If you’re traveling solo or with a partner safety should be a concern. Taking a few steps to enhance how you’re seen by others can help you to stay safe while traveling.
My father would be proud of this post because he is always very worried for me when I travel. If you take these precautions your adventures will be all that much more secure and feeling more secure means that you can enjoy your trip so much more. We all want to go home with stories that make our friends and family jealous and nobody needs to have a story about being taken advantage of as a tourist.
If you like this, check out our other travel tips
1. Email your itinerary
Once you have your travel plans set and you’re about to take your flight, send your travel plans to yourself, your family, and close friends. There is multiple value here. The details you include in the email should be where you expect to be each day along with where you are staying. By emailing it, it means that if you’ve lost your itinerary or your phone broke you can still get access to it. In the worst-case scenario, if you were to disappear your family would have your itinerary and be able to start their research on where you disappeared. Too dark? No, this is something we need to think about.
2. Check in with people at home
Cell phone access means that you have the greatest ability to get in contact with people at home during your trip. Granted, while you are away you likely want to focus on having fun and ignoring sharing your experience. However, sending a quick note a day to a family member and a friend will help them know that you’re ok.
3. Get to your next destination in the daylight
Whether you’re arriving by train, car, or plane arriving during the day is safer than arriving in the dark. This is not always an option but if you can arrive while the sun is still shining. There is a reason why most horror films take place in the dark, it’s because that is when most crimes occur. In fact, most homicides occur from midnight to 3 am. This should not scare you away from arriving in the dark, just be more prepared to get to a safe place when you arrive.
4. Read travel advisories about the country
Before you go, get familiar with your government’s travel advisories. My experience if that reading these advisories is like talking to a worried wart about going on vacation. However, it is useful to have this information in your mind as you are traveling. Have there been kidnappings of tourists where you’re going? Perhaps there is an area where this occurs most often that you should avoid or a situational pattern that you can recognize before you get out of there.
5. Ask the staff about places or streets to avoid
Whether you are at the information booth in the airport or you are at a hotel – whether or not you’re staying there, ask the staff members for advice on what areas to avoid and what streets are safest to walk on in the area. These staff members often have maps that they can mark up for you that will help keep you even safer.
6. Keep your valuables safe
If you travel with something valuable, then keep it safe. Whether you keep it in your front pockets and definitely not your back pockets, or you keep it in your rooms safe, you want to avoid putting them at risk, In leu of having a safe in your room, I can recommend locking your valuables in your bag while you are out exploring for the day. In fact, a locked suitcase in your room is likely to be less appealing to a thief than the room safe.
7. Take the business card of your accommodation
Wherever you find yourself on your trip, having the business card of where you’re staying is clutch. For starters, it helps you to remember the name of where you are staying. The card will be in the local language and you can hand it to a cab driver. There will be no confusion over which hotel or street that the cab needs to bring you to. Add that confidence to your vacation to stay safe while traveling, just by carrying the business card in your pocket.
8. Walk with confidence
Nothing screams that you are a tourist than slowly meandering and looking around for road signs. If you want like you know where you’re going for starters you are less likely to be stopped by people. Walk like you’re walking to work in NYC, with purpose. It helps to disguise that you may not know where you are going.
9. Look at maps while leaning against a wall
You really want to be a target? Go to a street corner and stand by the curb looking around and holding a giant map in your hands. This is equally as bad if you’re staring at a map on your phone. In those moments when we aren’t sure where we are, you need to act cool. Lean against a building or relax on a bench and do your research. It makes you less of a target and helps you to stay safe while traveling.
10. Know the transit system before you arrive
If you are planning on taking subways, trolleys or whatever public transportation is offered by the country that you are going to. Get information on it beforehand. The maps can be downloaded and printed before you go on vacation, so have it handy and understand how it works, how you’ll get tickets and what stops you will want to get off at.
11. Feeling anxious? Get out
There is something to be said about that odd feeling that we get. When something feels…. off. When you get this feeling on vacation, go with it. If something is telling you you’re in a bad situation or a bad place, get out of there. I particularly recall one incident that I experienced in Prague. I was walking with a new friend and suddenly I got that feeling. I saw some people loitering across the street whistling at two people about half a block away from us and in front of us. Luckily a cab was passing by and we hailed it and got out of there. If we didn’t would we have been robbed? Maybe. Maybe not. But trust your gut. After all, it’s up to you to stay safe while traveling.
12. Don’t flash cash
That’s right, if you’re traveling around town don’t wear expensive jewelry. Don’t take out your big wad of cash to pay someone 10 bucks. Only carry small amounts of money and not your entire vacation cash stack.
So there it is. 12 tips to stay safe while you are traveling in foreign countries. Do you have another tip? Add it as a comment!