7 essential travel safety tips
Travel can be an exciting, eye-opening experience. Itís easy to get
caught up in the thrill of adventure. But donít forget about travel
security and safety considerations while youíre abroad.
Follow these 7 travel safety tips to help you take a trip thatís
memorable for all the right reasons.
1. Do your research
Get to know your destination in depth before you arrive. Read traveler
reviews and consult with locals for information about the safest
neighborhoods, places to stay and incidences of crime. Check the State
Department's website for country updates and enroll in the Smart Traveler
Enrollment Program (STEP).
Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)
Another important travel security precaution is to know whom to call in
an emergency. Get the contact information for the nearest embassy or
consulate, police station, and other local emergency departments.
2. Donít draw attention
People who look like theyíre from out of town are especially vulnerable
to crime, so try to blend in as much as you can. Choose inconspicuous
clothing that won't attract attention. Be discreet when looking at maps
and approach people carefully if you need to ask for directions.
Also consider investing in protective clothing and gear that will make it
more difficult for pickpockets to steal money and other personal items.
3. Make copies of important documents
You never know when you might need a copy of your passport, driverís license
or another form of identification. Scan these documents to save online and
print out several hard copies. That way, you wonít be scrambling to find
proper documentation if you need to get home.
4. Keep your friends and family updated
No matter whether youíre going, on an overnight jaunt or a month-long
international journey, itís always a good idea to let friends or family
back home know. Before you leave, send a copy of your itinerary to a few
trusted people who can keep tabs on your whereabouts. Check in regularly
with your contacts so they know youíre where youíre supposed to be.
5. Be wary of public Wi-Fi
Donít let the convenience of Internet access cloud your judgment. When you
use public Wi-Fi, hackers looking to steal valuable information can access
your data including credit card or Social Security numbers. If you do need
wireless Internet service, set up a virtual private network (VPN) that will
allow you to access the Internet securely while traveling.
6. Safeguard your hotel room
Even if your hotel has strong security measures in place, there are steps you
can take to make your room safer. Lock and dead-bolt the door and keep your
windows shut. You can buy a jammer, which is a portable device that slips
under the door for another layer of protection.
Try to give the impression that youíre in your room even when youíre away,
such as placing the Do Not Disturb sign on the outside of your door and
keeping the blinds or windows closed.
Donít let any strangers into your room, even if they say they work for the
hotel. You can always call the front desk to check whether someone was
ordered by hotel staff to come to your room.
7. Be aware of your surroundings
Donít let your guard down to snap the perfect picture for your social media
platforms. Keep an eye on your personal belongings at all times and use good
judgment when talking to strangers. A big part of the joy of traveling is
the opportunities it affords to meet new people and learn about their cultures.
But if someone near you is acting suspiciously, or if you feel uncomfortable,
leave the area immediately.
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