Traveling gives people a sense of freedom and a chance to experience something new and possibly even exotic.
It is true that people who love to travel are those that share the best stories and anecdotes, making them the life of any gathering.
Venturing to a new place comes with some risks, so follow these travel safety tips to avoid any scary situations:
Do Your Research
Take the time to get to know everything there is to know about your destination long before you are scheduled to arrive.
Get first-hand details by reading some reviews from fellow travelers.
If possible, try contacting a local to get details about the safest neighborhoods for tourists, where to stay,
and the local crime statistics. Do extra work by checking the State Department’s website for any updates and maybe even enroll in STEP,
the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program.
Know Who to Call
Another highly important travel safety precaution: know who and where to call in case of an emergency.
Always have the contact details of the nearest embassy, consulate, police station,
and other emergency departments in the area where you are going on hand.
Make sure you write this information down on paper in case you should lose your mobile phone or laptop.
Don’t Draw Attention
People who stick out in a crowd and look like they’re from out of town become easy targets for crime.
It is best to blend in with the locals as much as possible.
Choose clothing that does not attract much attention and be very discreet when looking at maps for direction.
And be extra careful when approaching a person for help. As an added precaution,
invest in protective gear that will not make you vulnerable for pickpockets in the area.
Make Copies of Important Documents
Be ready because you never know when you might need to show a copy of your passport, driver’s license, or any or form of identification.
To be safe, scan the documents and save them online and on your phone for easy access.
Also print out several copies of the documents to have on your person at all times.
This makes it easier to find the documents as soon as you need them.
Update Your Friends and Family
Whether you are going on an overnight trip or planning a month-long sabbatical,
it is best to keep friends and family updated on your whereabouts.
Send a copy of your complete itinerary to a few trusted people before you leave so they can keep tabs on where you are at all times.
Check in with your contacts regularly so that they are updated on your location and they know where you’re supposed to be.
Be Wary of Public Wi-Fi
Don’t get distracted by free internet access and don’t use it without precaution.
Public Wi-Fi is a tool that hackers use to steal private and secure information such as your credit card details and
Social Security number. If you really do need wireless internet on your travels,
create a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to allow you secure internet access while traveling.
Safeguard Your Hotel Room or Apartment
Even if the hotel you are staying in has very strict security measures, you can make your room even safer.
Always lock your doors and windows, use the deadbolt if there is one. A door jammer can be placed under the door for added safety.
Try to make it seem like you are in your room, even if you are away.
This can be done by placing the Do Not Disturb sign outside the door and by keeping all the blinds closed.
Never let any stranger inside your room, even if it seems like they are part of the hotel staff.
If you are unsure, call the front desk to confirm if a staff member was ordered to come up to your room.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
Never let your guard down, even if it is just for a second to snap a picture to post on your social media accounts.
Always keep a close eye on your personal belongings and use good judgment when you about to talk to a stranger.
Meeting new people and learning about different cultures, and experiencing unique opportunities is a major part of traveling.
However, if you notice someone near you is acting suspicious or they make you feel uncomfortable, leave immediately.
Following these tips can make traveling a little safer, but no matter how careful you are, something unexpected can happen.
Trust your gut and never be careless, especially when you are in a new and unfamiliar place.