Travel Tips You Should Know About”
The less, the better
When going on sightseeing it is safer to travel light. Bring only the necessities with you, such as cash, copy of your passport, power bank and some other belongings important to you. Also, you’ll spare yourself some blisters and tiredness if you don’t bring with yourself so much stuff. Lastly, you won’t worry about having your essential stolen.
Stay close to your bag and belongings
Have your backpack or bag always attached to you and keep it under your eye. A carelessly hanging bag is what the thieves are looking for. For instance, if you are in a crowded place, make sure that you see your backpack pockets and that the backpack itself is tightened to your body. Always keep an eye on your belongings, you don’t want anything missing.
Bring first aid kit with you
Another safety tip for when you are traveling is to make some space in your backpack for some basic first aid kit. It should probably include painkillers, band-aids, anti-allergic drugs, or if you are taking any pills this is a great place to store them.
Keep an emergency car kit
Whether you’re driving your own car on a road trip or renting one abroad, make sure you keep a fully stocked kit in case of an emergency. This should include a backup battery for your phone, a first-aid kit, reflective warning signs, blankets, non-perishable food, a tire gauge, a flashlight, bottled water, and a snow shovel.
Steer clear of animals
Cute stray dogs and cats roaming the streets may make for good photo opportunities but resist the urge to get too close. Wild animals can carry all kinds of not-so-fun diseases (including rabies) that could ruin your trip.
Food and water safety
It’s a must to try at least one traditional dish in the country you are in, this certainly makes the travel adventure more memorable. But to be safe on your trip and not get any food poisonings always eat where many people go to eat. Also, a great tip, especially if you are allergic to some foods, write them down in both English and the country’s language you are in and have them laminated. By doing so you’ll save yourself from greater trouble. Another safety tip is to bring with yourself a reusable filtrating water bottle, that way you’ll always have clean water to drink and you’ll be more eco-friendly.
For more road trip food ideas you can check “Road Trip With Kids”
A huge part of our daily communication is made up of non-verbal signs and it is important to use them in your favor. To protect yourself from attackers, be aware and alert of your surroundings. That way, attackers can sense your confidence and probably move on to an easier target. Remember to always walk with a purpose, to avoid sketchy looking people and make enough eye contact to scare them off. Yet, keep in mind that in some countries too much eye contact might get you in trouble.
To feel even more secure on your trip, consider taking some basic self-defense classes. This is a longtime investment in your safety. But you have to use force only when there are no other options available. If a mugger wants your phone or cash, better give them and run away
Enjoy the nightlife in a group
What is a trip without seeing the place you are at night? To do so, make sure you are in a reliable group of friends or acquaintances. The chance of you being robbed is smaller because there are more pairs of eyes. Moreover, when going back to the place you are staying in, try to have at least one person accompanying you.
Keep a count
It can be tempting to go out and have a few too many drinks. But when in another country you have to be very cautious about that (After all you are reading a safety travel tips article). Don’t forbid yourself to drink, but remain sober and aware of your surroundings. A further safety tip is to keep your glass always in front of you and keep an eye on it. You don’t want to get drugged!
What about home?
Not often mentioned, this is a vital tip from the list of safety travel tips we’ve listed. When going to another place for a long time your home can actually become a target of burglary. Imagine, coming home from a long trip just to find out that you had been robbed – certainly not a pleasant experience. The overflowing mailbox is a neon sign for burglars To prevent such thing happening, before leaving stop your mail delivery online through the postal service. This will ensure that no important information such as a bill or tax statements can leak. What is more, you can ask a friend or a family member to check on your house.
There is always a chance of things going wrong on your travel adventure but don’t let that stop you from having an unforgettable trip. Be as much prepared as possible but embrace sudden changes. Last but not least, remember to enjoy yourself!