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Whether you are on a solo traveling adventure or with a group of friends there are things you need to keep in mind in order to stay safe. Check out the 13 tips to stay safe while traveling abroad. No matter where you are traveling to next, these tips will come in handy for your trip.
- Do Your Research
Research the location you are visiting. Get to know the areas and check out the local crime reports for places you’ll be staying and visiting during your stay. Look up traveler reviews on hotels in the area. You can also try to reach out to locals for their tips on the safest areas and where to stay away from.
- Get Familiar with the Most Common Scams
There will always be people who try to trick you out of your money no matter where you are in the world. Just head to Google and check out the most common scams and then go deeper to check out the most common in the area you are traveling to.
When Kyle and I went to Italy we didn’t even think to do this. While walking by the church to the Spanish Steps we were approached by a man with flowers trying to offer them to me. I told him no thank you and tried to keep walking. He told us that it was tradition and we were being disrespectful by not accepting the flowers. In an effort to be respectful to the culture, I took them. He then took a picture of us and then of course…. he immediately asked Kyle for money. Kyle gave him 1 EUR and he looked down and asked for more.
We were lucky that it was only a few Euros but needless to say we ended up ignoring everyone else who tried to talk to us.
- Look at the US State Department Website (and register)
The US State Department website has a list of each country and the current safety alerts. There is a program called the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) that allows you to enroll your trip with the US Embassy or Consulate nearest to where you are staying. There are multiple benefits to enrolling in the STEP program, one of which is receiving safety conditions from the Embassy about the country you are traveling to. This can help with making any changes or decisions regarding your itinerary if safety is a concern. Another benefit is if there is civil unrest, a natural disaster, or another emergency the US Embassy will be able to contact you or help your family contact you.
- Write Down Emergency Numbers
Write down the numbers of the local police, the Embassy, and even the addresses. In the event of an emergency, the last thing you want to have to do is try to find out what these numbers are.
- Make Copies of Your Travel Documents and Itinerary
Make sure you have digital copies of all your documents in case you lose something. I normally email myself a copy as well as keeping a screenshot on my phone. It’s also a good idea to leave copies of your documents and itinerary with your family or a friend.
- Get Travel Insurance
I can’t tell you enough how important having travel insurance is. Having insurance can protect you against theft, illness, or even delayed flights. We like to use World Nomads. This is the best insurance we have found and we don’t travel anywhere without it.
- Keep Your Valuables Safe
Check with your hotel to make sure they have a safe in the room or available on the premises. Aside from that while you are exploring make sure to have a good travel bag. We recommend a slash-proof over the shoulder bag or backpack. We love the Travelon brand bags.
- Keep Your Money in Multiple Locations
I cannot stress enough, do not keep all of your cash in one place. If someone robs you and you have all your money together they will get everything you have. Keep some in the safe at your hotel, some in your wallet, and some in a different bag. Whatever you need to do. Money belts are always a good idea as well. I have this one and have used it multiple times while traveling.
- Don’t Wear Excess Amounts of Jewelry
Wearing a ton of jewelry is one of the quickest ways to become the victim of theft. There really isn’t a need to bring extravagant jewelry with you when traveling other than the fact that it could be stolen you also risk losing it. Keep it simple so you don’t draw attention to yourself with expensive-looking bling.
- Drink Responsibly
Of course, you want to have a drink and let loose on vacation, just make sure you are doing so in a responsible manner. Don’t get wasted and walk around at night alone. Getting drunk and running around the city yelling is a good way to put yourself in a bad situation.
- Try to Blend In
Scammers will look for the “tourists” first. Try to blend in as much as you can. Do a little research on the type of clothing that’s common in that country. For example, in some Islamic countries, they have dress code guidelines that are enforced.
- Only use Reputable Transportation
Please, please, please don’t get into a private car especially if you are alone. Ask your hotel to call you a taxi or ask for recommendations on local companies. With a quick search, you can easily find the top-rated companies in the area.
- Trust Your Instincts
Lastly, make sure to trust your gut. If something or someone feels off try to avoid that situation. Stay aware of your surroundings at all times.
We hope these safety tips help you while traveling. Have any tips you want to share? Leave them in the comments!
Yes to all of these! Thank you for sharing. I think it’s so important to trust your gut on situations and travel with someone. I know it’s not always possible to travel with a buddy, and it’s not always ideal, but I feel so much safer when I have someone with me.
Me too. I’ve always wanted to solo travel but it scares me a little.
These tips are always on my fingertips daily. Safety is paramount everywhere I am.
Yes, it is! It’s better to be safe than sorry
Great tips here. I’ve never really thought to look ahead at common scams, but that’s a really useful idea.
Thanks so much, Katie! It definitely helps prepare you ahead of time.
Love this and can relate to so much!
I have fallen for MANY similar scams so reading that you have made me feel better! Lol
Never trust someone who says they will take a photo for you haah!!
I also totally agree to try and blend in! Not blending in is what gets us caught in the scams!
Keeping cash in multiple locations is a great idea!
Right! haha we were caught off guard and fell for it. But you live and learn. It’s funny now that we look back at it and know we know. I think they knew to target us because we always looked lost since it was our very first trip.
Love these tips! I’m planning to take an international trip once self-isolation is over, and I will definitely follow your advice.
Oh! I hope you have fun. I can’t wait till this is over so I can start exploring again.
Love that you recommended travel insurance, it’s essential. Having used world nomads for Insurance, they’re one of the best!!
Yes, they are! Travel insurance is something people don’t think about because they only think it helps if you cancel your trip but its there for so much more.
Yes, don’t flash your cash, right. You have so many fantastic tips to stay safe while traveling. I am overly cautious these days since I have kids to protect, not just me. I wish I knew these tricks when I was younger, I shudder to think of how I traveled as a young adult. I was very lucky.
Right! I think as we get older we look back and “say what the heck was I thinking?” But we live and learn. I don’t blame you for being overly cautious. I get nervous sometimes with just myself. Thanks for reading Jenny!
Such good reminders and I love the point to write down important phone numbers, you can never be too careful!
Thanks so much, Cate!
Its something I didn’t think about before but definitely comes in handy.
This is a great post. Sometimes we get lost in the awe of where we are visiting without realizing some of the risks. Great suggestions for keeping safe while traveling.
You are so right, Keri. I always want to explore into the night and sometimes don’t even realize where I am.
These are great ideas! Having never traveled abroad it is interesting to compare what I would do differently than taking a trip within the U.S.
I absolutely recommend this trip! It’s so much fun.
These are great tips. I was mugged at knife point years ago while living in Barcelona. We were in an area we weren’t familiar with and should have been walking in a more visible location.
Oh my gosh, Jennifer, that is so scary! I can’t imagine how terrifying that would be. Hopefully, you never have to deal with that ever again.
I love these tips! Practical, sensible advice for keeping safe – a safe trip is a happy trip! It’s so important to keep your wits about you when travelling and listen to your gut. We had someone try to scam us on Hollywood Boulevard and get quite confrontational when we didn’t buy into it – definitely got our heart rates up, but we learned an important lesson! We definitely could have done with researching it before we left.
Yes! It can be so scary and make you feel vulnerable. Absolutely listen to your gut.