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Only five percent of Americans travel abroad. Do you plan on joining their numbers? Traveling the world is one of the best ways to broaden our horizons and enrich our lives.
But if you’re new to traveling abroad and not adequately prepared, it may seem like a very dangerous proposition.
Don’t fret. As long as you know the basics, you’ll be just fine.
Stay smart during your travels and protect both you and your possessions. Before you get on a plane, here are eight travel safety tips every tourist should know.
1. Research Your Destination for Specific Travel Safety Tips
A great travel experience relies on planning and research. Before you even choose a destination, you should familiarize yourself with its cultural norms, current events, and dangerous areas. This is especially true if you’ll be visiting a country that uses a language different than your own.
Go beyond the basics. As a tourist, some people will seek to take advantage of you with elaborate scams. Most countries have their own scams unique to the area.
Do some Google-fu and don’t let yourself fall victim to these vacation-ruining fraudsters.
If you know what to expect and what to look out for before you’ll arrive, you’ll be better equipped to avoid questionable areas and instead focus on a fulfilling vacation.
When doing your research, you might also discover some hidden gems at your destination. This will help broaden your knowledge and contribute to an amazing experience.
For example, check out these interesting facts about the Galapagos islands.
2. Keep a Low Profile
The best way to avoid being targeted for scams or theft? Don’t look like a tourist! Carrying expensive gadgets or wearing showy jewelry or clothing is a fantastic way to stand out.
You don’t need to wear the area’s traditional garb but stay light and dress modestly. Avoid wearing anything with foreign flags or other indicators that make you stand out like a sore thumb.
Beyond your appearance, remember to be respectful. Have a clear destination in mind and display confident body language. Lingering, appearing lost, or making a ruckus are ways to draw attention to yourself.
3. Secure Your Valuables
To travel light and be inconspicuous, you don’t want a wad of cash bouncing around in your back pocket. Splurge on a hotel in a safe area. Leave your passport and some backup currency out of sight in your hotel room; some residences might have safes or other areas to lock up your important documents.
If you do need to travel with cash, phones, or other valuables, keep them all in one place on your person. They are best kept in a sturdy and secure travel bag.
Don’t know what to bring with you? Check out these travel essentials.
While on public transport, always keep your bag in sight and preferably in hand. Never forget where your possessions are. They can easily get stolen or lost.
Trying to find them in a foreign country? That’s no easy task.
4. Travel with Others
A single, out-of-place tourist is an easy target. If they’re traveling with friends, that’s another story entirely.
Traveling alone isn’t easy. Consider inviting some friends with you on the journey. You’ll have more fun and all be significantly safer as a result.
Don’t have anyone to invite? You aren’t the only solo traveler in the country. Stay sociable — your hotel could be teeming with other tourists like you.
5. Inspect ATMs
It’s best to avoid using ATMs in another country. You’ll be paying out the ears in bank fees, but more importantly, they may not be not safe. ATM tampering is a regular occurrence in tourist hotspots.
If you have to use an ATM, check the machine for signs of tampering. Tug on sections of the device to ensure fake pieces haven’t been slipped on. Be aware of passersby who may be able to look over your shoulder, and always cover your PIN with a free hand.
6. Steer Clear of Public WiFi
Whether at home or abroad, public WiFi is anything but secure. It’s especially dangerous overseas as you’ll be more inclined to use public it for checking your bank and other private accounts.
People can glean information off an unsecured public WiFi network. If you’ll be using your phone to access sensitive information, consider bringing a private portable router.
7. Consume Wisely
Food poisoning is a common problem in the travel world. As long as you follow some basic food and water safety tips, you’ll be free to eat as you please.
Do as the locals do. Popular places are popular for a reason. It’s a sign that the food is excellent and safe to eat, or that it’s so good that locals aren’t deterred by a little bit of food poisoning!
For water, it’s best to avoid it from the tap. Since tap water is also used in fountain drinks, you should stick to canned and bottled varieties.
8. Safeguard Your Home
Your home is most vulnerable when you’re thousands of miles away. Make sure that everything is locked securely, doors and windows and all.
If you’ll be away for an extended period of time, consider having a trustworthy neighbor or friend get your mail. Stuffed mailboxes make it clear you aren’t home. This sight can embolden thieves to make an entrance while you’re away.
Otherwise, consider stopping your mail service entirely or having them deliver to the nearby post office. Along with keeping your house secure, you don’t want thieves getting a hand on your mail or sensitive information.
There’s Nothing to Fear
Don’t fear the —unknown but be prepared for it. With these essential travel safety tips, you’ll be sure to avoid common travel pitfalls.
Looking for more tips and hacks? Visit the travel section of our blog.