How to Prioritize Safety while Traveling
Posted on Wednesday, November 23rd, 2022 at 3:58 pm
Going on vacation to experience different parts of the world is fun, but it can also be dangerous. It is important to prioritize your safety while traveling both abroad and domestically.
Be aware of your surroundings
When sightseeing and exploring a new place, it is easy to become distracted. It is important to remain alert and aware of what is going on around you, so no one is able to take advantage of you.
Be cognizant of your valuables
Email a copy of important documents to yourself so that you can access them from anywhere. Keep a copy of your passport in a separate place from your actual passport. Keep list of important contacts in case your phone is lost, broken, or stolen and email those to yourself as well. Pickpocketing is prevalent in most cities. When away from home, resources are more limited so the risk of being robbed has more consequences. Keep important documents close to you, but not visible. A money belt worn under clothes is the best way to do this. You can also consider using a crossbody purse or wearing your backpack on your chest – this is highly suggested in congested areas, as you may not feel someone open your backpack when you are on a crowded train. Do not keep all your cash in one place and separate other valuables as well.
Have a plan in case of emergency
Nine-one-one (911) is not a universal emergency number; when traveling to a new country know the emergency numbers in each place you go.
Share your itinerary with family or friends back home and stay connected
Sharing photos and stories of your trip with loved ones back home is fun but can also keep you safe because there are records of where you are. Something as easy as text message can let people at home know you are safe. If you make a plan with your family to contact them at certain intervals, they can take action when you miss a planned check-in.
Do your research
In addition to researching what you want to see and do, research the risks of where you are going. Understand what crime rates are high in those areas. Do you need to be more cognizant of pick pocketers, human trafficking, date-rape drugs, etc.
The pandemic is not over
Know the COVID-19 situation of every location you are traveling to. It is important to understand the mask guidelines, testing and vaccine requirements, etc. Many countries have volatile political situations. Know what is going on, stay informed while visiting and keep up that country’s relationship with the United States.
Understand health risks and other dangers
It is important to know if you can drink the water from the faucet, eat street foods, etc. Also, consider if you are traveling during a season that there is a risk of severe weather. Perhaps one of the most important things to know what is that what is legal in the United States might not be legal where you are going. Brittney Griner is a perfect example of what can happen. Some of your prescription drugs may be illegal in other countries – be sure to check before your pack it.
Be smart about social media
It is advised to not post travel plans on social media or post pictures of you on a trip, as it makes your home a prime target for crime.
Be wary of people
One of the best parts of traveling is meeting new people from all over the world, but it is important to remember not everyone can be trusted. Do not invite your new friends back with you or go to their place, especially if you are alone. Americans are perceived as having lots of money and are often the victims of financial scams or thefts while abroad.