The world is not as dangerous as we are made to believe. In fact, it is quite safe if you take proper precautions and are aware of your surroundings. Still, it is always good to know some of the basic tips that will help keep you safe in the event you find yourself in an unfortunate situation abroad, or simply to help you avoid them in the first place.
When traveling, it is good to separate and store your money and important documents in different places. You know the common saying: "Don’t put all your eggs in one basket." If you carry more than one bag, spread your money and documents between these and store them in hidden pockets. Should you lose a bag, you’ll always have the money and cards in the other one as a backup.
When going out, only carry the amount of money you’ll need for the day, credit/debit card, and an ID. If you believe you might need more money, cover the rest with a credit/debit card. Just keep in mind that it is always good to have some money with you all the time, and some safely stored back in your hotel.
I’m the first one to say that this tip is hard to follow, but trust me, following it is the smart thing to do. If mugged, give over your wallet, phone, or whatever is being asked for at the moment. Chances are they’ll run and leave you unharmed.
If you have insurance, and your items are covered, it shouldn’t be a problem to replace them or get the value back. I often recommend not traveling with irreplaceable items with personal value (like your grandpa’s watch) to avoid losing them. Simply leave them safely stored back home.
It’s always good to have a copy of all your important travel documents like passport, visas, travel insurance, yellow fever card, and others. While it’s useful to have a hard copy of everything; it is even smarter to save them in the cloud or send them to yourself via email. The RoamRight mobile app is an ideal option for storing copies of important documents. These will be easily accessible via any smartphone or computer should they be needed in an emergency.
Are there current safety concerns? You can find about them in the US Department of State Website. Should you take into consideration a specific dress code for certain areas? When in doubt, have one conservative dressing option available. Are there neighborhoods you should avoid? The RoamRight app is a great resource for a lot of this critical information.
Learn how to reach your hotel with public or private transportation, and how easy it is to move around on your own should you decide to explore the city on foot.
Additionally, it is good to know where or how to reach local authorities in case of an emergency. Learn how to dial a local number in your destination. Not all countries are as straightforward when it comes to dialing, and some require the input of a carrier code or other number in addition to the phone number.
On a similar note to the previous tip, learn where your country’s embassy or consulate is located. Should you lose your passport or find yourself in any trouble abroad, your country’s embassy will help replace your passport in site or help resolve any foreign issue you might find yourself in. You can find your embassy’s location via a Google Maps search, a Google search with "Embassy of [your country] in [destination city]", or by visiting the Department of State’s website travel section (for Americans) or the travel section of your home country’s governmental site.
It’s also smart to sign up for the complimentary Smart Traveler Enrollment Program so the trip is officially enrolled with the government.
These are simple tips, but when it comes to safety, even the simplest tip can help tremendously.
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Norbert Figueroa is an architect who hit the pause button on his career in 2011 to do a round the world trip. He's been blogging for over three years at globotreks.com, where he shares his travel experiences, budget travel tips, and a good dose of world architecture. From hiking Mount Kilimanjaro to diving with great white sharks, he is always on the search of adrenaline and adventure. Norbert is originally from Puerto Rico and he is currently based in Milan, Italy... when not roaming around the world, that is. He has traveled to more than 80 countries in 5 continents and his goal is to travel to all 193 U.N. recognized countries. Follow Norbert on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google Plus.
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