Last Updated on April 15, 2023 by Jerardo Gomez
Best Travel Safety Tips in 2023
Traveling abroad to a new country, especially for the first time is exciting, scary, and anxious all at the same time. Whenever I travel, I try to be as well prepared as I can by the time I get to my destination for the most part all because you never know.
The risk of traveling is something that can never be completely avoided because bad things can happen in any part of the world including in the US where horrible things happen to normal people. More so when going to a tourist destination where people from all over the world go, it’s a place that is attracted to people wanting to take advantage of tourists (ex. Paris).
You hear from time to time news on TV or on the internet of travel horror stories that happen to ordinary people. I’ve heard of people being mugged, drugged, losing passports, getting lost, getting bank information stolen, scammed, and more. This article is to help prepare you so that the risk of traveling is greatly reduced. and you can feel more confident in your travels knowing these tips.
The reason why it’s important to be prepared is that you want to avoid unnecessary stresses, no surprises, and return to having a memorable experience. If wish I had someone to give me travel advice before one experience in St. Louis, Missouri. I was very young, and it was my first time traveling East as I’m from the West Coast. Little did I know that different parts of the country are very different from each other and it was a culture shock because I was expecting everything to be just like any other place in the West. I was there for just 5 days, and in that time I learned a lot quickly. I made many rookie mistakes. For example, I was sitting with my friends and had my phone on hand at a monorail when a man was asking for my phone because he had to call his mother for some emergency if I recall. I wanted to help, but my gut said NO! Red Flag! I put my phone away and as soon as we made our first stop, this man RAN OUT. That was a close one but it was something that I had not experienced or seen with my own eyes. I was also traveling public transportation heavily without really knowing how it worked as trains are a thing from where I’m from. Having these tips would have helped me to be more prepared when I was younger.
This article was written keeping in mind first time travelers, solo travelers, families, and women. Various different demographics have a greater degree to experience things differently but this article will help you be more aware of traveling safely.
*Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are our own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases at no cost to you.
Best Travel Tips
Before you go: pre-travel preparations
The state department has valuable travel information on every country. They will let you know about alerts, safety level, travel restrictions, visa information, vaccine guide, currency restrictions, embassy information, local laws, transportation, health, and more. They have really good information that everyone should take a look at because they let you know about expectations, safety, and general information travelers should be aware of and is the best way to research important travel information.
Verify Visa requirements
To check if your destination requires a visa, use the state department’s link above or you can use this website here. Typically if you need a visa to travel to a country, most countries allow applications online, through their embassy, or even on arrival to that country.
Get travel insurance: Travelex travel insurance
Getting travel insurance is the first step right before booking anything because it can cover your costs for to anything ever happen. You should have travel insurance that is reputable and covers the basics of travel cancelation, theft, and medical expenses. Always read the fine print.
I recommend Travelex Insurance because of its wide coverage. They cover trip cancellation or interruption, trip delay, missed connection, emergency medical & dental, emergency rescue, baggage and personal effects (luggage that has been stolen, lost, damaged or destroyed), baggage delay, travel assistance and more. This is a good for those who need travel medical insurance. They also have fast repayments and have a rate of 95.9% of claims paid according to their site.
Prepare accommodation and transportation beforehand if possible
Did you know that in some hotels and resorts, they are able to arrange free transportation from the airport in the form of a shuttle or private van? This is something that I always look into when going on a vacation because it saves you money, safe, and takes the stress away about the first hour of landing in a new country.
Oftentimes, the accommodation is partnered with a trusted transportation service because they want to keep you safe, and not be scammed, and if anything were to happen, the hotel will have to take responsibility.
Additionally, booking your hotel ahead of time will save money as booking on time will be cheaper than closer to the dates of stay. Helpful travel tips: preparing for long haul flights can save money by preparing ahead of time with cheap flights and flight deals that may arise.
It is always a good idea to share your itinerary, flight numbers, and address of where you are staying with trusted friends and family. That way they know to check up on you if anything were to happen. This can be 1-2 people or multiple people who are able to respond appropriately to any situation you may be in.
It is important to remember that when traveling, you should not overshare your travel plans with untrusted friends and family. Oversharing your plans with many people can increase the risk of others sabotaging your plans or even getting your home robbed. Don’t share too many details with co-workers to people who may know where you leave. Keep the details in your trusted circle.
Notify your bank about your travel destinations
Notifying your bank about travel destinations is an important step for any traveler. Doing so helps to prevent fraud and gives you peace of mind. Notifying your bank or credit card of your travel destinations so that they don’t put a hold on your accounts due to suspicious activity.
Smart travel app notified embassy, Canada has one
The Smart Traveler App is a revolutionary way to help streamline travel planning, reduce stress, and make sure trips are as safe and smooth as possible. It is a mobile app from the state department that helps travelers prepare for their travels in advance by providing access to important information such as visa requirements, travel insurance policies, accommodation, transportation options, and more. Canada has its own version called Smart Travel and your can sign up for notifications here.
Check for vaccine requirements
Some countries have diseases that your home country does not have. With COVID, some countries have now added vaccine or testing mandates before entering the country. Make sure to see if your destination has any requirements. Traveling to Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, and Asian countries are more likely to require more vaccines.
Make copies of important documents
Making copies of your identification documents is an important step in travel planning. Some countries like Japan for example require you to carry your passport at all times! Carrying something that important at all times is usually not a good idea but some countries call for it.
You also don’t want to be the person that loses their passport or ID. That is why if you ever did lose those documents, you should always have a paper copy or even a digital copy/picture of it for various reasons. That may speed up the process at an embassy for making a temporary passport, or it can be a quick way to show authorities your identification in a foreign country.
Plan wardrobe appropriately and save money
Planning your wardrobe for a trip abroad is essential for an enjoyable and stress-free experience. Knowing the climate of your destination and packing accordingly can help prevent any unexpected surprises and ensure that you are comfortable during your travels.
Different countries have different climates, dress codes, and cultural norms, so it’s important to research the customs of those countries. Places like temples in Asia may require modest clothing, or other places like the Middle East can have specific clothing requirements for women. You also don’t want to be that traveler that does not pack a sweater going to the UK in the winter. Plan attire accordingly to the area you are visiting so you don’t have to buy clothes there.
Learn common travel scams!
Being aware of common scams can help protect you from falling victim to a scammer, or even worse, becoming a victim of identity theft. Common travel scams are often sophisticated and have been around for many years. In some cases, they use modern technology like the internet to ambush unsuspecting travelers.
By learning common travel scams before your trip, you can be better prepared to spot potential threats and protect yourself from them. For instance, one common scam is someone posing as a taxi driver in a foreign country and offering lower fares than the going rate. This scammer may also offer additional services like sightseeing tours in exchange for money upfront but then disappear once they have received payment. By being aware of this type of scam, you can avoid it by forgoing offers for cheaper rides and only using official taxis at the airport or other established transportation hubs.
Another common scam that travelers should be aware of is card cloning. This occurs when criminals steal credit card information from unsuspecting victims by cloning their cards with electronic devices like skimmers or digital readers. These devices are usually placed on ATMs or vending machines where people tend to make purchases with their cards. By knowing about these types of scams, you can take extra precautions such as covering your hand while entering your PIN number or regularly checking your bank account statement online to ensure no unauthorized charges have been made on your card.
The best way to protect yourself from falling victim to any kind of scam is by researching the area you’re visiting prior to leaving on your trip and being aware of red flags that may signal danger ahead. You should also stay vigilant while traveling by not giving out personal information such as addresses or banking details to strangers and ensuring that any payments are handled securely through reputable companies with secure payment systems in place. Finally, if something doesn’t feel right during the course of your travels, trust your instincts and never hesitate to walk away without feeling bad about it!
Consider a travel backpack and filtered water bottle
From pickpockets to lost luggage, there are many potential dangers of traveling that can cause anxiety and stress. However, one way to help protect yourself is by investing in an anti-theft backpack. These backpacks feature special compartments where you can store your valuables safely and securely while on the go. They come with locks or straps that make them difficult for thieves to access, as well as slash-proof material that prevents thieves from cutting into them.
Using a filtered water bottle when traveling is essential for your health and safety. Unfiltered water from abroad can often contain bacteria and parasites that can cause serious illnesses or even death. Even if you are in a developed country, the water may not be safe to drink, as it may have been contaminated with pollutants such as chemicals and heavy metals. Therefore, it is important to consider using a filtered water bottle when traveling abroad. Filtered water bottles are designed to remove impurities from the water such as bacteria, parasites, and pollutants.
- Checking the weather of a destination beforehand sounds pretty obvious but it really is important for several reasons:
- You will know what times of the year you should avoid (ex. hurricane season, extreme conditions)
- Help you prepare for weather-appropriate clothing
- Alert you of possible storms or natural disasters
- Weather can affect flights and lead to cancelations or delays
Create a basic first-aid kit
Before taking any medications, make sure it is legal to actually take them. Many countries have restrictions on some medications and even OTC medicines like Tylenol. Once you find out if its legal, I would consider what you may need in an emergency.
I always take with me basics medicines in anticipation of stomach flu, food poisoning, pain’s, etc.
Here is my list of go-to:
Don’t take valuables you are willing to lose
Taking valuable items on your trip can be an attractive opportunity for thieves and other criminals looking to take advantage of unsuspecting tourists. Valuables such as expensive jewelry, large amounts of cash, or expensive electronics can easily be targeted by robbers or pick pocketers.
Travel insurance can help save you money in the event of theft, loss, or damage to your belongings while traveling. Theft is a real risk when traveling, and having travel insurance in place can help alleviate some of the financial burdens that can come with it. It won’t however recover sentimental items so if you are not willing to lose it, leave it at home.
When you get there
Be cautious with public wifi
When traveling, it is important to be aware of the dangers associated with using public Wi-Fi networks, including those found on airplanes and in airports, coffee shops, and hotels. Using public Wi-Fi can leave travelers vulnerable to cybercriminals who use unsecured networks to gain access to sensitive information, such as passwords and credit card information. There is a safe way of using public wifi which are VPNs which you can read about here.
You can get yourself Atlas VPN to secure your wifi.
Minimize the opportunity of theft
When traveling abroad, it is essential to take precautions to minimize the opportunities of theft. The best way to do this is to remain vigilant and aware of your surroundings. Stay in well-lit, populated areas and avoid displaying items that may attract thieves. Additionally, it is important to keep all valuables, such as smartphones, wallets, and jewelry out of sight and access for other individuals. I recommend never holding onto important items in your hand such as wallets or phones because you can easily get them snatched or place them somewhere and forget. Don’t use your phone in public streets where it can be snatched, and also try blending in with the locals and not look like a tourist.
Wear appropriate clothing
Wear clothing that is appropriate for the weather, region (middle east), religious sites, activities, culture, and blending in. Some countries have rules as to what should be worn in certain places so its best to research and make sure you don’t get thrown in jail or kicked out of a place for not wearing the right clothing.
Avoid flashy jewelry
Although this has been said before but wearing a lot of jewelry can make you a target for theft even if you leave it in your hotel as its never 100% secure. If you must bring it on your trip then I recommend keeping it in a safe until you need to use it for a special occasion such as a dinner date.
Keep friends and family updated
One of the most important reasons to keep friends and family updated on your vacation is for safety. By giving regular updates and check-ins, you can ensure that someone knows where you are and what you’re doing in case of an emergency. This way, if anything were to happen, whether it be an accident, a medical issue, or anything else, they are able to help you or contact the authorities sooner than if you were not to notify loved ones.
Food and water safety
Traveling abroad can be a great opportunity to explore different cultures, but it is also important to consider food and water safety. One of the best pieces of advice for staying safe while traveling is to be aware of food hygiene. Street food is often prepared quickly using fresh ingredients that give you an authentic taste of local cuisine. However, it is important to take certain precautions when eating street food such as examining the area for cleanliness and inspecting the vendor’s hygiene practices.
It is also essential to remain aware of water safety while abroad. Many countries have limited access to clean drinking water sources which could lead to illness if consumed by travelers. Please do not drink tap water without it being filtered. To stay healthy while traveling, it is recommended to opt for bottled water and check the labels closely before consumption. It is also advised that travelers bring their own water bottle with them when exploring new destinations. This can reduce plastic waste while providing a reliable source of hydration throughout your trip.
Overall, traveling abroad should be considered a fun learning experience with proper planning and precautionary measures in place. By taking time to research each destination ahead of time, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable experience no matter where you go!
Check your surroundings
Being aware of your surroundings is necessary because you want to know if someone is following you or is looking at something you have that they want. You don’t want to be in a super crowded place as it can increase the chances of pickpocketing.
Don’t draw attention
You don’t want to stand out when you are abroad or else this will make you a target.
Avoid holding valuables
Don’t walk with valuables on hand such as phones or wallets because you don’t want to get robbed or accidentally lose any items.
Be wary of pick pocketers
Pick pocketers are an unfortunate commonality in many areas of the world. Learn about destinations where theft is commonplace like Paris or Barcelona. Whether you’re traveling to a large city, a popular tourist destination or a small town off the beaten path, it’s important to understand what pick pocketers look for and how to spot them.
First and foremost, pick pocketers usually work in groups. Watch out for any individuals who appear to be in cahoots, as they may have their eyes set on you and your belongings. If possible, try to avoid large crowds or busy streets where it is easy to get lost in the commotion; pick pocketers work best when there’s a lot of confusion around them.
Use reputable transportation
It is important to get reputable transportation whenever you are traveling. The last thing you want is to be scammed or taken advantage of when in an unfamiliar place. Hotels can often arrange for transportation for their guests, which eliminates some of the stress of getting from one place to another. If using a taxi, be sure to ask about the price before getting on and make sure the driver does not take an alternate route than expected. There are many common taxi scams that travelers should try to avoid at all costs. Some scams include having broken meters if you ask to have it on and they don’t leave. Have a price set before getting into a taxi, sometimes the price will change once at your destination. If this happens I recommend stating the agreed price, pay it and then leaving. I also always take pictures of the license plate before getting in.
Ask the locals
There are several things you should be asking locals such as taxi drivers and hotel staff about the city. I ask about what is the average fare cost, safety recommendations such as places to avoid, and even recommendations. One thing you don’t want to do is overshare information about yourself and never tell anyone about your hotel stay. Additionally never tell anyone you are traveling solo, you can always lie and say you have others with you. If someone asks if this is your first trip, trust your gut and pretend like you have been there before.
Safeguard hotel room
When traveling, it is always important to be mindful of your personal safety and the security of your possessions. One way to keep your hotel room safe is to always use the door locks whenever you are in the room or away from it. Additionally, you should also consider using a door stop, or door guard that can be wedged under the door when you are inside the room. This will make it harder for a potential thief to breaking in and can provide some peace of mind while you’re away from your belongings.
Another great tip is to leave your valuables at home or in the hotel safe, as these items can be highly desirable targets for thieves. If you don’t want housecleaning in or want to pretend like you are there then leave a Do Not Disturb sign on the door while you are away. Lastly, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings, as well as any suspicious or unfamiliar people.
Avoid being alone
You don’t want to be walking alone if you have that option because there is power in numbers. If you are traveling solo then you can stay in populated areas and not walk all in quiet places.
Avoid walking at night
When traveling abroad, it is important to be aware of your surroundings and the risks associated with being out and about at night. Most places have some areas that may not be safe for walking at night, especially if you are unfamiliar with the area. There is also a higher risk of becoming a target for crime when out alone after dark.
Avoid risk photos
Traveling abroad can be an incredibly exciting and rewarding experience, but there are some risks that should be avoided when it comes to capturing that perfect photo. Taking risky photos in another country can have dire consequences, as several people have tragically discovered after attempting dangerous stunts for the sake of a picture.
From slipping off ice-covered cliffs to getting a bit too close to wild animals, tourists should always be aware of their surroundings and take the necessary precautions before taking a photo.
1. Drink in moderation: Drinking to excess can lead to poor decision-making, putting you at risk of theft, assault or other dangerous situations.
2. Know the legal drinking age: Before partaking in any alcoholic beverages while traveling abroad, make sure you know the local legal drinking age and abide by it.
3. Research each country’s restrictions: Different countries have different laws surrounding alcohol consumption and purchase which may differ from what is allowed back home — know before you go!
4. Be mindful of cultural sensitivities: Not all cultures are open about alcohol consumption and many places look down upon public drunkenness; therefore it’s important to be aware of how your behavior might be seen and adjust accordingly if needed.
5. Watch for spiked drinks: When out drinking with friends or strangers, always keep an eye on your drink as certain drugs can easily be added without detection making a person vulnerable to theft or worse.
In an emergency in a foreign country
In an emergency abroad, it is important to be prepared and know how to respond. The first step is to familiarize yourself with the local emergency number. In many countries this may be different from back home, so make sure you have the correct number stored in your phone just in case. Additionally, make sure you research the closest embassy or consulate of your country in the area where you are located. This can be a great resource in an emergency as they are able to provide assistance and guidance when needed.
Having access to download offline maps can also be incredibly helpful in times of no internet access as it allows you to view your current location without needing a data connection. This can help when navigating unfamiliar areas or streets and help you find safety quickly if necessary.
If something happens while traveling, whether it is medical related or an attack by a person or animal, try not to panic and take appropriate steps to ensure your safety. If possible, call for help immediately by dialing the local emergency number that you researched before your trip. If there is no response then move quickly away from danger towards a populated area and look for help there if possible such as members of law enforcement or local health care providers.
When contacting authorities during an emergency situation abroad always make sure that they are aware that you are a visitor and provide them with relevant details such as your full name, passport number, address of where you are staying, etc. It may also be helpful to carry around a printed list of all contact information of people who might need updates on your situation such as family members or officials at the embassy/consulate in case communication is cut off due to lack of service or other disruptions.
It is also important to remember not to confront any assailants since this could put you into further danger; instead, run away and seek help if possible.
In summary, being prepared for any potential emergencies while traveling abroad is vital for ensuring personal safety and security. Knowing the local emergency numbers, researching where the nearest embassy/consulate is located, having access to offline maps with directions on how best to navigate unfamiliar environments – these should all form part of any traveler’s preparation routine before heading off on their journey!
After reading this blog, you now feel more confident and prepared to travel safely. There’s always a bit of discomfort, especially when it comes to exploring new places, but having the right tools, mindset and knowledge will go a long way in providing peace of mind. Of course, you can never predict everything so be sure to make an effort to stay informed about the destination prior to your trip and watch out for any news reports or advisories. From researching ahead of time to leveraging helpful technology during your travels, these safety tips will help ensure your well-being both before and throughout your movement. Don’t forget: Use these travel safety tips! They are at the heart of a memorable journey that will leave you feeling joyful and secure with each new discovery you make. Go forth and explore with confidence!
If you like this article, check out this other one here!
FAQs for Travel Safety Tips
Researching the destination and being aware of any potential safety hazards or areas to avoid.
Keeping a low profile and being aware of your surroundings, especially in crowded or unfamiliar areas.
Being aware of local laws and customs, and respecting them.
Staying in contact with family and friends
Being prepared for emergencies by carrying a fully charged phone, knowing the local emergency number, and having travel insurance.
Being mindful of your personal security, such as not carrying valuables in plain sight, and being aware of pickpockets and other common scams.
Keeping an eye on your drink and being aware of the danger of date rape drugs.
Being aware of health risks, such as vaccinations and preventive measures against mosquito-borne illnesses.
Be aware of your surroundings: Keep an eye on your belongings at all times and especially in crowded or unfamiliar areas.
Keep a low profile: Avoid wearing expensive or flashy jewelry, and keep your valuables out of plain sight.
Stay alert: Be aware of people who may be acting suspiciously or who may be trying to distract you.
Be aware of pickpockets: Keep your purse or bag close to your body, and be aware of anyone who may be trying to steal from you.
Use caution on public transportation: Keep your valuables close and be aware of your surroundings, especially in crowded areas.
Don’t leave your drink unattended: Be aware of the danger of date rape drugs and never leave your drink unattended.
Follow local laws and customs: Be familiar with local laws and customs, and respect them at all times.
Avoid dark and isolated areas: Walk in well-lit areas and try to avoid isolated or poorly lit streets, alleys, and parks.
Trust your instincts: If you feel uncomfortable or unsafe in a particular area, leave the area and find a safe place.
Have a plan: It’s helpful to know the location of the nearest police station, hospital, and embassy or consulate in case of an emergency.
Traveling alone can be a great way to explore new places and have unique experiences, but it also means you will have to be extra vigilant to stay safe. It’s important to be aware of your surroundings, stay in contact with friends or family, and have a plan for what to do in case of an emergency.
Traveling with a group of people you don’t know can also be a great way to meet new people and explore new places, but it’s important to be aware of the potential risks. It’s important to be careful about sharing personal information, and be mindful of the group’s itinerary and the places you will be visiting. It’s also important to have a plan for what to do in case you get separated from the group.
There are several group vacation and tour options out there that are great for people not wanting to travel alone, you just have to seek these options.
Use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to protect your data: When using public Wi-Fi, it’s important to protect your personal information by using a VPN.
Use location-sharing apps and update family
Keep your phone charged: Make sure to keep your phone charged and bring a power bank as backup power.
Report the loss to the local police: Report the loss of your passport to the local police and get a copy of the police report. This will be needed when you apply for a replacement passport.
Contact your nearest embassy or consulate: Contact the nearest embassy or consulate of your country as soon as possible. They will be able to provide you with the necessary forms and instructions for getting a replacement passport.
Gather required documents: Gather required documents such as a copy of the police report, two passport-sized photographs, and any other documents required by the embassy or consulate.
Submit the application and pay the fee: Submit the application and pay the fee for a replacement passport. The processing time and fee may vary depending on the country you are in.
Visit the state department’s website on traveling abroad to find out.
Research the destination: Be familiar with the local laws, customs, and any potential safety hazards or areas to avoid.
Have travel insurance: Make sure you have travel insurance that covers medical emergencies, trip cancellation, and lost or stolen items.
Learn the basics of the local language: Knowing a few key phrases can be very helpful in case of an emergency or when trying to navigate unfamiliar surroundings.
Make copies of important documents: Make copies of your passport, ID, and keep them in a safe place, such as a password-protected cloud service or an encrypted USB drive.
Be mindful of local laws and customs: Be familiar with local laws and customs, and respect them at all times.
Be prepared for emergencies: Keep a fully charged phone, know the local emergency number, and have a plan for what to do in case of an emergency.
Be aware of currency exchange rate: Be familiar with the currency exchange rate and be mindful of the cost of goods and services.
Be aware of the time zone: Be aware of the time zone of your destination and try to adjust your sleep schedule accordingly.
Follow the advice of the Government: Stay informed about the country you are visiting by checking the government’s travel advice website and register with the Smart Traveller program of your country.
Additional budget travel tips:
- Save money by doing free walking tours and asking for cheap things to do with the local tourism office.
- Free travel ideas can be gathered from other travelers who can tell you about popular tourist attractions, give helpful tips, and free activities.
- Get some of the best deals including flight deals when booking flights to have amazing moments by traveling to a new destination in a layover instead of direct reaching your final destination. This is a way you can be saving money in an international trip while traveling the world.
- Eat local food or eat street food and prices tend to be cheaper than foreign restaurant food.
- Use credit cards without foreign transaction fee