8 Essential Travel Safety Tips
Exploring the World Safely and Responsibly
There is an abundance of benefits to going abroad, from exploring new places, cultures and foods to making some lasting memories. When traveling, you’re full of excitement and adrenaline and it’s often easy to turn a blind eye or be unaware of what’s happening around you. That’s why travel safety is so important. You don’t want to have a bad mark left on your expensive trip because safety wasn’t a top priority.
When planning and then when exploring the world, there are safety and security tips to keep in mind. Whether you are a seasoned globetrotter or a first-time traveler, it is crucial to take the necessary precautions to ensure a safe and enjoyable journey.
Travel Safety Tips Everyone Should Know
Tip 1: Keep your Travel Plans to Yourself
It’s easy to make friends while traveling, but on the safe side, don’t delve too deeply into your travel plans with the people you’re talking to. If you’re a solo traveler, this is one of the essential safety tips for traveling alone. Always trust your gut and play it by ear. Make sure you also email your itinerary to friends and family and check in from time to time. Posting on social media can help, as when people notice you’re not posting as often as you have been, they can get in contact with you, and if there’s no response, they can contact the proper authorities.
Tip 2: Research and Keep Away from more Dangerous Areas of Cities
Exercise caution and avoid high-crime or unsafe areas in your destination. If you’re unsure about a particular neighborhood, get advice from locals or your accommodation staff. This also means not traveling at night, if possible, as nighttime is when dangers increase, no matter what city you’re in, so it’s one of the easiest ways to protect yourself.
Tip 3: Carry With You the Contact Details of the US Embassy
Before arriving at your destination, familiarize yourself with local emergency numbers and how to seek help in case of an emergency. At the same time, make sure you keep a photocopy of your passport and other important items in a safe place. Write down all your emergency info on your phone, as when you’re stressed and panicking during an emergency, you’re not always thinking straight. Maybe even write it on a piece of paper and put it in your purse/wallet. This is one of the great safety tips for solo female travelers.
Tip 4: Try to Blend with Locals and Avoid Looking or Acting Like a Tourist
Looking like you’re a tourist is one of the dangers of traveling alone as well as when in a larger group. While exploring new places, try to blend in with the locals as much as possible. Match their dress style and avoid wearing clothing that makes you stand out as a tourist, like an ‘I Love Rome’ t-shirt. Learning a few phrases in the local language can also be helpful. Even if you don’t know where you’re going, walk like you have a purpose. Also, be discreet when map reading and notice the people around you. Google Maps is a great way to get your bearings without drawing attention.
Tip 5: Check the U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory Page for the Location
This advisory page contains each country in the world, listing all known difficulties and threats to visitors. Keep in mind that these are often hyper-cautious as they tell you everything that could go wrong, some of which might not be likely. Before embarking on any trip, thoroughly research your destination. Learn about the local customs, laws and potential safety risks that could occur. Stay informed about current events, weather conditions and any travel precautions and advisories issued by your government. Depending on your destination, there might be a risk of natural disasters, so familiarize yourself with evacuation procedures and emergency shelters. Also, download safety apps like Sitata and Smart Traveler for up-to-date travel alerts.
Tip 6: Learn About Common Travel Scams
While traveling for the most part is safe for travelers, it’s always good to understand some of the most common travel scams where you’re heading. Some common scams include taxi drivers telling you their meter is broken, then charging ridiculous prices; someone randomly polishing your shoes, then charging crazy prices; a cab driver telling you your hotel is closed or overbooked, so they take you to a more expensive one where they get a commission; placing a ‘free’ bracelet on your wrist, then demand you pay for it. There are plenty more, so make sure you do your research so you’re as prepared as can be.
Tip 7: Get Travel Insurance
This is one of the most important safety tips, even though it’s something we rarely use when we need it, we’re glad we have it. If you’re really worried about the safety of both you and your gear, get comprehensive travel insurance. If items get stolen, they can get replaced. Make sure you photograph everything you’re taking with you so you can make the process as seamless as possible. Travelers’ insurance can also cover rescheduled flights and lost baggage, so it’s well worth it.
Tip 8: Don’t do Stupid Things for Photos
With social media now a major aspect of travel for many, tourists are engaging in risky activities to post the photo online, oftentimes, with horrifying repercussions. Recently, tourists taking selfies with Dingoes, a native Australian wild dog, on K’gari (Fraser Island) have been blamed for a string of attacks. You also constantly hear about people falling off cliffs and standing too close to the edge. Make sure to pay attention to signs and warnings and keep your distance from wildlife while traveling. Your life isn’t worth a like on Instagram.
By following these vacation safety tips and staying vigilant, you can enjoy a memorable and secure journey. Remember, preparation and awareness are key to ensuring a smooth travel experience. So, pack your bags, embrace the adventure, and make unforgettable memories while keeping safety a top priority.