Traveling is good for the soul ; it teaches us more about ourselves and the world around us, opens our eyes to new experiences, and creates cherished memories, among a million other benefits. However, taking off on a journey across the world isn’t without its safety concerns . Keep your loved ones, yourself, and your possessions safe on any upcoming travels you may have planned by following these essential travel safety tips.
Thwart Would-Be Pickpockets
One of the largest safety concerns when it comes to personal property is the threat of pickpockets. These common criminals come in all shapes and sizes, and are probably a lot harder to sense that one might think. Stealing from unsuspecting tourists is their specialty, and they’re darn good at it. Be wary of distraction tactics: if you’re surrounded by a group suddenly, if someone shoves a cardboard sign in your face, or if someone wants to show you a magic trick, you should assume they’re trying to steal from you.
In case the worst happens and the airline loses your luggage or a pickpocket manages to run off with your bag, it’s important to have backups of everything possible. This means hiding small amounts of cash in different areas of your luggage and on your person, and making photocopies of any important documents you need during your travels, like photocopies of your passport and travel insurance receipts.
Don’t Look Like a Tourist
The more you stand out, the more likely you are to be targeted, whether it be by mugger or pickpocket. Common tourist garb? Shorts and a t-shirt. It might be the most comfortable, but it’s definitely going to have you branded as a tourist within a few seconds. Focus on dressing up a little more than you’re first inclined to. You’ll notice, especially in European cities, that the locals are dressed to the nines more often than not and a polished outfit is going to blend in better than those Birkenstocks you’ve been eyeing.
Don’t put a target on your back by showing your inexperience in the area. Do your research on the city before you head out, leave the map in your bag until pulling into a more private area, and don’t look worried while walking around. Keep your head held high, shoulders back, and walk with purpose—you’ll look like a local and avoid being targeted as easily.
Be Careful With Drinking Habits
Of course you’ll want to take part in the local nightlife, but don’t make yourself vulnerable by partaking too much. When you drink alcohol, your inhibitions are lowered, your senses are dulled, and your reaction time is greatly affected. If you’re going to drink, do so slowly. Always keep an eye on your drink, and only accept drinks directly from the bartender or waiter.
Leave Your Valuables At Home
Only take what you’ll need for the day. While you may be worried about leaving your laptop or credit cards behind at the hotel, the chances of your belongings being stolen from your rented room are much smaller than the likelihood of encountering a pickpocket during your day. Whether you’re staying in a hotel or hostel, most accommodations usually offer a safe or lockbox for a small fee.
If your travels will see you in and out of airports, there are ways you can work to stay safe. Heed signage and warnings around the terminals; i.e., if you see something suspicious, say something to uniformed individuals. When it comes to picking up your bag from a luggage carousel, stand in an area close to where the bags are deposited to ensure you can watch its journey (and make sure no one grabs yours whether mistakenly or intentionally). Invest in modern suitcases and duffels that won’t be easily confused with other passengers’ bags, and those that will be easy for you to spot from far away. You might also want to consider investing in the suitcase tracking device called TrakDot in case your luggage does get misplaced during your journeys.
Consider Travel Insurance
You might not think you need travel insurance—think again. This could be your savior should a natural disaster, theft, or illness happen while you’re away, and more often than not it’s worth it simply for the peace of mind. Many insurance plans you have through work or your partner won’t cover events that happen overseas, meaning you could be slapped with large medical bills or stranded after a major disastrous event in your current locale. It could be that you have an emergency appendectomy, or something as simple as the airline losing your luggage—coverage is important, and could save you money, time, and oodles of stress.
If you’re going to be traveling the world, it’s important to take precautions to keep yourself and your loved ones safe. Keep these tips in your arsenal and enjoy your journeys without putting your safety at risk.