Whether you are at home, traveling domestically or abroad, safety should always be a priority. While it is likely, in most cities or countries you travel to, that you are just as safe as you would be at home, there is a certain vulnerability that you feel when you travel, especially when you are traveling to a place that you aren’t familiar with. Exercising vigilance is key, along with understanding the unique issues of the place you are visiting. Here are some travel safety tips to employ on all of your travels.
Be mindful of the information you include on your luggage tag
This may be counterintuitive. When you are checking a bag, everyone puts a luggage tag on their bag to identify ownership. But how much information do you put on your luggage tag? Call me paranoid, but when I am checking my bag, I only put my name and phone number on the bag. Or perhaps my name and email address. Because why would I put my home address on there, when it is clear that I am leaving my home (because I’m traveling). That just seems like setting myself up for some enterprising criminal to rob me while I’m gone. No thank you.
Don’t pair your phone with your rental car
When you are traveling its tempting to pair your phone with the GPS in the rental car. I try to avoid that, because who knows how often those rental car places really wipe clean the car systems. And I am not tech savvy so I don’t know how much information those things store. So I try to avoid that all together.
Make a copy of your passport
And keep that copy separate from your passport when traveling abroad. I also email a copy to family members just in case. Much of the time I leave my passport in the room, but if I am somewhere where I need to have my passport on me, or I am in transit to another destination, I always keep a backup copy in a different spot. That way, if something happens, you at least have the picture to verify who you are when you report to the embassy.
Write down the address, and take a picture of the front of your hotel
If you are traveling somewhere you are not familiar, particularly a foreign country where you don’t speak the language, it is often helpful to write down the address of the hotel. Because who knows if your data will be working overseas. Also, once you get to your hotel, take a picture of the front, and get a business card for the hotel so that you can show a cab driver where to go in the event that the language barrier is real. This is important from a safety standpoint, because the last thing you want is to be taken to the wrong place and stranded.
Contact the embassy or State Department
I have already done a piece about registering with STEP, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, to let the State Department know where you are. This will also alert embassies, but in some places with civil unrest, you may want to contact the local embassy directly beforehand. And, of course, if an issue arises, call the Embassy ASAP so they can assist you.
Separate your money
Never keep all of your money in one spot. Especially if you are carrying different currencies, leave some in the safe (if it is secure), because you don’t want to be carrying all of your money all of the time. And if you are in transit, split your money up between a few spots. But never, NEVER, hide any money in your checked baggage before checking it with the airline. If you do, you may as well kiss it goodbye.
Bonus Tip: Thing about using a travel-safe, under-clothes, travel wallet or travel bag that can not only protect your valuables but also have built in protection to protect from scanner issues. In Europe, I used a cross-body, travel bag by this brand that has locks on it, and the strap is unable to be cut.
Lose the valuables
Or you may lose your valuables. You don’t wear every bit of jewelry you own in everyday life, so why do you need it on vacation. In fact, you probably need less, if very little on vacation. In certain places (like the beaches of Rio, for example) we were told not to wear any jewelry at night on the beach. We did them one better and didn’t really wear any the whole time. I know many women who leave their engagement rings home and just travel with their wedding bands. And if you have your fancy phones or other electronics, try to keep them out of site as much as possible so you aren’t pegged as a tourist. Sometimes you can’t help it; when I travel I am shooting so I obviously need my pro camera, which is a target. But I am also not also throwing on expensive jewelry to sweeten the pot. That’s just not smart.
What are some of the travel safety tips you have picked up along with way? Sound off.
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