How to Stay Safe During Your Trip: Essential Tips
Posted On August 19th, 2022
If you’re planning your next trip, safety is probably one of the top concerns you have on your mind right now. Since some tourist destinations are notorious for their high crime rates, they can jeopardize travelers’ security and cast a shadow over an otherwise perfect trip.
To help you avoid potential security incidents on your trip, we prepared a list of actions you should take before traveling. We encourage you to take a look and implement those suggestions you think might help you feel more protected.
Since tech tends to be high on pickpocketers’ lists, you should carefully select which pieces of technology you’re bringing on your trip. Consider investing in a sturdy case that would protect your laptop or phone from potential breakage, and put together a digital survival kit containing all your tech essentials. Also, before hitting the road, ensure all the data on your devices are encrypted and protect your accounts with multiple security layers to prevent data breaches if someone gets their hands on your possessions.
Packing lights will give you more freedom on your trip. You can pass through security checks more quickly, and since most airlines charge extra luggage fees, you’ll manage to save some money as well. Bringing only essentials on your trip will make you a less likely target for thieves. Depending on how long you’re traveling, estimate what clothes you’ll need and ensure you’re not bringing anything valuable or of sentimental value. Your expensive watch can probably skip the trip regardless of where you’re going. Also, if you’re staying in a hotel, check if your room has a safe where you can keep your valuables in while you’re away.
Losing your documents abroad can put your identity at risk and cause serious legal issues. To lower the risk of identity theft, make several copies of your personal documents, and store them safely. The best option would be to put them in a waterproof folder and keep them at the bottom of your suitcase. Also, since many organizations require identity proof to grant you access, you’ll probably have to take your documents while sightseeing. Since you don’t want to risk losing your passport or ID card, keep the originals in the hotel safe and only bring copies out.
Researching the destination before arriving is always helpful, but relying on this information only loosely. It can guide you in planning your trip, but if you want more detailed and up-to-date information, visit the local tourist office. They can update you on special events happening while you’re there, share information about free activities, and you might even get discounts on tickets. Tourist offices are usually the first to know if there are any changes in public transportation lines, and they can provide you with valuable tips on avoiding crowds and getting the best out of your trip. If you’re concerned about your safety, ask them which districts you should avoid.
Universal advice for travelers is to avoid carrying huge amounts of cash. Research the destination before leaving and check preferred payment methods in your country. Even though card payments are more widely accepted, there are still places that accept only cash.
Bigger cities are more likely to accept card payments, but if you’re visiting a more secluded destination, you will probably have to have some cash. To avoid paying ridiculously high ATM fees, open an international banking account so you can use the local ATMs wherever you go. Also, never use ATMs that aren’t connected to a bank since they’re more likely to be tampered with. Lastly, never keep all your money in one place. Divide your cash and credit cards into several safe spots. If someone steals your bag or your luggage gets lost, you’ll still have some money with you.
Public WiFi can be a lifesaver on vacation, but they’re not the safest way of staying connected to your loved ones. Hackers use open networks to set up so-called “evil twin” Wi-Fi access points that look precisely like legitimate Wi-Fi, but they’re actually created to eavesdrop on your communication with the server and gather your data. Therefore, the best advice is to avoid public hotspots, but if you have to connect to one of them, ensure you’re connecting only to password-protected ones since they tend to be less susceptible to scams. Also, consider using a VPN to encrypt your online traffic and give hackers less chance to tamper with your data.
7. Take pictures of your luggage and valuables
According to statistics, 28 million bags are mishandled annually, resulting in 7% being delayed and 5% being lost entirely. We advise you to take pictures of your luggage and airline tags to help the airline staff to find it more easily. Also, take photos of the content of your luggage to prove what you have lost should you have to make an insurance claim. If you’re leaving your car at the airport, take pictures of it, alongside the license plate number and a parking spot number. You’re likely to forget where you left your car, which could help you find it more quickly once you return.
8. Invest in travel insurance
Losing your luggage is never fun, but it can be less painful if you invest in proper travel insurance. Depending on the plan you choose, travel insurance can protect you from unnecessary troubles while abroad. Typical plans cover the costs of medical assistance, flight disruptions, baggage, and document loss. However, you should choose insurance based on the level of risk you’re exposed to, your destination, trip duration, health condition, and activities you plan to participate in. Our advice is never to choose the first insurance option you find online but rather to do in-depth research and book a meeting with a travel insurance provider that could create a customized plan according to your needs.
If you’re planning to visit a popular tourist destination and traveling unprepared, you’ll probably spend time waiting in line for tickets and admissions. Always check if there is a possibility of pre-booking tickets to save time. Additionally, pre-booked tickets are often less expensive, so you can save a few bucks. However, ensure you’re booking your tickets on reliable sites with good customer reviews and security protocols to reduce the risk of getting hacked. There are too many scam travel sites, and if the offer seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Regardless of how much effort you put into planning your trip, there will always be some unexpected situations out of your control that can ruin your fun. Therefore, we suggest you focus on keeping your possessions safe and protected at all times and stay informed about events and possible risks at the destination you’re visiting. If you want a higher level of protection, investing in travel insurance is always the safest option. But most importantly, try to bring your concerns to a minimum and enjoy your vacation.