The benefits of traveling include mind-broadening, rest, and, especially if you’re traveling alone, strengthening of your problem-solving skills. But it’s wise to balance these benefits with safety considerations to get the best out of your trip.
Travelers can be at increased risk of scams, theft, and even physical violence. Professional criminals target tourists and foreigners because they are more likely to be disoriented and distracted compared to locals. Tourists may not speak the language and don’t know the bad areas.
Good habits, confidence, and a few tricks up your sleeve can help you stay safe and allow you to have a better time. Here are ten travel safety tips you should know.
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Trust your instincts
If you only take one tip from this post, let it be “trust your instincts.” If someone seems off or you don’t like the environment, leave immediately.
It’s better to avoid an uncomfortable situation than to regret it later. You have the right to say “no” to people you don’t trust. Safety always comes first.
Don’t trust everyone you meet
There will be a lot of people on your way. They can be kind and supportive to you, but you never know what they actually may want from you. It’s especially dangerous to meet new people when traveling: you are far away from home and don’t know much about the area you’re in.
If you’re traveling by car, it’s particularly necessary to know how to protect yourself. Don’t pick up hitchhikers if you’re alone in the car; pepper spray, emergency whistles, and a GPS tracker are one of the most important essentials you should have.
If you meet someone you want to go out with or invite over, make sure you have as much information about the person as possible. Find their social media accounts, check them on Nuwber, or just google their names.
Tell your relatives the necessary information
Before you get to your destination, whether you are staying at a hotel, Airbnb, or with a friend, make sure that your relatives know the following information:
- Where you’re going;
- The names of the people you met;
- Your car’s license plate number;
- The contact information of the people you’re traveling with (if you’re not traveling alone).
Share your travel itinerary with several people, including friends and family. This way, if something goes wrong, someone will always know where you are or at least where you were meant to be. They can use this information to help you.
Travel in daylight
First of all, traveling in daylight means you wouldn’t have to worry about any major safety issues. You’ll not have a flat tire in the middle of the road at night or get robbed. If you get robbed at night, it’ll be harder because there will be no one else around. Even if you’ve familiarised yourself with the place using a map or a Google map with street view, make sure you don’t travel late at night.
Criminals are less likely to target people during the day. If something goes wrong with your travel arrangements, such as a delayed train or bus, some places are still open, so you can sort any issues out. If you get lost walking or driving to your destination, it’s much easier and safer to ask for help in daylight.
Carry important contact details with you
You don’t have to be Jason Bourne to have contingency plans for emergencies. Helpful information to have with you when you travel includes the following:
- A local taxi number;
- The nearest hospital;
- A copy of your passport details;
- A copy of ID details;
- Screenshots or copies of tickets;
- Your social security number;
- A nearby pharmacy;
- The police station.
Hopefully, you won’t need any of these, but you might sleep better if you keep these details in mind.
Pack a portable battery charger
It’s easy to forget some of the information while traveling because your phone can help you get out of trouble in many situations. It saves you with convenient calls, instant payments, money transfers, maps, GPS, compasses, and translation. However, what happens when the battery dies because the flashlight – also a useful function – was on for hours in your bag?
A portable battery charger can keep you going when your phone battery dies. A solar charger might provide even more security if you’re unsure when and where you’ll be able to charge up.
Do you know your best friend’s phone number? People use their contacts so much that there’s no need to know phone numbers by heart anymore. But you don’t know what can happen. What if you lose your phone, the screen breaks, or the battery dies?
Knowing a few important numbers by heart will help you contact friends, family, neighbors, or critical services in many emergencies.
Travel with essential supplies
In case of illness or pain in an unfamiliar place or while on the move, it’s wise to travel with a first aid kit. Don’t forget about hygiene. Include the following:
- Paracetamol, the well-known painkiller;
- Sunscreen, because burning is no fun;
- Re-hydration salts;
- Plasters, which can reduce the risk of infection;
- Wet wipes.
Choose carefully where and what to eat
Enjoy local food but look out for popular places transparent about food preparation. To stay hydrated, buy bottled water and only drink from bottles that have not been tampered with. Keep an eye on your drinks at all times.
If you decide to drink alcohol, it’s better not to get drunk while traveling. Keep your wits about you.
Travel with cash
It’s helpful to have cash on you when traveling. Situations where there is no ATM or you can’t pay for a product or service by card often arise. However, carrying a suitcase full of money is ill-advised.
A couple hundred dollars is probably a good amount of cash to take with you. Consider hiding some in a hidden pocket, shoe, or the hollow part of an object you carry with you, such as a hairbrush.
Some travelers carry fake wallets in case of robberies. You might keep a few small sums in it and/or some old cards.
Travel can be fun, exhilarating, and refreshing. If you follow the above advice, you will come home with inspiring and positive stories about your trip, because if you take safety seriously, nothing bad will happen. A little preparation and research will help you have a safer and less stressful time while traveling.