1. Spend Money to Travel Safe
Are you arriving late at night in a new country? You might be trying to travel on a budget, but nothing is more valuable than your travel safety. Spend money on a taxi, or stay in an airport hotel to travel safely.
Travel Safety Tip: Traveling to a country that is known for being a little unsafe? It’s well worth spending the money on joining an organized tour group. Not only will they plan everything for you, but it’s also much safer, and the tour guides have valuable inside knowledge.
2. Travel with Your Money Safely
Keep your money close to you – that’s the number one travel safety tip. An easy way to protect your money from pickpockets is to wear a fanny pack or a money wallet.
If you are wearing a backpack, try wearing it on your chest in crowded places. It might look silly, but it’s hard to feel someone going into your bag in busy markets or the metro. (See Anti-Theft Pacsafe Bags)
Whatever you choose to carry your money in, make sure never to carry too much. Additionally, store some cash in a secret place in case your wallet gets stolen. (like having a second wallet)
3. Dress smart for your travel safety
Think of the classic tourist, someone walking around with their head in a map or phone and a camera around their neck. Standing out like this can make you a target for thieves and scams. However, there are a few top tips to keep help you travel safe:
- Know where you’re going beforehand so you don’t have to get your map out. The same goes for travel in between your transport to your destination. If you arrive off the train and don’t know where you’re going, it’ll be immediately obvious.
- Walk with confidence. This makes you look like a local or at least someone who knows the area.
- Dress appropriately. Some countries are religious or more conservative. In these places, you don’t want to cause offense by dressing totally differently from everyone around you. Dress more conservatively, so you don’t draw attention to yourself, and as a sign of respect.
- Don’t wear jewelry. Wearing expensive-looking jewelry is a sure-fire way to attract thieves and show you have money. Consider leaving expensive or sentimental jewelry at home before you travel.
Travel Safety Tip: Alert your bank or telephone provider if your phone or credit cards are stolen to prevent receiving a huge bill.
4. Buy Travel Insurance
One of the most important parts of travel safe is getting travel insurance! This protects you against all unforeseen costs, whether it’s a hospital visit, stolen belongings, or a missed flight. It’s very unlikely you’ll have to use it, but it’s an important part of safe travel. During our 5 years of traveling, we did had to use it multiple times for hospital visits and it’s good to mention that due to your travel insurance you can go to an international hospital instead of the local one where the care is often much better.
5. Careful Where You Eat
In countries where water is untreated and sanitation levels are not great it’s possible to get sick from the water or food. It isn’t very pleasant and it can usually leave you missing out on your travel plans for a few days. However, trying local cuisine can be one of the best parts of traveling so be cautious but don’t avoid eating local foods completely!
To avoid it:
- Read reviews of restaurants before visiting. The likelihood is it’ll have a reputation if it’s known for food poisoning.
- Eat at popular places. Is there a line? Good!
- Make sure your water is clean. A water purifier is a great way to purify your water and avoid single-use plastic. Read more about traveling plastic-free.
- Avoid ice and salads. Both are usually washed or made with tap water.
- Eat peel-able fruit. Avoid bacteria by only eating fruit that you have to peel yourself.
6. Travel Safe by Researching Local Scams
Sadly, every place has its own scam. It can be anything from a taxi driver overcharging you to someone asking for cash after giving you directions. Wherever you’re going, do your research about local scams beforehand. What’s more, when you arrive at your accommodation, ask the staff to give you some tips.
Travel Safety Tip: Trust people, but be cautious in trusting strangers in new places too fast.
7. Know the Areas to Avoid for your Travel Safety
One of the most fun parts of planning a trip is doing the research! Whilst you’re doing this, check your government travel advice, and they will explain what to look out for. For example, malaria warnings, natural disasters, or safety advice for certain cities or regions. Your local government’s page will also be regularly updated if anything changes.
Good to know: Government advice is there to warn you of the worst-case scenario. You’ll most likely have an amazing trip, so don’t let it scare you.
Free Travel Safety tips
Browse Facebook pages and traveler forums to find out information about the particular area you’re visiting. Other travelers have invaluable insight into the things to look out for. Additionally, ask the staff at your accommodation which neighborhoods to avoid.
8. Careful at ATMs
ATMs are a prime target for thieves. Always examine the ATM, try to move parts of the card reader to see if it’s been tampered with, and finally check no one is watching you. If you feel uneasy, move on to the next ATM.
Because of ATM fees, it’s often tempting to take out cash in large amounts. However, avoid doing this by taking out small amounts and using a travel cash card that waves the fees. This way, if it gets stolen, it won’t be such a big deal.
Budget tip: Avoid ATM fees by using a Wise Travel Money Card. (Formerly Transferwise)
9. Never Leave Your Items Unattended
Whether it’s the hold of a plane, train, or bus, keep your valuables close to you at all times. Pack all your valuables into one small bag so you can put this between your legs. A quick tip: you could use it as a pillow on long trips. Win-win!
Lock your bags for the best travel safety
Padlocking your bags is also a great deterrent for thieves. However, make sure the material cant be slashed or easily ripped. There are loads of great backpacks on the market made of anti-theft material like these Pacsafe Bags!
Tip: Padlocks are also great to use for your locker at your accommodation.
10. Know Emergency Information
An emergency situation always strikes at the worst moment. Therefore it’s always a good idea to write down your insurance details and the local emergency number. It is good to know that in every country there is a different emergency telephone number.
Remember to write it down on both your phone and on a piece of paper inserted in a plastic cover to protect it from any moisture. This way if you lose your phone you still have quick access to them.
Additionally, have copies and scans of all important documents, in case your bag gets stolen.
Here are: The Best Travel Insurances
11. Share Your Route With Your Family and Friends
One easy way to travel safely is to keep your family or friends updated with your route. This is particularly important if you’re going somewhere without wifi or phone signal so that they don’t get worried.
An extra option would be to turn on your ‘Find My Phone’ feature. This way they can track where you are, or you can find your phone when it is lost or stolen.
12. Don’t Just Tell Others Where You’re Staying
One of the most fun parts of traveling is meeting new people. It’s always a good idea to be friendly, but don’t share where you’re staying until you know you can trust someone. It can be awkward if someone directly asks you, but it’s for your own travel safety!
The same goes when booking taxis. One well-known scam is where a taxi collects you from your accommodation and later returns to steal your belongings. Instead, tell the taxi to pick you up from a busy, well-lit location close to where you’re staying. Additionally, if you’ve pre-booked a taxi, wait for them to clarify your name so you know this is definitely your taxi and not a scam. Also, by using a taxi application like Uber or Grab you will see trustworthy reviews of the driver.
13. Avoid Unnecessary Danger
It’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of travel, adopting an adventurous attitude that can lead you to take unnecessary risks. For example, leaving the path to get to a secret spot or riding on a motorbike with no helmet. Personally, we take risks to get a photo at a cliff, but we’re always careful and wouldn’t do it if it were too sketchy.
14. Travel Safety: Being able to save yourself and others
Before you leave, consider taking a first-aid course, or a language course to teach you how to ask for help. Especially for women traveling alone, a self-defense class can be invaluable. Hopefully, you’ll never have to use what you’ve learned but it can give you the confidence to travel solo and safely.
15. Travel Safe in a Group
Traveling solo is wonderful; however, traveling in a group means that you have extra pairs of eyes and ears to stay safe while traveling. Whether you meet people in your hostel or travel via an organized tour, it’s a great way to make friends and look after each other.
However, even if you are traveling solo, travel safety always comes down to trusting your instinct, relax and enjoy the journey. Just remember that what seems unsafe normally is.
16. Register With Your Embassy
By registering with your embassy, they’ll keep you up to date on warnings and advice, helping you to travel safely. This means that if a natural disaster occurs or a pandemic, they can help to return you home.
Good to know: Having your embassy within easy contact is also great if you lose or damage your passport, as they can sort this quickly.
17. Be Aware of Your Drink
Sure, party and have a good time but always do so responsibly, especially in a place you don’t know. Drinking too much alcohol can slow your reactions, lower your inhibitions, and make you less aware of potential danger.
Sadly, there are reports of people having ‘date rape’ drugs slipped into their drink while partying. To prevent this, never leave your drink unattended, keep your hand over your drink, or purchase a drink cover.
Remember: Drinks can be much stronger in different countries. As a result, you might be able to drink 4 beers at home, but it doesn’t mean you’ll be able to abroad. Add to that altitude or heatstroke, and your tolerance to alcohol can be really affected.
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