Travel safety is important while you’re in a different country. It’s especially overwhelming when you’re just starting off.
But don’t feel like you have to cancel your trip just yet!
Let’s go over some travel safety tips so that when you do travel, you can keep your mind at ease and actually enjoy your trip.
1. Always know where your passport is.
This one is a no-brainer, but you should always keep your passport in a safe place.
Whether it be in the hotel safe, in your pocket, or on your body somewhere, always know its location. And double check. And triple check.
You shouldn’t be carrying your passport out with you while touring the town. Use a photocopy.
2. Take photos of your credit cards.
It sounds weird, but take a photo of your credit cards — front and back — and save it on your cloud storage system like iCloud or Dropbox or Google Drive. If your wallet gets stolen, you won’t panic about your credit card numbers being used while you’re in a foreign country. You can report them as being stolen and have the numbers ready because you were smart and you had photos of them to recall the numbers. See?
You should do this with your passport and license as well.
3. Place some identifier on your bag.
You’re going to notice while you’re waiting for your bag that a lot of people have similar sized bags and similar colored bags. That means there’s a chance that someone may take your bag without realizing they took the wrong one. To avoid this, tie a handkerchief around a handle or if you have a hardcover travel suitcase, put some decals on it so that it’s recognizable.
Also, if baggage handlers misplace your bag, you have some point of reference they can work from, instead of a “black bag”.
4. Don’t drink the water.
Unless locals say it’s okay to. If you drink tap water from places that do not treat their water, you’re going to be in for a terrible, terrible surprise. It usually has to do with you sitting on the toilet for hours. Maybe days.
5. Don’t accept drinks from strangers at a bar.
If someone attractive approaches you and strikes up a conversation, you feel great, right? You feel good, you feel sexy, you feel…dizzy. Be careful especially if you’re alone at a bar in a foreign country. For example in Colombia, people warn that women walking up to unsuspecting tourists are usually scam artists and are looking to drug them with scopolamine. Or they’re prostitutes.
6. Use trustworthy cabs.
Hailing a cab at 3am sounds like a smart idea, but sometimes, those cabs could be dangerous. They can overcharge you by 300% or take you for a long ride.
7. Dress as the locals do.
Standing out in a place is never a good idea. If you’re a 6’4″ gringo in the middle of Lima, it’s going to be obvious you’re not from there, but don’t draw further attention to yourself by wearing a Cowboys jersey or a suit and tie. That just screams, “I’m new here and I’m waiting to get mugged.”
Blend in. Just trust me.
8. Less is more.
Don’t bring two bags. Bring one. You won’t wear everything that you’ve brought. Bring one pair of good walking shoes and a pair of sandals or boots (depending on where you’re traveling to).
Don’t bring your entire arsenal of electronics, either. Your phone can record and take good enough photos.
After all, you’re there to enjoy the experience, not document it.
Unless you’re a photographer. Or a vlogger. Whatever.
9. Be aware of your surroundings.
I had a friend who was vacationing in Panama City and accidentally wandered over into Casco Viejo — it’s a beautiful part of town, but it gets very shady in some areas. A local grabbed his arm and told him to turn around and go back towards the Parque de Santa Ana because it wasn’t safe for him to walk around alone, especially at dusk.
10. Don’t fight a mugger.
If someone tries to mug you, don’t fight them. They might have a knife or a gun. Is losing your phone as important as losing your life? Think about it.
11. Get insurance.
It sounds really far-fetched, but travel insurance is very, very important. You can insure your belongings and insure your body, just in case an emergency happens.
Remember some of these travel safety tips on your next journey!