If you’re a fan of horror or suspense movies, you’ve undoubtedly watched many a film that showcases a family or individual taking a nice vacation only to be met with a horrific outcome. Thankfully, for the majority of us who love a good trip abroad or even a long road trip across the country, bad things seldom ever happen, and we most certainly don’t need to fear coming across a mutant killer family or a bloodthirsty hitchhiker as we make our way through the countryside. What we do need to be concerned about while traveling is usually much tamer yet can be an annoyance, and even dangerous for our health, both mentally and physically as well as our bank accounts. When you want to stay safer while traveling, be sure to keep these things in mind before you ever leave your home to hit the open road ahead of you.
- Don’t Announce Everything
This simply means, don’t let the world know where you’re heading when you take off for your vacation. You might have 4500 friends on Facebook and thousands of followers on Twitter, but do you really want each and every one of them to know your every move? Thieves watch and wait for the perfect opportunity to head over to any given person’s home, walk in unannounced and take off with every single item of value inside. When the world knows you’re taking off for a two-week safari in Africa and won’t be sitting in your recliner watching tv back in New York City, you’ve just opened your home, and your valuables up to any thief who feels like traveling to your house to see what you have inside.
- Make Copies
No matter how near, or far you plan to travel, you’re going to need your important legal documents including your Driver’s License and possibly a passport or visa. Before you leave your home base, take a few minutes to make a few copies of everything so you will have them available fast if you lose the original during your trip.
- First Aid
One of the last things that most travelers think about taking along on a trip is a first aid kit. Hey! Accidents happen, and you never know when you’re going to need supplies while on the road, in the back country or even while laying around on the beach. Pack some waterproof bandages, some quality nitrile gloves, an ace bandage, a cold/hot pack, alcohol prep pads, antibiotic ointment and even an emergency cell phone inside a small kit to take along with you when you’re out and about.
- Use Locks
Everything needs to have a lock! Be sure to lock your luggage to prevent thieves from snapping it open quickly and grabbing what they can. You also need to make sure you use locks on the hotel doors and if possible, use the room safe (If available) to keep your valuables in while you are out to dinner or exploring the area.
- State Department
If you are from the U.S. and planning to travel abroad, be sure to check with the State Department by visiting their website to find safety warnings or travel warnings for the country you are going to travel. This is also a great way to find out of there has been an emergency or what the weather is going to be like while you are there.
- Tell Someone About It!
Before you leave, check in with a trusted friend or two as well as a family member to let them know your itinerary and other travel plans. If something were to happen, it’s a good idea to have those who care the most know where you were heading, the route you planned to take and other pertinent information, so they can alert the authorities to the necessary information.
- Write Down Numbers
We all use our cell phones so much these days that when asked to give someone our own phone number, in many cases, we need to check our phones to see what the number is! Go through your phone before the trip and write down all of your emergency contact numbers, and even other important numbers just in case you need them. Stash them in a safe place for the trip so you will have them if you lose or destroy your cell phone during your travels.
- Be Aware of Your Surroundings
No matter where you are traveling, be aware of your surroundings at all times! Pickpockets often look for distracted travelers and those who are not paying attention to the world around them. It’s also easy to fall over a cliff (really, it is) or even trip over a log during a hike in the woods. Staying alert and keeping your eyes open is important.
- Dress Like a Local
Stop dressing in t-shirts that have the name of the city you’re visiting or wearing flip flops, carrying a camera around your neck or, (cringing here) a fanny pack to stash your cash and I.D. when you travel. When you dress like a tourist, you are going to attract the attention of every local pickpocket, scammer, thief, carjacker and other unsavory person in the vicinity. Look natural and be assertive in your movements to make others view you as someone who has lived there for years.
- Insure Yourself
Travel insurance is such an important thing to have when you travel abroad. Speak to your insurance agent to see what they offer or go to a new company for a great rate on a travel insurance plan that will help protect you if you have a medical emergency and need help. There are many valid stories of travelers who have been injured or experienced health scares while away from home only to find they cannot get medical help without tens of thousands of dollars or that the local medical facilities are not equipped to treat them.
Staying safe while you travel is simple to do if you plan, follow a few safety tips and most importantly, use common sense to help along the way. Most importantly, have safe travels and enjoy your next trip.