When it comes to traveling, safety is one of the most important areas to be prepared for. Most of the world is essentially safe but we should be mindful of the dangers of scams and theft, so we don’t limit ourselves from experiencing all that the world has to offer. It is so important to stay safe while traveling, which is why we are sharing these tips with you!
1. Learn the Language
Now, this doesn’t mean that you must be fluent, but if you are going to a foreign country, especially one that doesn’t speak your native language it’s always good to learn a few important phrases. Basic polite words such as please and thank you are key, but more important ones include asking for directions, where the nearest police station is, or if you can use a phone.
It may be a bit more work than trying to get by with facial expressions, hand signals, and body language, but the result is worth it when you can clearly ask a person for help in case of an emergency. The added perk is that you will not only be able to get yourself out of trouble but its an opportunity to broaden your cultural experience.
2. Don’t Exchange Money On the Street
Most often when in a foreign country, you may be approached by people offering to exchange your money for the local currency on the sidewalk or other street-side booths that clearly aren’t banks. Don’t take them up on this offer. More often than not, you will be scammed on the street by either receiving less than the official exchange rate or sometimes even receiving fake bills in return.
Though it may seem tempting, especially if you’re running low on cash, wait until you get to a bank or back to your hotel.
3. Keep a Copy of Important Information
Your passport information, credit card number, and important numbers on your phone should all be written down and stored somewhere safe with you. There is always a risk of you losing your wallet or being pickpocketed, so in case this does happen, you will want to have copies of important documents as you try to get replacements.
You should only carry around important documents such as your passport if you really need it, otherwise, it’s best to leave it in the hotel safe or somewhere it’s less likely to be stolen.
4. Lock Up Important Items
Items such as your laptop, credit cards, passports, and jewelry are all targets for theft. It’s not only out on the street but in hotels or other temporary residences that they may get stolen. If you are out exploring and won’t have a need for these items, then your best bet is to lock them in your hotel safe. This way you know where you left all your valuables and it is in a location only you have access to.
If the location you’re staying in does not have a safe, then lock them in your suitcase and move your bags somewhere out of sight. Anyone thinking of stealing most likely will not take the time or go the trouble of looking for bags to break in when they can simply grab items out in the open.
5. Keep it Light
We all like looking nice and accessories can be a major confidence booster. However, to stay on the safe side, don’t go out in the town wearing that $400 necklace or the $500 Gucci bag in tow. Items like these will attract attention and mark you as a better target because you are projecting wealth.
Instead, accessorize with cheap or easily replaceable jewelry. Rather than the Coach watch, wear a plastic one to the bar, and bring a reliable everyday travel bag with you that you won’t miss too much if it gets ruined or worse, stolen. You can still be fashionable and blend-in like a local rather than stick out as an easy target for trouble.
6. Get a Sim Card
If you are going to be traveling for a while, consider getting a temporary sim card. There is no need to find a phone company and sign up for any contract. A prepaid sim card that you can load will work perfectly for vacations of any length of time. The reason for buying a sim is mainly for emergency calls and transportation.
Being able to call your travel partner or hotel is much easier when you don’t have to hunt down a phone. The convenience of having easy access to communications is extremely beneficial for your comfort, peace of mind and staying safe during your travels.
7. Use Official Modes of Transportation
Official modes of transportation can be defined as transportation sanctioned by the local travel bureau or government. Generally, they have oversight and standards for operating. Take the car that the hotel provides for you or official taxis certified by the local government or tour agency. When you are coming back from a night at the bar call a radio taxi (best to inquire from your hotel concierge), which operate through radio signals by customers calling a number and an operator will dispatch a driver. This is important for staying safe, especially in certain third world countries.
Fake taxis are used in hundreds of scams from overcharging to muggings and kidnappings. Though it may be more expensive, only take transport that is endorsed or arranged by your hotel or tour agency for staying safe.