Watch Out – There Are Some Tricky Spots
Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or a newbie with a serious case of wanderlust, it’s easy to give into the moment and throw caution to the wind. It may feel great at first, but you’ll probably come back down to earth fast when things inevitably go south. It’s better to avoid this altogether and this can be done by just taking a few safety measures into account before plane, train, or car can even depart.
Unwary tourists can make easy targets for thieves because they stand out in a crowd, are unused to their surroundings, and are generally carrying money, credit cards and valuables like cameras. You can reduce your risk of being mugged or robbed by taking a few simple precautions.
RESEARCH … RESEARCH … RESEARCH
No matter whether you’re traveling just a few states away or you’re traveling thousands of miles from home, you should always do thorough research on your destination.
It may seem like overkill but check for information on safe/unsafe areas, local laws, hotel/accommodation reviews, cultural/religious norms, and more. Combined, this all will help you avoid unsafe situations and help you avoid breaking any rules that could get you into any sticky situations.
Even if it seems like a lot, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Have you ever wanted to wear all your most expensive jewelry at once or dreamt of showering random people with piles of cash? Well, you should probably wait until you’re back on familiar ground. Doing either of these things would definitely draw a lot of attention your way, and unfortunately, that might include the attention of scam artists, robbers, and pickpockets. Even subtler stuff can put you at risk like taking lots of pictures or constantly referencing a map, so try to keep a low profile and avoid obvious tourist-y stuff. Basically, blend in wherever possible for safer travels.
While your vacation/travel destination may make you swear you’ll never return home again, you should still check in with your home base often. Yeah, itineraries can be boring and restrictive, but it’s important to give send friends and family a copy.
After all, if you accidentally end up in a Turkish prison, you probably want someone to know. Not going quite that far? Someone should still know your general whereabouts even for relatively quick jaunts.
AVOID PUBLIC WIFI
It seems like a strange (and saddening) tip, but it comes straight from Experian themselves. While everyone loves free Wi-Fi, you should definitely avoid it – especially while traveling. It just makes it too easy for hackers and thieves to steal your info. Not worth the risk, even at that cool coffee shop you found down the street.
What should you do instead? Buying a portable router and setting up your own hotspot is your safest option. If that’s not feasible for some reason, please at least use a VPN when using Wi-Fi. This will at least help secure your connection and reduce the likelihood of hacking.
BRING COPIES OF DOCUMENTS
You don’t need us to tell you that losing important documents when traveling is the opposite of a fun time. Not only is it stressful, but it could also open you up to travel issues, identity theft, money problems, and more depending on what goes missing. Our advice: avoid this at all costs and bring copies of passports, drivers licenses, and any other important stuff you’ve got on hand. That way you won’t just be stranded if anything goes wrong.
LOCK YOUR BELONGINGS
If you’re the type who always keeps your front door locked, you’ll feel right at home with this tip. It may seem super obvious but lock up all of your stuff! Even if you’re in a hotel or other accommodation that feels very safe, it’s never a bad idea to be proactive. Make sure to lock your door both in and out alike and keep all windows closed and locked themselves.
Also, bring a personal lock and put it on any important luggage if possible and ensure you have invested in an anti-theft backpack if you want to carry anything out and about. Yeah, your friends and family might tease you for being so prepared, but it’s worth it for keeping all your important stuff safe and sound on your travels.
You heard all about stranger danger as a kid. It’s time to put it all to practice. When traveling, always be slightly wary of others. That doesn’t mean you should interrogate everyone who glances your way, but you also probably shouldn’t immediately trust everyone who acts friendly either.
Just keep your guard up, instead. Feel free to interact with people and make friends, but don’t overshare. Keep sensitive information to yourself and leave if they feel disingenuous or predatory. Easy enough, right?
BE CAREFUL WITH GERMS
Keeping germs at bay has always been an important travel safety tip, but it’s never been as important or as poignant as right now with the rise of COVID-19, better known as the Coronavirus. With constant increases in infection numbers and a high mortality rate for the elderly, the immunocompromised, and those with other illnesses, it’s your ethical duty to keep yourself and others safe.
According to the CDC, the best ways to do this include washing your hands well and often, avoiding close contact with other people, coughing/sneezing into your elbow, and simply staying home if you’re sick. With all of this, you’ll both lower your risk of getting sick and your risk of getting others sick as well. In other words, everyone wins with just a couple of common sense precautions.
KNOW EMERGENCY RESOURCES
It’s another “duh” point, but we have to say it anyways. Even if you don’t anticipate any issues, emergencies can arise at the drop of a hat. It’s best to know your resources before anything arises. Just do a quick online search and take note of important emergency numbers and spaces.
Know where nearby hospitals are, know how to call for an ambulance, and get contact info for local police. It’s also a great idea to gather the information from your nearest embassy or consulate if you’re traveling out of the country.
LISTEN TO YOUR GUT
If you pay attention to literally nothing else on this list, pay attention to this. One of the best traveling safety tips you’ll ever get is to listen to your instincts. If something feels “off” about a situation or if someone starts making you feel uncomfortable, pay attention and go somewhere that feels safer.
People pass intuition off as unreliable, but it can be a huge help when in unfamiliar places and situations. Our subconscious takes in all the small details we don’t consciously notice. If it takes all of that in and alarm bells are triggered, that probably means something. Even if not, it’s better to listen to it than regret not.
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