When vacationing out in the great wide world, safety can be a concern, especially when traveling alone. But while traveling in a new city can seem scary, don’t ever give up on your dreams of visiting a particular city just because you’re feeling nervous about safety. There are precautions that you can take while on vacation to ensure that you’re as safe as possible. In order to help you feel more at ease, we’ve compiled the top seven travel safety tips to assuage any misgivings you may have.
1. Research your destination
Before you even book your trip, spend some time researching your destination. This is one of the best sites to check out before traveling: The State Department offers updated travel safety information on every country in the world. You can also read travel sites like tripadvisor.com to read other people’s experiences in particular areas to get an idea of what to expect. It’s also good to know where the closest police station is to your hotel, and research how to contact the local embassy just in case there’s a bigger issue.
2. Have photocopies of your passport and credit cards
It’s always a good idea to carry copies of your important documents when you’re traveling such as your passport, birth certificate, and credit cards. This way, on the off-chance that you’re robbed or you just misplace your luggage, you’ll still be able to prove that you’re you and you can cancel the cards you had in your possession to eradicate fraud. It’s also wise to inform your credit cards that you’ll be traveling before you leave so your cards don’t get mistakenly frozen for possible fraud.
3. Don’t act like a tourist
Thieves and people with nefarious intent tend to target tourists in large cities. Reduce your odds of getting robbed or assaulted by trying your best to blend in with the locals. Dress like someone who lives there, walk with confidence as if you know exactly where you’re going and don’t stop to take pictures at every intersection. You’ll cut down on your chances of getting swindled by leaving the bulky “tourist” camera at home, as well.
4. Make sure someone at home has your itinerary
Have a point of contact at home that has a copy of your itinerary: flights, hotels, excursions, dinner plans, etc. Then, check in with that person daily. If you go missing, at least your friend or family member will know your last location to help local authorities track you down. A great tool to use is the app BSafe. You and a friend download the app, and then you can submit your location to your friend, they can track you as you move from activity to activity and the app even allows you to send SOS signals to your friends if you feel threatened.
5. Secure most of your belongings in the hotel
Statistically, tourists that get robbed the most frequently are the ones with big cameras hanging from their neck and those with the most jewelry, unsurprisingly. Try to keep those expensive items safe at home. But, if you absolutely must travel with your jewelry and electronics, lock them up in the hotel safe before leaving and only bring alone what you really need for the day.
6. Stay alert and don’t let people distract you
The best pick-pocketers are those who can distract people easily and people accused of assault are often very quick smooth-talkers. When you’re in a new city, don’t allow yourself to be approached and distracted by strangers, especially those holding signs or pushing items into your face. Keep your head up and pay attention to your surroundings. If something doesn’t feel right about a person, don’t be afraid to walk away. It’s better to be rude than to be robbed or assaulted!
7. Watch how much you drink, especially when traveling alone.
Vacations are all about letting loose, and that often involves imbibing in plenty of alcohol. But, when in a new city and not at an all-inclusive resort, try to keep your drinking to a minimum. Getting black-out drunk is not only a terrible way to end an evening, but it’s especially risky when you’re in a new place with unknown and possibly untrustworthy people.