Staying safe while traveling: The basics

Tips like the following can help ensure safety before you even leave your house.

Published: 07th October 2016 06:14 PM  |   Last Updated: 14th September 2021 09:23 PM   |  A+A-

An airplane taking off. (Photo: AP file photo)

Travel is a great way to see the world and learn more about its people and cultures. And whether it's for business or pleasure, travel almost always enriches our lives in one way or another. And while most of us know the importance of safe travel, some of us might not know what all that entails. Thankfully, by learning a few basics, you can ensure your safety and well-being, no matter your destination. Keep reading to learn more!

Planning Ahead

As soon as you've made your travel plans, you can start planning for a safe trip. Tips like the following can help ensure safety before you even leave your house. 

Research. If you're unfamiliar with your destination, do your research. Find out about safe areas, safe hotels, as well as areas and establishments you should avoid. Print out maps, brochures and other helpful pieces of information, and try to familiarize yourself with the area.

Packing. So you're able to move about freely, pack as lightly as possible. Also, make sure to pack your passport and other important forms of identification, as well as medications, insurance info and other necessary items. When it comes to money, don't bring too much, but make sure you're covered in an emergency. Also, it's a good idea to save phone numbers and contact info for money-wiring services. For example, if you're traveling to New Delhi and experience an unexpected cash shortage, you can have a friend or family member send money to India. 

Know the laws and customs. If you're traveling to a foreign country, it's a good idea to familiarize yourself with the local laws and customs. For example, countries like Iran have strict laws regarding issues like modesty and alcohol consumption, so make sure you know to dress and behave accordingly. 

Know the language. If you don't know the language, you can at least learn a few important words and phrases. You could also look into a pocket translator to help in tricky situations. 

Keep loved ones informed. Always leave a detailed itinerary with someone back home, along with instructions on what to do if you don't check in at certain times. 

Staying Safe in Your Hotel

In addition to researching your lodgings, you can take measures like the following to ensure safety:
Know the way out. Find and memorize emergency exits, and know where to locate and use fire alarms, extinguishers and other safety features. 

Secure your valuables. If your hotel has a safe, use it to store your cash, travelers checks, jewelry, passport and other valuables. 

Lock up. Keep your door and windows locked at all times. If your room has a balcony, make sure it, too, is secure. 

Be discreet. Ask that staff members not give out your room number to visitors. Instead, meet guests in the lobby or other common areas. 

Be aware. Being aware of your surroundings can go a long way in ensuring personal safety. For example, avoiding suspicious strangers, dark hallways, stairwells and secluded areas is always recommended. 

Protect Yourself While Out and About

When seeing the signs, keep the following safety pointers in mind:

Keep a low profile. Avoid drawing attention to yourself by keeping a low profile. Keep cash and jewelry out of sight, and try to blend in as much as possible. Also, since thieves and other criminals often target tourists, try not to look too "touristy." For example, don't make a big production of looking at your map or taking photos. 

Stay sober. While having a few drinks may seem harmless, alcohol can lower inhibitions, and can also increase the risk of getting lost, injured or victimized. 

Beware of strangers. Getting to know the locals is one of the best parts of traveling. However, you should never reveal any personal information to strangers. Don't share your travel plans or divulge where you're staying to anyone, no matter how harmless they seem. 

Be confident, but aware. Appearing unsure of yourself can make you a target. Instead, exude confidence while staying aware of your surroundings. 

With the tips provided here, you can stay safe and enjoy your travels, no matter your destination. Bon voyage! 


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