Staying safe while traveling abroad is always important. Most people aren’t dishonest, but those few bad apples or one unfortunate incident can blemish an amazing travel experience. We polled our travel specialists and created a list of tips for staying safe while traveling abroad.
1. Don’t look like a tourist – Many people have a perceived idea of what the quintessential American looks like; white sneakers, big camera, or sweatshirts with university logos. Staying away from these stereotypes when dressing can help travelers avoid drawing attention to themselves. Also, be wary of public displays of wealth – leave flashy jewelry and unnecessary expensive gadgets at home.
2. Separate money sources – Don’t leave all cash and credit/debit cards together as most do when they are at home. This is a safe guard against unfortunate events like theft – the phrase ‘don’t put all your eggs in one basket’ is very true in this case.
3. Secure wallets and purses – Eliminate opportunities for theft. Make sure purses are closed and zippers are placed towards the front of the body. Never put wallets in back pockets or any other pocket that is easily reachable by others. Money belts are also an option, but what is most important is making money easily accessible to yourself but difficult for others to take without you noticing.
4. Make copies of your important documents – Scanning and printing copies of documents and keeping them in several locations is very simple, but can be crucial if they are lost or stolen.
5. Purchase travel insurance – There are many benefits to travel insurance but one of the biggest is ensuring medical coverage while abroad. Hospital bills can add up quickly, so purchasing insurance is vital.
6. Don’t leave your belongings unattended in public – This is true everywhere, but especially when abroad in tourist areas. Keep belongings with you at all times; for example don’t place phones and wallets on the table or hook purses on the back of chairs when dining, and never leave luggage outside hotel doors.
7. Avoid pulling money out in public – Take out wallets as infrequently as possible, and avoid showing large amounts of cash. This helps reduce the risk of being targeted for any foul play. With this in mind, we would encourage keeping small amounts of currency for minor transactions, bartering and tipping.
8. Get familiar with the surroundings – A confident stride can make all the difference but not ending up in a bad part of town helps even more. To avoid this, study your map, talk to the front desk clerk, or examine your guidebook before venturing out. If you find yourself in an area that is not familiar or you feel threatened, go into a hotel or restaurant.
9. Put away your belongings – Most hotels will be fine, but in those terrible incidences where you run across a dishonest person it is best to keep your belongings out of site. Leave them in your suitcase, put them in the hotel safe, or better yet, leave them at home it you can.
10. Double check – There are many distractions while traveling. We also tend to carry more stuff – look around and double check that you have all your belongings before leaving anywhere.