Pro Tips For Travel Safety


Whenever I leave the house for the day, my dad asks me the same question, "What are you going to do?" I know he isn't inquiring about the specifics of my agenda but rather how alert I will be as I go about my day. I always reply with, "I'll keep my head on a swivel," and this phrase has become ingrained in my head, whether I'm waiting on the subway platform or walking around unfamiliar streets of a foreign country. As you plan for your next travel expedition, whether exploring somewhere new within your home country or venturing far beyond your continent, safety should always be top of mind. For all travelers, seasoned or new, follow these pro tips to ensure your next getaway is fun and, most importantly, safe.

Safety side note: The content in this blog is intended to increase awareness and provide insights about travel safety. As the reader, it's up to you to determine how your identity may impact your level of safety in specific locations or situations.

Research your destination: It may sound obvious, but researching the general area you're visiting before you decide to venture there is important. With our ever-changing world, it can't hurt to be aware of what's happening outside our bubbles before we officially leave them. Check official travel advisories to tune into the current status before venturing out.

Health precautions: Some countries may require proof of certain vaccinations to be granted access to enter, and for others, you might want to play it safe and get those malaria pills just in case. Check with reputable sites like the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention for guidance on which countries require specific vaccinations.

Share your travel itinerary: Yes, you're I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T, but let a loved one know your whereabouts when traveling. You can do this by sharing your accommodation plans, flight details, a copy of your passport, and even your digital location with them through your phone. 

Travel insurance: There's a time and place for taking chances, but skipping out on travel insurance is not one of them! Out of your country, your medical insurance is likely irrelevant, so purchasing comprehensive travel insurance that covers medical emergencies, trip cancellations, or lost or stolen belongings is the smart move. It can save you thousands of dollars during a worst-case scenario.

Stay connected: For many, our phones are our lifeline. Travel with a portable charger to help you stay connected and ensure you've got the right cords and outlet adapters to match! 

Carbon monoxide detectorCarbon Monoxide is probably not something we think about often or ever, but it's a vital safety concern to keep in mind. Depending on where you travel, some hotels or hostels might not be equipped with the proper monitoring. Take precautions and purchase a travel-size carbon monoxide detector that easily fits your luggage.

Transportation safety: Set up Uber or other ride-sharing apps before you leave. You don't want to start fiddling with your account or payment method if there's an emergency! Where ride-sharing is unavailable, be sure to have the number of a taxi service on hand. You can also share your ride with friends to follow along or add a PIN that a driver must give you before starting your ride. 

Credit cards: Check the expiration dates on your debit and credit cards before your trip, and confirm if your banking institution needs to be made aware you're traveling out of the country to avoid any blocks on your cards. Once those details are in order, be sure to bring more than one card with you, but consider leaving one of them in a safe and secure spot when you go about your day. 

Don't dress like a tourist: Try to dress like you belong in the location you are visiting. Consider the culture you are entering and avoid sporting sentimental valuables like expensive jewelry or purses. Leave the big backpacks at your accommodation when walking around public spaces, and please leave the graphic "Vacation mode" shirts where you found them! It's likely that without trying, you might stand out like a sore thumb anyway, so avoid calling any more attention to your tourist self. 

Leave valuables in a secure spot: Once your passport has been stamped, leave it in a safe place at your accommodation instead of carrying it with you. As you explore (with your passport resting safely elsewhere), consider leaving your headphones behind, too. Not only are these distracting when you're walking around your own city, but you also lose part of your senses, leaving you susceptible to many distractions.

Never say you're traveling solo: if you're traveling alone (especially as a woman), you may run into uncomfortable situations where a driver or stranger asks about your travel plans. Here's how you can respond:

  • Where are you staying? The Hilton or Marriott. These are two very common global hotel chains. Keep it vague and broad.
  • Are you traveling alone? No, I'm on my way to meet my partner and friends.

Cultural sensitivity: Stepping outside your bubble means cultures and etiquette may differ from what you know. Be respectful of local customs, traditions, languages, attire, and behavior to enjoy your travel experience and to ensure your safety.  

Keep your head on a swivel: Avoid poorly lit or isolated areas, especially at night, and if a situation feels unsafe, trust your instincts and remove yourself from it. Keep tabs on your surroundings, and if alcohol is involved, drink responsibly. 

Whether traveling solo or adventuring with friends, prioritizing safety is the cornerstone of any successful trip. From researching the destination to exploring new places with sensible caution, we can keep our well-being at the forefront and enjoy our well-deserved holidays. "Playing it safe" might shift according to the location and traveler, but traveling in numbers (like group travel) can add a layer of safety if you're looking for extra safety travel ideas. So what are you waiting for? Grab your travel insurance and call your mom to let her know you're planning a trip with active and social group travel organizer SurfYogaBeer.