For the most part travelling locally or internationally is relatively safe. With that said, don’t make yourself a target! If it quacks like a duck, then mostly likely it is a duck! Tourist are easy targets because they tend to stand out in a crowd like a sore thumb. So if you have sucker written on the top of your forehead, then you might want to take a look at the 14 travel safety tips Jimmy and I put together that will help bring you some piece of mind and stop looking like a tourist! Additionally you can find more information in our Travel Tips on how to avoid common mistakes travelers make.
1. What you wear matters
That brand new wardrobe your looking forward to saunter around in, stands out like the first day of school! after a few days you might be wishing you had packed your trusty worn in comfortable clothes.
The truth is you mostly likely will never wear your new travel clothes, you learn more on what to pack in our article 21 mistakes to avoid before you head to the airport. Your new duds are not always that comfortable especially new shoes that will leave you stumbling around like you just got new walking feet. In all seriousness new clothes can cause accidents! I once wore my brand new heals out on the town while traveling and didn’t take in the fact that the roads were cobbled and down a stone stair case I went and spent the rest of my trip bruised and banged up!
Another note on the subject, a lot of places you might travel too internationally are underprivileged not only do your new clothes scream oh there not from around here, they also appear flaunty and send a signal to those with sinister intentions that you have something of value for them to take off you! This is a huge travel safety top to take notice of!
2. Don’t get all gussied up in your finest jewelry or jewelry at all for that matter.
All that bling that makes you feel like you look like a million bucks screams tourist and flaunts that you might have a few bucks for someone on the shady side to steal!
On my first solo trip ever many many years ago I went to Seattle. On the last day there the weather was so glorious and decided to take a walk down by the docs before I headed to the airport. My bad, loaded down with jewellery I was surrounded by a group of thugs. They took the sunglasses off the top of my head and started grabbing my hands and ripped my rings right off! Sadly, I was wearing my mother’s class ring, something I’ll never be able to replace!
Aside from of course your wedding rings, leave the jewellery at home. You’re on vacation what do you really need it for? Just one more thing to worry about, but if you must make sure your hotel room has a safe for you to keep it in while you’re out and about during the day.
3. Pick your handbags wisely
As women we all love our handbags and most likely have a nice little collection at home! And that is exactly where your cherished handbags belong when your away, at Home! Purse nabbing is the new pickpocket when the aggressor is targeting women! A gazillion million years ago when my left the farm to move to the big city she had her purse ripped right off her shoulder, don’t let that be you! Now days’ purse nabbers have gotten more savvy and while I have never experienced it, Jimmy has many stories where he has seen women targeted. The thieves carry knives with them now and will either slice a hole in your purse so everything drops out or slice the straps straight through and ride off into the sunset with all your goods!
If you can avoid carrying a handbag at all, or choose one wisely. When shopping for handbags for travel, I look for something tiny to carry just the essentials I need and usually stick to cross bodies. I also make sure the handbag has secure closure by locking mechanism or zipper, never travel with open handbag. Also look for handbags with chain or metal straps, this makes it harder to cut away from your body.
4. Pay attention and be aware of your surroundings
Your senses are twirling. I know it’s exciting and eye stimulating when your away. But please make sure you are aware of your surroundings and the people around you.
I’ve heard many close calls from work colleagues while travelling. One such colleague told a story about stopping at an ATM, not aware that anyone was watching her, once she got her cash a man started following her and attempted to take it from her. Luckily she did get away.
The best thing you can do is to be very aware of what’s around you and look people in the eye, don’t look down at your feet or get memorized by the scenery around you!
The not so sinister part of paying attention is not getting lost. While you’re out wandering around and taking in the sites, be sure to make sure you know where you are and how you got there. It’s easy to get lost and getting transportation or a way back may not be as easy as you think.
I once was skiing in Tahoe with friends and decided to sit and take a break and was not paying attention to time. Well the lift I needed to get back to the gondola was closed and I had to ski to the bottom of the mountain which landed me in another state. California and Nevada share the same mountain at Heavenly. So there I was stuck, no phone, no cash in the middle of nowhere. Being that I have always been a lucky girl after about two hours a shuttle driver stopped and asked if I need help seeing me sitting on a bench and obviously looking distressed. She said my hotel was not on her route but being it was the end of the day she felt sorry for me and dropped me off. Lesson learned – pay attention!
5. Beware of pick pockets (most common travel safety tip)
You hear about it all the time but many of us don’t take head or think it won’t happen to us! Rest assured it can and it does happen every day. You don’t have to be traveling to be a victim, pick pocketing happen at home as well. I can’t tell you how many times I see women toss their handbags in the front of their cart wide open and walk away to get something off the shelf, only to get to the register and have no wallet!
Pick pockets rarely ever work alone. They always work in crews. One person sets up a distraction while the other sneaks away with your valuable without you noticing a thing. If you like my dad you most likely carry your wallet in your back pocket. Stop doing this! Make sure your pants, shorts or whatever, have deep front pockets for you to carry your cash or wallet. If you a woman, please keep your handbag closed with your wallet, phone and other goods at the bottom and your junk at the top.
6. Don’t keep your cash all together
You’ve heard the saying, don’t keep all your eggs in one basket? Well that goes for your cash too while travelling! Keeping cash spread around in different places will prevent you from being stuck and destitute, should you find yourself the prey of some scumbag or if you simply lost your wallet or purse. I left my handbag on the counter at a car rental return once. Let me just say it’s not a good feeling when your penniless and have no identification! I’m grateful for the honest employee who mailed back to me.
A noteworthy thought for travel safety tips that I had never thought of and read from another travel blogger is to keep a dummy wallet and phone. The Author from Fluent in 3 Months is bang on with this tip!
7. Don’t talk to strangers!
Didn’t your mother ever tell you not to talk to strangers? Well I take that back, do talk to strangers but be aware and be careful. We love meeting new people and talking about anything in general. It’s nice when you’re getting on with someone and having a great time but be careful at the end of the night when you’re invited to private parties or are trying to be directed away from where you at. You never really know what could happen, and I for one don’t want to find out! Just because people seem nice and most likely they are doesn’t mean they have good intentions and you have to bend over backwards to be nice to them. If it doesn’t feel right go with your gut!
I was vising a friend in Florida for a few weeks and we took a weekend trip to Hollywood Beach by Ft. Lauderdale. She had wanted to lie down for a bit and me being on vacation decided to go down to the beach bar in our hotel. Feeling lazy and tired and since it was a beach hotel after all, I threw on this ugly red typical Hawaiian looking beach dress cover up thingy. While there I sampled in some lovely cocktails and minding my own business when a strange man sitting at the bar started over complimenting me on my dress.
Well red flag #1, I knew for a fact that he was full of it! Trying not to be rude since he was not causing me any harm I divulged in small conversation. Before I knew it this weirdo was trying to get me to see some really cool place on the beach. That was red flag #2. I’m like, ok freak for one if you’ve ever been there you know that the beach looks exactly the same for miles and miles. I quickly declined and made mention that I was waiting for my friend who was still getting ready, to make a point that I wasn’t alone. Going back to the thought that just because people are nice does not mean they don’t have sinister designs!
8. Always make copies of important documents (most important of the travel safety tips)
Should something happen where you have lost or had your passport, identification etc. stolen make sure your covered. Take copies of all documentation and email them to yourself or keep them in another application like drop box that easily accessible when you are away.
While Jimmy was travelling to New York with his mum he somehow lost his passport and had to go to find the British Consulate to get help to come back home. This was a painstaking experience and lots of running around and unneeded stress. He almost wasn’t allowed to fly home but being a lucky as I am in life he did manage to get on his scheduled flight and make it home. Some people are not so lucky so make sure you are protected!
9. Make sure you have travel insurance (another important point of travel safety tips to take notice of)
So many people take a risk when travelling by not getting travel insurance. You always think nothing is going to happen to you or your private health insurance covers you if you are ill. Get out of that thinking. The truth is, your health insurance does not cover accidents at home and certainly not abroad!
Many years ago Jimmy was away on holiday and was hit by a car. An unfortunate accident. Being responsible he did carry travel insurance. The benefits of travel insurance besides the obvious medical expenses, is that is covers bodily injury pay-outs, and lost wages should you need to be out of work when you arrive home. Your also protected if you sustain long term injuries that your attorneys can get settled for you. Besides the medical aspect of travel insurance, it also covers any lost or stolen valuables so you just can’t go wrong. Protect yourself from any travel misfortune!
10. Know the law - (important travel safety tips we take for granted)
You’re not a criminal! Just an honest individual trying to have a nice holiday away what could you possibly do wrong? Don’t assume, not ever! It’s easy to make an honest mistake and not even realizing that your actions as innocent as they may be, can have some not so nice consequences!
We’ve never been on trouble while on holiday knock on wood but there have been Individuals that have found themselves in a lot of hot water. Before you go away read up and get information on the culture and basic laws. Make sure you have access to extra cash just in case you have fines to pay or anything else. Keep in mind in the America if you get a speeding ticket and you’re from out of state you have to pay then and there! Also a good idea to always keep coins on hand depending on where you are travelling, especially the America You find toll roads in the least expected places.
11. Always let someone know where you are
When you’re away travelling it’s always a good idea to let someone know where you are or going to be. Basically it’s like checking in with mom! Which is exactly what I do. Before I met Jimmy I always wrote down my travel dates, hotel info and airline info for mom. It gave her a piece of mind but now I realize that accidents happen. For example, you’re out on a hiking trip and that no one knew you were going to be on and you slip or fall and hurt yourself. If no one knows where you are then no one can come and look for you should you not come home?
If plans change always update someone! I was going away for a weekend by train with friends. We had bought tickets for a sleeper car for which I had given my mom all the information. Well in the 11th hour, something came up with one of our friends and we decided to stay in the city and whoop it up! I never bothered to tell my mom that I never left and by the time I called her she was in full blown panic mode calling authorities and anyone else that would listen. You see because the train I was supposed to be on derailed overnight and everyone in the sleeper cars didn’t make it. I thank my lucky stars; I am here today but if I had let my mother know I could have saved her the anguish of thinking something terrible had happened to me.
12. Keep a List of phone numbers for emergencies
You really never know when an emergency or going to happen that’s why they call them emergencies. Don’t count on your cell phone always working with preprogramed numbers. Always keep a small list of phone numbers with you just in case. Besides your personal numbers make sure you know the emergency numbers for the country you are visiting. You can find more info about global emergency phone numbers under travel resources.
13. Don’t let every tom dick and harry know your away
I know your excited about your upcoming trip and you want to scream it to the world. But for God’s sakes keep it off social media! Letting everyone know that you home is going to be vacant leaves you vulnerable to break-ins! Be safe and share your photos and travel stories when you return home!
14. Don’t overindulge
You’re on holiday and its time to let your hair down and have a little fun! A few pints or cocktails won’t do you any harm but don’t overdo it! Especially if you’re travelling alone. In all honesty for us that’s like the frying pan calling the kettle black. In all seriousness be careful and be wary of con artist that take advantage when your intoxicated. That goes for men and women alike! We’ve heard the stories on the news or in the papers, don’t think it can’t happen to you.
Last but not least have fun and be safe!
Before you leave for that much anticipated Holiday check out 21 Packing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them!