There’s so much to love about traveling. Vacation days pass by fast when you’re indulging in the local cuisine, taking in new exotic sights, and soaking in the art and culture of your surroundings.
However, when it comes to travel, the journey is almost as important as the destination. Just think about how many road trip movies you’ve seen where Murphy’s Law is in full effect. Cross-country and international travel are both scenarios where anything can happen, so it’s especially important to think ahead.
If you’re currently plotting your next vacation getaway, consider the following 10 tips that will keep you, your party, and your belongings safe.
#1 – Thoroughly Research Your Destination
Chewing gum is illegal in Singapore. You’ll be served a hefty fine if you’re caught spitting in Barcelona. High heels are a no-no in Greece. These are just a few examples of things you should know before entering a foreign country. If you plan on traveling internationally, take the time to familiarize yourself with:
- Local customs and cultures
- Local laws
- Primary and secondary languages spoken
- Location of nearest hospital or healthcare facility
- Areas with high criminal activity
- Location of nearest embassy or consulate
#2 – Get All Your Paperwork in Order
A valid driver’s license is all you need for domestic travel. International travel, on the other hand, requires a valid passport. Make digital copies of the passport and store them on your smartphone and on the cloud. If you wind up losing your passport or it’s stolen, the digital copies will serve as your backup.
#3 – Be Careful About Where You Book Your Stay
Never book a hotel with a “lowest price wins” mentality. That could land you in a bad part of town or in a hotel with less-than-stellar service and amenities. If you are planning to travel to Austin, Texas, for example, try searching the phrase “highest-rated Austin hotels” or “luxury Austin hotels” to help filter out some of the low-quality search results.
#4 – Purchase Travel Insurance When Booking Your Flights
The tricky thing about insurance is that most people don’t think they need it until the moment they do. Granted, paying an extra 6% for travel insurance may seem like a waste of money at the time, but if something goes wrong with your flights, you’ll be glad you have it.
#5 – Pack Strategically
Depending on the scope of your trip, you might have to check a bag or two with the airline. Do yourself a favor and pack all your essentials and high-dollar valuables in your carry-on, or keep them on your person. If the airline somehow loses your luggage, you can take solace in the fact that all your most important items are still in your possession. Be sure to place an Apple Tag or similar tracking device in each piece of luggage so you can locate them using GPS.
#6 – Be Careful with Money
Although the likelihood of being robbed is slim – especially if you avoid unsafe areas – you should still plan your travels with worst-case scenarios in mind. Never flash a huge wad of cash in public; you never know who’s watching. Further, never keep all your cash in your wallet or purse. Split up your cash and hide it in different areas on your person.
#7 – Keep Your Trip Off Social Media
Never publicly announce the days you’ll be out of town on social media. Unless you have a top-of-the-line home security system or a house sitter lined up, that makes you an easy target for a home invasion. If you really want to cover your bases, don’t publicly check in anywhere or post any out-of-town photos until you’re back home.
#8 – Stay Connected with the People Who Matter
Stay connected with friends or family back home by sharing your itinerary and updating them regularly. You can also consider using travel apps that allow your loved ones to track your location for added security.
#9 – Always Be Mindful of Your Surroundings
Maintain situational awareness at all times. Be cautious in crowded areas, and avoid displaying signs of wealth, such as expensive jewelry or tech. Trust your instincts; if a situation feels uncomfortable, remove yourself from it. Finally, be careful when consuming alcohol or when accepting drinks from friendly strangers.
#10 – Protect Your Data
Today’s hackers are smarter and using more complex methods to remotely access smartphone devices, which means you must exercise extreme caution. Use secure Wi-Fi connections, avoid accessing sensitive information on public networks, and consider using a virtual private network (VPN) to encrypt your internet connection and protect your data.
It’s Much Easier to Relax When You Feel Safe
Peace of mind is an essential ingredient to any vacation. If you’re constantly worried about the security of your home or if your luggage will make it to your final destination, you won’t be able to fully cut loose and enjoy yourself.
Traveling safely is a combination of preparedness, awareness, and responsible decision-making. By following our travel tips and best practices, you can embark on your next journey with complete confidence.