I’ve been to several places over the years, but there still are many which I need to visit. I certainly am not the luckiest person, but thankfully I’m luckier than many. In all my years of travel, I have stumbled upon many hurdles but each one has returned valuable lessons that have made me all the wiser!
I have missed flights, got scammed, lost bags, got injured, got caught in a mini riot, and the most problematic one was when one of my bags was broken by customs for some checking. They needed to get into my locked bag so they broke the locks and it was never the same again!
Anyhow, there are some simple things to consider which can save you from many hassles while traveling. Ever wondered what is the first thing you should do? What to do when something goes wrong or not as planned? For these and many similar questions, here are my suggestions that can make your traveling experience a lot better and much safer!
Do Your Research!
Plan your visit properly, so that you can avoid deserted, isolated or poor places to visit. Sites like TripAdvisor, Hostelz, and Oyster often have reviews of both the actual hotel and the neighborhood it’s located in, so you can see which areas are safe and interesting to you. Make a list of the different services, like hospitals and police that are available in the country you are visiting.
Also do some research on the country’s customs and traditions before going there and pack accordingly. Something that’s normal for you could be offensive to locals, for example revealing clothes can offend people in certain countries, so keep up with what’s normal over there.
Are You Relocating or Traveling?
Packing light is a wise move in terms of safety. You are just asking to get robbed if you are wheeling four large bags along the side of a street. You’ll also be more mobile with a smaller bag in case you need to move quickly.
While traveling, keep your bags in your lap or at the front of your feet under the table, with the straps wrapped around your leg. Also, don’t leave your important papers and valuables in the hotel’s safe. Hotel safes can be accessed by almost anyone working in the hotel as they have a bypass code. Keep your important papers in the bag which has a special lock that only you can access
Be Properly Insured
Many people are of the opinion that they do not need travel insurance, and nothing could be further from the truth. Your health insurance might offer you some international coverage, but it might not cover illnesses or injuries when you are abroad. So get reliable travel insurance like Worldnomads, it might just save your life! And if you do get an injury during your adventures, even if it is a bug bite, get it checked out. Neglecting to care for even the most minimal of wounds could lead to serious health issues. Just to be safe, get a physical before your trip to ensure that you are healthy enough to travel and also make an effort to understand the health concerns of the country you are planning to visit.
Make Electronic Copies of Your Documents
Create an electronic backup of your immunization record, itinerary, medical insurance card, passport, plane tickets, travel insurance, and visas before you leave. Email the file to yourself or put it in your dropbox so you can access the information from anywhere if your paperwork gets lost or damaged.
In addition to the documents, keep a backup cash stash. Keep at least USD $50 hidden in a secret spot. In a separate spot, keep a backup credit card. If your purse/wallet gets stolen, this will provide you with a temporary financial cushion. Also, before your trip, inform your credit card company where you are going and for how long otherwise they will freeze your account. It might be tempting to keep your cash, credit cards, identification, and traveler’s checks in your wallet, but don’t do it!
Stay In Touch
Make sure you let your family and friends know about your itinerary and provide them with the name and contact of the places where you will be staying. Schedule a regular check-in with someone back home. You can do this through Skype or WhatsApp or many other similar apps. It’s a good safety precaution and will also serve as an excuse to gush about your experiences.
Hailing a Cab
Choose safe means of transportation and be wary of unofficial taxis. With the rise of great services like AirBnb, Uber and Lyft sweeping through the travel landscape, this has become easier. You could also ask hotel staff to get you a good cab. Remember to keep an eye on your navigation app, just in case, to see if you are going to the right place. Better safe than sorry!
Robbers around every corner
In most places, the majority of people are good folks, but every now and then you get to see some bad eggs in the bunch, the foulest being scammers and pickpockets.
For pickpockets, you need to stay alert all the time. Innocent-looking people shove a sign or paper in your face to deflect your attention and get in your pockets. Scammers have mastered the art of befriending travelers, getting them to leave their valuables unattended, and robbing them before taking off.
You need to find out the typical travel scams played in the area and avoid any situations where you could be played like a fool. Don’t be vulnerable. If anyone suddenly approaches you, be mindful. Keep valuables secure on your body at all times! Also, carry a safety mechanism like mace that you feel comfortable with to protect yourself. If you become a victim of a mugging, do not fight the perpetrator. Hand over your stuff. Your belongings are not worth your life. Once you’re out of danger, proceed to the nearest appropriate authority to report the incident.
Moving Around the City…the Right Way
Even if you feel comfortable in the new city, NEVER go looking for a shortcut just to lessen your travel time. Download a travel guide, like the app mTrip, to keep you on the straight and narrow. You can also befriend hotel/hostel employees who can guide you about the area and also tell you where NOT to go. In addition, if you are using your phone to navigate through the city DON’T stare down at your phone, use an ear bud and listen to the voice that will guide you! While walking, if you feel you are being followed or if you feel threatened, go to a safe place where there are other people (e.g. a cafe) or, if needed, contact the police.
Hackers Behind Every Corner
Be wary of all free Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections. With a few basic hacking skills, just about anyone can monitor your activity on a public network. Better yet, if you can’t be sure you’re using the right open Wi-Fi network, use a VPN like PureVPN whenever possible. A Virtual Private Network (VPN) will allow you to mask your IP and encrypt data sent over the connection.
Limit your Gadgets
In the case of electronics less is more. You don’t need your expensive camera on every excursion. Your phone can take awesome quality photos and send emails if need be. Lugging around bulky electronics not only slows you down but also makes you an obvious target for those looking to snatch them up.
I sincerely hope that this list of travel safety tips doesn’t discourage you from traveling abroad. Traveling around the globe is one of the most rewarding experiences anyone can have, and it doesn’t have to be dangerous. If you consider the above mentioned tips, you’re sure to have an unforgettable and fantastic time on your vacation which is hassle-free and safe!
All photos are pixabay public domain
Guest Author Bio
Taimoor is an online security advocate who has been working in this industry for more than 2 years. He keeps himself updated with all the latest trends in the industry. When he’s not at work, you can find him following his traveling obsession with his trusty backpack by his side.
Follow him on: Twitter
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