I love traveling domestically and internationally but it does always come with some risks. Here are some tips to help you stay safe.
General safety tips
- Stay in groups when possible.
- Stay in the touristy areas. If you wander out of the touristy areas check with the locals first to make sure it is a safe area.
- Don't carry a lot of cash or valuables. I use a credit card with no international fees and my debit card to pull money from the ATM when needed. ALWAYS notify your bank when you are traveling. You do not want to need money and not be able to get it because you have triggered a fraud alert! This is especially important when traveling internationally.
- Don't wear flashy or expensive jewelry. This can draw the attention of the wrong people.
- Keep valuables in the room locked up. This includes checkbooks if you travel with those. Travel with as little as possible.
- Make a photocopy of your credit cards front and back. This way if they are stolen you have the emergency number and your card number handy.
- Always let someone know where you are. Send them your itinerary and check in frequently. Think about using a tracking service like Life 360.
- Stay aware of your surroundings and act confident as if you are going somewhere with a purpose!
- Always get travel insurance. Some will cover lost/stolen electronics and other items. They will also help you if you have any problems. This is especially helpful if you are out of the country and possibly don't speak the language.
- Always keep your hotel information on you. Every person in your group should have the address.
- Think about slash or cut-proof backpacks and purses.
- Don't share a lot with strangers you meet along the way.
- Keep your eyes on your drinks! Never let anyone hand you a drink if you don't know them. Think about using a drink cover like this, nightcap scrunchie.
- Don't do something unsafe to get a great selfie!
- Choose a hotel in a safe part of town. It's tempting to go cheap but sometimes those areas are unsafe.
- Learn some basic self-defense. This is useful at home too! I took some Krav Maga classes and LOVED them!
- If you use an ATM, be cautious of theft devices.
- Pack a small first aid kit.
- Try to have one person that is staying sober in the group.
- Think about packing a loud whistle and possibly even a travel door stop alarm.
- Keep your cash in several different places and as hidden as possible.
- Use reputable transportation and tour companies. Do not book a trip with the nice guy down on the beach!
- Kee paper and digital copies of your itinerary and tickets when at all possible.
- Use a VPN. You will be connecting to a lot of different wifis and then anything on your computer or phone is open to hacking.
- Pickpockets seem to be more prevalent in some foreign countries. Do not leave anything in a back pocket or any side pockets that are open. Yes, they can things out of there without you ever feeling or noticing until it is too late.
- Avoid common scams. Some destinations have scams that are very common. Do a little research to see if your destination has any that are common.
- Register with the State Departments Safe Traveler Program. https://step.state.gov/step/
- Know the local customs and follow them. In some countries, you need to cover your shoulders and legs to visit certain tourist/religious sites. If you are going to a more modest country, you will stick out as a tourist if you don't know these rules and that could make you a target. You could also be denied entry into some sites.
- Only eat fully cooked foods. As much as I love a salad, in many destinations, I avoid them. Peelable fruit is your best bet.
- Think about a water bottle with a filter. Drinking water is safe in most countries but it is best to be safe. I always take DiaResQ with me.
- At all-inclusive resorts or on cruise ships, think about taking a refillable travel cup with a lid. First, many places are going straw free. Second, no one can slip something into your drink.
- At all-inclusive resorts, know if it is safe to leave the resort. Many all-inclusive resorts have become popular in countries where it isn't safe to wander around and explore on your own.
- Know that beaches in many countries are not private. You will likely have people trying to sell you things on the beach.
- Keep digital copies of all your important documents.
- Use RFID blocking wallets, bags, or sleeves.
- If you are in a tropical location, especially if it's an all-inclusive or a cruise with a drink package, make sure you drink water between the cocktails! And wear sunscreen.
Buy the travel insurance! Not only will they help you if you get injured or sick, but they can also cover lost and stolen electronics, medically evacuate you when necessary, cover lost or delayed bags, help you when you need to go to the hospital if there is a language barrier and often they have a 24-hour emergency travel concierge. I prefer a cancel for any reason policy when possible.