10 Tips for Being Safe While Traveling
Travel can be an exciting, eye-opening experience making it easy to get caught up in the thrill of adventure and forget about travel security and safety considerations. So, Damon’s Getaways has gathered some travel safety tips to help you take a trip that’s memorable for all the right reasons.
Write Down Emergency Info and Carry it With You
Anything can happen to your cellphone when traveling and you’ll need a backup sheet for your emergency information. You should also have the numbers of all your ATM and credit cards to notify them should your cards be stolen or compromised. You can also email this list to yourself as well as family and trusted friends, so all you need is Internet access or one phone call to retrieve the information. You can also get this list laminated to fit in your wallet or purse. It is also vital you make copies of important documents, such as passports, driver’s license, etc. That way at least you have a copy to present if needed. Scan these documents to save online and print out several hard copies keeping copies in several different places.
Let Friends and Family Know Your Itinerary
As a precautionary measure, it’s important for your family and friends to know where you will be during your trip, how they can get ahold of you and when you will return. You may also want to schedule periodic check-ins with them, so they know all is well throughout your trip. It’s a good idea to let them know what to do and who to contact if they do not hear from you.
Check with a Professional Travel Agent and The State Department
There are several reasons why a country may not be safe to travel to. Anything from natural disasters to political demonstrations, to disease outbreaks, could warrant travel advisories or bar travel altogether. Travel agents receive alerts and travel advisories from around the world. You can also check with the US Department of State that has a page for every country, where it lists all known difficulties and current threats to the safety of visitors.
Don’t Broadcast Your Travel Plans on Social Media or to Strangers
While you may want to share your travel itinerary to close friends and family, it is unwise to share this on Social Media networks. Remember it can be a roadmap of your movements – just the sort of thing someone with ill-intentions would love to know. The last thing you want is to come home to is your hotel or home being broken into because someone knew you would be gone and for how long. Plus if your traveling and they happen to catch your name and where you are from it’s easy to find you via Social Media and to track your whereabouts at any given time. Using your gut instinct, of course, it is not recommended to share too many details about your travel plans or accommodation details with people you’ve just met. If someone does ask and you are suspicious, rather than be rude, you can be vague about an area of town rather than the name of your hotel.
Lock Up Expensive Stuff
It’s best not to take anything you don’t want to be stolen or lost with you when you travel, but sometimes you must have or will need the items while there. It’s a good idea not to flash large bills, expensive cameras, or jewelry around. And when not in use, you should lock them in the hotel or ships safe. Also, make sure you stow valuables in carryon luggage because checked luggage can get lost and stolen. Carryon luggage with valuables inside should never be stored in overhead bins, but under your seat where you can keep on eye on them.
Hide Emergency Cash
Even when you’ve done everything to prevent it, sometimes purses get stolen or left somewhere or even dropped overboard while taking a boat tour. So, it’s wise to have some emergency backup cash that either you store in the hotel/ship safe or somewhere on your person.
Hiding places include:
* Secret pocket sewn into your pants
* Behind a patch on your backpack
* Rolled into an empty Chapstick or another small container
* Inside a hidden compartment (like this hair-brush or belt pouch)
Tell Your Bank and Creditors Where You’re Going
It’s better to be safe than sorry on this one, and it does happen quite often. You’ll get a notification from the bank’s fraud detection team that irregular activity has been recorded on your card, and they’ve put a hold on all transactions until the situation is resolved which may take days. It’s also recommended to use your debit card at the airport ATM machine as soon as you arrive in a new country, as this also helps let the bank know you’re traveling.
Use ATMs Wisely
We all know to use our hand to cover the keying in the PIN number at an ATM. That’s good advice worth following when your traveling, both for others looking over your shoulder, as well as hidden cameras trying to record your pin. Always inspect an ATM machine before use. If it has any questionable signs of tampering, go into the bank and get cash or go to an ATM that seems safer. Also, if an ATM machine appears to have eaten your card, run a finger along the card slot to see if you feel anything protruding. There is a trick where a thin plastic sleeve captures your card (preventing the machine from reading it) – then as soon as you walk away, a thief yanks it out and runs off with your card.
Stop Using Your Back Pocket
Unfortunately, pickpockets will be everywhere when you travel. The first place any pickpocket will check is your back pocket. Your front pockets are a lot harder to steal from without being noticed. If you’re worried or plan to travel to a city where pickpockets run rampant, you can wear a money belt.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
You should ask the hotel or shipboard personnel where it is safe to walk as a tourist. Also, ask if there’s any place that you should avoid. Being aware also means not over-imbibing in alcoholic beverages when you are in a foreign country which can make you an easy target for criminals. Also, do not leave your drinks unattended as someone could slip something into your drink and rob you after you exit the establishment. It’s also wise to take a taxi if you have drunk too much back to your hotel or ship. A taxi is much safer than wandering the streets of a city you don’t know and possibly getting mugged because you aren’t aware of your surroundings.
We hope you enjoyed these tips and if you have any questions on safety traveling to any part of the world, please give us a call at Damon’s Getaways. We are here to help make your vacation dreams come true!