Summer is a great time to take a break and explore the world around you! Just remember these 7 important safety tips while traveling to ensure you have a successful trip you’ll remember forever.
When traveling abroad, it is impossible to completely avoid risk. Life is unpredictable, and it often can be even more predictable when exploring a foreign country. Tourists are frequently primary targets for scams, robberies or worse. Even if you’ve planned appropriately, challenging circumstances can occur to anybody at any time. While it may be impossible to avoid these risky situations, there are many ways that one can minimize risk while traveling abroad. The following are pertinent tips to help you manage risk and stay safe in a foreign country!
- Make Copies of Your Important Documents – Whether it’s a photocopy, scanned file, or photo on your phone, make sure that you backup your most important documents! Documents such as your passport, itinerary, medical insurance card, plane tickets, and credit cards are necessary items to have copies of. If any of these items are stolen or lost while traveling, you are going to want to have the information and a copy on hand!
- Be Wary of Scams – No matter where you travel, wherever there are tourists there will be scammers. A google search for common travel scams can help you become more aware of what to look out for. Many areas of the world have specific scams that are popular in that area. Research your area before you travel – it may save you hundreds of dollars!
- Secure Your Valuables – If possible, you should try to avoid traveling with many very valuable possessions. It’s too easy for such things to be lost or stolen while traveling. However, when you have to bring highly valuable items, make sure to lock them up as much as possible! Consider investing in a slash-proof backpack, always keep an eye on your items while on public transportation, and never leave unsecured valuables in a hotel room; use the safe!
- Dress for the Occasion – To scammers and thieves, tourists are targets. If your clothes clearly mark you as a foreigner, they may also be marking you as a target. Dress conservatively, and try to blend in as well as possible with the local population to avoid drawing unnecessary attention. Additionally, make sure you research appropriate attire for the region you’re visiting. Some countries have strictly enforced dress codes!
- Be Wary of Pickpockets – In addition to scammers, pickpockets are often highly trained and in abundance at tourist attractions. Avoid using your back pocket while traveling, as it is the first place a pickpocket will check and the easiest to access. Consider investing in a money belt, and always use your front pockets.
- Project Situational Awareness – Just looking like you know what you’re doing can deter a scammer or thief from marking you as a target. Stay alert at all times, be aware of your surroundings, and be confident. Avoid taking photos of everything you see, as this will mark you as a tourist.
- Check the State Department Website – The United States Department of State website has a page for every country in the world. These pages list known potential difficulties and threats one may face in these countries. Researching the country you are going to visit in the State Department website can help you avoid running into these issues.
While following these guidelines is not a surefire guarantee that your trip will be problem-free, it will definitely help you mitigate risk and become a safer, more knowledgeable traveler overall.