Top Tips To Stay Safe When Traveling

December 12, 2022

Whether you are traveling solo or with a family, you need to make sure you are secure and safe, which means forward planning and assessing the reality of the risks in the country you are traveling to and the hotel you are staying in. Read the article below for some insights about the security risks you are likely to face and some possibilities that you may not be aware of yet. 

Carry out travel research 

Travel research is an often-overlooked aspect of the travel process, but without it, you can run into all kinds of obstacles. For instance, you might not understand the local language and overpay in the taxi; you might also offend someone because of a custom in the local area. 

Travel research can be carried out at any time; you are never too late, so even if you find yourself reading about the locations on the plane, it is still a valuable contribution. That said, it is always better to start your research as soon as you can to accumulate more knowledge. 

No matter where you are traveling to, you should be able to find a Lonely Planet guide or a Rough Guides that will give you the best broad-brush overview of a place. In addition, you can make some phone calls and collect some more information and details with hands-on research.  

Turn yourself into a local 

One of the dangers of traveling as a single person or with a family is the risk of looking like tourists and becoming a target for local criminals. Unfortunately, this is a danger that you need to acknowledge and avoid. One of the best ways to avoid detection is to look as much like one of the locals as you can, which is easier said than done, especially when you visit some places.

Although it can be tricky, it is not impossible to blend in with the local people; even foreigners are part of the local communities nowadays. If you are visiting a place for a few weeks, go shopping in the local mall and kit yourself and your family out in some of the lovely local fabrics; then, you can enjoy a rich cultural experience as you move around the streets and in the hotel.   

Follow the local laws 

The last thing you want is to get caught out by one of the local laws that differ from your home state; this is a common occurrence, especially if you are taking a holiday in your home country. As part of your holiday research, look into the local laws of an area and make sure you align with them when driving or heading out; remember, drunk driving is DUI a felony in some states.

A DUI felony means driving under the influence; it is a serious offense in some states and means you have a black mark on your driving record; this offense also carries a substantial fine and some possible jail time – not the ideal way for a holiday to end. Nevertheless, a drunk driving offense can be avoided when you carry out proper research and have a quality lawyer.  

Hold onto important documents 

In order to travel successfully, you need a few documents in your possession; you need a passport, a driving license, and the tickets for your flight and hotel to prove you are traveling for pleasure and not as business at the airport. It is important to keep them very safe at all times.

Be careful about giving your documents away if you travel for business, some overseas jobs might require your passport for administration reasons, and some hotels want to hold onto it for the duration of your stay. While this is permitted, you need to have a backup to support you.

Whether you are traveling for business or pleasure, make sure you have plenty of backups for your important documents, these can include hard copies of your passport and driving license or saved copies on your smartphone device or cloud-based email account for you to access fast. 

Talk to friends and family 

If you are heading off on a camping trip, one of the first things you do is contact your friends and family to tell them where you are going and when to expect you back; this is one of the main safety features of a camping trip. When it comes to conventional traveling to another state or overseas, this practice is less common, but there are plenty of reasons to take these measures. 

If there is an incident overseas, such as a natural disaster or a political event, you can contact your friends and family, and they can get in touch with you to check you are alright. At the same time, your property back home is safer when your neighbors know when to expect you back; they can always report any suspicious activity at your property when it’s lying empty for weeks.            

Be wary of public wi-fi

Wi-Fi is a powerful and effective service that has transformed the world, but its convenience has opened up safety concerns, especially around data protection on public wi-fi networks. It is very easy to log into a public wi-fi network and use the services but beware of the local cybercrime. 

A new danger has presented itself to travelers. Staying safe while traveling is no longer just about keeping your documents safe and carrying your cash in secret compartments; it is also about how and where you use the internet. There are ways to secure your data on public wi-fi. 

It is so easy to walk into a local cafe and sign onto their wi-fi network in a few clicks, but it is much harder to maintain a secure connection. Use a VPN to scramble the signal of public networks and maintain better security. A VPN is a small investment, but it is worth it for peace of mind.   

Keep your hotel room safe 

You take your key from the front desk and make your way to the room a few floors up; you sort out your luggage, freshen up, and then head out to explore the local area. In the meantime, someone in the hotel has gained access to your room and is presently robbing some valuables. 

Hotel rooms should be secure, but that is not always the case, especially with professionals operating. Not only can someone gain access to the room, but there are cleaners that also pose a security risk. Always store your valuables away, even when you are visiting for a short time.   

Stay alert in the local area 

It is important to fit into the local area and to look like a local even if you do not sound like one; that said, you also need to look out for your communication methods and what you talk about. If you are in a public space, do not reveal any sensitive information that could lead to a break-in.

If you want more information about the local area, there is nothing wrong with researching it before you stay there; you can call the local police and read some of the older newspapers in the library for statistics and risk assessments. With more information, you can feel safer abroad.  

Final thoughts 

Traveling abroad can be risky, especially these days, with so many security and health risks around every corner; that is why it makes sense to carry out some basic research before you travel and make your journey safe and predictable. If you are traveling with a family, it is even more important to address the security risks and make sure your family is as safe as possible.   

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Andi Perullo de Ledesma

I am Andi Perullo de Ledesma, a Chinese Medicine Doctor and Travel Photojournalist in Charlotte, NC. I am also wife to Lucas and mother to Joaquín. Follow us as we explore life and the world one beautiful adventure at a time.

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