This post was most recently updated on June 13th, 2023
Vacations are supposed to help take your mind off stressful situations, not cause them. Unfortunately, there’s a lot that could go wrong during your trip and cause you to have a negative vacation experience. You don’t even have to travel abroad to have bad stuff happen. Some of the usual travel bummers, including flight delays, bad weather, etc., are well out of your control. With these six travel safety tips, you can avoid the problems you can control.
Some events have the potential to ruin your adventure, such as getting robbed or scammed during your trip. But if you are prepared, you should be able to avoid them. That’s what this article is aiming for — to keep you safe throughout your trip. Read on.
1. Make Copies of Important Documents
Your passport, driver’s license, and other essential documents are arguably the most important thing you carry when traveling. Unfortunately, these documents are easy to misplace. Scan important documents to save online and print out a few hard copies. Store copies separately from the original documents. In case of lost or stolen documents, having digital and hard copies of the same will make the process of getting a replacement a lot less stressful.
2. Register With Your Embassy
Your country’s embassy can help you out in case of an emergency. For instance, the U.S. Department of State offers the Smart Traveller Enrollment Program (STEP). This program makes the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate aware of your arrival and keeps you up to date with the most recent safety information. It’s free to enroll, and it’s available for all United States citizens and nationals traveling or living abroad.
3. Be Careful With Public Wi-Fi
Putting aside the fact that using public Wi-Fi is always a bad idea, you really shouldn’t connect to public Wi-Fi hotspots when traveling abroad. If you have to, make sure that you take the necessary security precautions. If you want to access the Internet securely while traveling, you need to set up a Virtual Private Network (VPN). Protect your device with a VPN on public Wi-Fi to keep hackers from stealing sensitive data, like Social Security or credit card numbers.
Since having valuable information stolen could affect you long after your trip, this may be one of the most important six travel safety tips!
For another valuable resource on this topic, see Safe and Secure: Best Online Safety Practices for Travelers.
4. Ask Local Residents for Advice
Locals are the best source of reliable information in any destination. If you want to know which parts of town are safe and where you are most likely to get mugged, ask residents. Most locals are warm and friendly and will let you know if you are about to stray into dangerous parts of town. If you ask a stranger for advice, be sure to get a second opinion just in case they don’t know what they are talking about or are trying to scam you.
5. Lock Up Your Valuables
Keep valuable items secured safely in your hotel room for security reasons. If you are staying at a backpacking hostel, make sure that you carry your own locker padlock. The regular travel backpack is not a sufficient deterrent for a determined thief, even if it has a lock. If you are using a rental car, do not leave anything in the car in plain sight. Always be aware of your items to make it difficult for someone to steal your stuff without you knowing.
6. Don’t Get Scammed
Tourists are a popular target for scammers. You will be a lot less likely to fall for a scam if you’ve heard about it in advance. Do your research to know what the scam artists in your destination are up to before you arrive. Read traveler reviews and consult with locals where possible for information about popular scams and other incidences of crime targeting tourists and foreigners. Knowledge is protection!
Nothing ruins a vacation quicker than getting robbed, scammed, or losing important travel or identification documents during your trip. Use these six travel safety tips to ensure that your trip is memorable only for the right reasons.