If you’re not a seasoned traveler, you maye fall into traps and pitfalls that can lead to dangerous circumstances when abroad. For peace of mind and maximum safety, make sure you use this checklist before you go.
Familiarize With Local Laws and Customs
Every country has different laws and standards that should be respected and abided by. It’s important to do some research before visiting, so that you aren’t breaking any rules without knowing. Some countries will require you to adhere to a certain dress code, while others may have curfews or photography restrictions. Even criticizing the government is prohibited in many countries.
Keep Your Passport Safe
To avoid passport theft, carry it with you in front pockets, not side pockets. You could even sew a hidden patch inside your jacket for extra security. If a hotel wants to keep hold of your passport (which many do), always ask for a receipt in case it is misplaced. A top tip is to scan your passport before you travel just in case of emergencies. The same goes for all your light information.
Blend in With the Crowd
Tourists can have a way of sticking out like a sore thumb. Some of them may as well have a sign above their heads saying “Rob me!”. The key is to try and blend in and act inconspicuously. Walking around in circles with a lost look on your face doesn’t help. You have to develop street smarts to remain off the radar. If a local comes up to you trying to show you a trick or asking for money, don’t get distracted – just keep walking. To avoid sticking out from the crowd, give the bumbags and sandals and socks look a miss. The same goes for wearing a camera around your neck.
Don’t Get in Unauthorized Taxis
Once you get in an unauthorized taxi, your safety is in the hands of the driver. Prevent kidnaps and thefts by using a verified local taxi service with licensed drivers who are abiding by the law. Make sure you have the address of your hotel or hostel written down, if you don’t speak the local language. If you can manage to take a quick snapshot of your cab’s license plate, do it just as a precaution.
Keep Your Valuables Secure
When you’re moving from place to place and staying in crowded accommodation like hostels, it’s important to have eyes at the back of your head. Money belts are great for ensuring the security of your valuables and can be easily concealed under jumpers and shirts. Keep your bag on your lap when sitting down, or where your backpack in front of you. Never put it on the seat next to you. Have a decoy wallet or phone to trick harassers and beggars if you suspect danger, and never take expensive valuables while traveling.
Be Smart With Your Money
Before heading off on your travels, save money by researching travel reward schemes and loyalty programs. When abroad, prepaid cards are a good idea if you want to avoid overspending but want the security of a regular credit card. Before you leave home let your bank know that you’ll be traveling, as they might be able to monitor your spending activity and detect any suspect transactions. One you’ve reached your destination, never make the mistake of keeping your money all in one place. If an accident happens, you’re money’s all gone and you’re left helpless in a foreign land. Leave some at your accommodation in a safe.
Seriously Consider Travel Insurance
Taking out travel insurance is an extremely wise idea. With this extra backup, you’ll be covered for unexpected costs like medical emergencies and lost baggage. You’ll also be covered against trip cancellations and disruptions. Make sure you’re getting the right package to suit your needs. If you’re traveling for a significant amount of time, you should definitely prioritize health insurance. Taking out insurance for your valuables is also wise.
It’s always a good idea to make friends and have someone who you can guide you and let you know about events happening near you. Try to join a friendly group of fellow tourists and listen to their tips and advice so you can get a good sense of your surroundings. Aks locals about their favorite spots and what places are safe to travel to.
Your health is the most important thing, and when you’re traveling, you don’t want to find yourself in vulnerable situations. It’s important to get your course of vaccinations before you go way. Of course this depends on where you’re traveling and if you’ll be at risk of certain diseases. Get a checkup with your GP in advance and remember to pack your medication in a pill organizer box. Research the areas you’ll be traveling to and get to know their medical laws. Take note of the local emergency services and their numbers in case of an accident.
Protect Your Data and Documents
With modern technology, we’re lucky we have so many data backup options for maximum security. Protect your mobile’s data with cloud services and save all your photos to Dropbox. It’s also wise to take advantage of services like Evernote and Google Plus back up every time you connect to wifi. Make electronic copies of your travel documents and any other documents you want to protect. Make sure your cell phone plan has free roaming enabled.
Don’t Take Shortcuts
Even if you feel like you’re beginning to know a place, it’s never a good idea to take shortcuts. One wrong turn and you could find yourself facing disaster, so it’s better to be safe than sorry in these situations. Keep to the main roads and try to avoid traveling alone at night if you can help it. Mobile travel apps like Mtrip are great for getting around safely.