Travel Safety Tips

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Exploring the world is a wonderful experience, but not all places are secure, and not everyone on the earth is respectful of your well-being. Traveling to unfamiliar destinations can bring the sort of problems you don’t want to experience. The unprepared tourists can easily fall prey to the unscrupulous predator.  Sometimes an act of nature or an accident can inconvenience the traveler and ruin the enjoyment of the vacation.

On one of my trips out of the country, I was touring a city and traveling via subway.  I was wearing a pear of cargo pants style shorts and carrying my wallet securely buttoned into one of the pockets.  Somewhere along the way, someone managed to slit the bottom of the pocket open with a sharp instrument and my wallet dropped out without me knowing.  Fortunately, I wasn’t carrying all my money in my wallet, but I had credit cards and other important information in there, and it was quite an inconvenience to settle those problems.

Now, when I’m traveling, I prepare for my trip so as to be as secure as possible, irrespective of whether I’m traveling only a few miles for the camping trip or thousands of miles around the globe to a foreign destination.

I have a number of things that I prepare before I embark on any trip. Besides the common sense things like filling the gas tank, packing my baggage, and asking the neighbors to take care of the pets while we are away, there are several other safety measures that I consider. I believe that a few highly recommended precautions and pre-vacation thoughts will help you make sure that your travels are safe and fun. Here are a few travel safety tips to help make your trip as safe as possible.

Know and Understand Your Intended Destination

It’s important that you know about your destination, whether locally or overseas. Before you leave your home, it is a good idea to do a little research on the safety concerns of the location you will be traveling to.  It’s a good idea to have a little knowledge of the crime rate, and high crime areas around your destination, and to know how to access the local area emergency personnel if need arise.

If you will be staying in a hotel, you should ensure that they have a television channel devoted to hotel news. This may come in handy in case of an emergency.

It’s also a good idea to pay attention to the floor you’re on and where your room is located in relation to emergency stairwells.  Request a room that is on the lower levels, but not on the main level so that you are as near to the ground as you can be in case of a necessary evacuation.

Keep Your Details Safe and Available

Scan your passport, paper tickets, and passport photos and email them to your personal account, preferably in a secure online email service you can get to from any computer.  Also, you should store the emergency phone numbers and information for your credit cards in the web based email account so that you know who to get in touch with if your ATM card or credit card is lost. This way, even if you lose your valuables, you have immediate access to all your crucial information. You can even email your passport’s details page to a consulate or embassy when applying for the new passport.

Keep a list of phone numbers of important contacts in the same email account.  If your cell phone is the only place you keep important contact information and you lose your cell phone, you might have a problem.

What to Wear

Pack only what you will use and if you’re traveling for a week or more, plan to wash some clothing along the way. You can also reduce the number of attires by packing multi-purpose clothes, for instance items that you can wear during the day time and as sleepwear.

Try to dress so it doesn’t appear that you’re a tourist. Don’t wear expensive accessories. You might be very proud of that Rolex or the family heirloom diamond necklace, but those kinds of things scream, “I have money.”

If you are traveling by air, be sure to wear shoes and outerwear that slip of easily so that the security screening in the airport is a smooth as possible.  Don’t forget to prepare your children for the same ease of airport screening, especially if you have younger children that will need your assistance.

Secure and Conceal Your Money

Irrespective of the distance you might travel or where you might spend your holiday, it’s very important to secure and conceal your cash. While vacationing, if you have an access to a safe, make use of it by keeping your cash, credit cards and traveler checks concealed and secure. Good hotels will have a digital safe where guests can put their belongings. For obvious reasons, make sure that you create a password that is easy for you to remember. One suggestion would be to utilize a birthday of either your child or spouse.

Consider Purchasing Travel Insurance

While no one wants to think about potentially suffering any injury while on vacation or having their goods stolen, the fact remains that these sorts of things can happen. Especially when traveling in other countries, it’s better to be safe than to be sorry afterwards if you aren’t properly insured.

Insurance might cost a little extra money, but when you need it you will be delighted you opted for it. Medical evacuation costs a lot of money particularly in remote environments. Be sure to read through the details of the policy to make sure you are covered for the most common travel concerns.  Here’s a list of the components of most travel insurance policies:

  • Trip Cancellation and Interruption – Recover the non-refundable portions of your trip cost in the event of cancellation or interruption of the trip.
  • Medical – Your regular medical policy may not cover you when traveling out of the country.  Be sure to check your policy.
  • Evacuation – If you need to get somewhere quickly due to emergency, this will come in handy.
  • Baggage – Coverage in the event that your luggage is lost or delayed.  Many airlines will take care of your luggage issues, so you may not need this.
  • Flight – Life insurance for the extremely rare instance that the airplane crashes.  It’s kind of like putting your money on green at the roulette wheel.

Most policies cover all of these situations in one combined package.  In some cases, you can get policies for individual coverages.  Determine which coverages you are lacking and only purchase coverage for what you need.

Considerations for Packing Your Bag

When you’re packing items into a backpack for a camping trip, put lighter things at the bottom and the heavier ones on top. Why? Your bag will feel lighter as the pack sits on your lower back. It’s also a good idea to put things you use often on top.

Pack items such as travel-size toiletries as well as first aid supplies, including bandages, pain relievers and sunscreen in zipper lock plastic bags for an easy identification. Place them in netted areas inside your luggage top or in the outside pocket.

If you want to ensure that everything in your bags stays odor free, place all your shoes inside airtight plastic bags

Learn First Aid

Travelers might find themselves in a situation where they must administer with first aid on themselves or their family members or friends by themselves. Being able to take good care for yourself, colleagues or friends can significantly increase survival chances in times of grave or extreme circumstances. In fact, this is good advise in every day living – not just for when you are traveling.

Knowing how to prevent, detect or treat common issues like airborne diseases, mosquito borne diseases, and travelers diarrhea are extremely vital. Travelers should also consider other life saving skills like CPR and hemorrhage control, particularly if they are exploring or hiking in remote environments.

Consider taking a first aid short course or at minimum learning all the basics before you travel.

Seat Belts and Vehicle Safety

Vehicular accident is a major risk to travelers, especially when you are spending a significant part of your time on the road. But, even when you are traveling on a bus, it is important to wear that seat belt (if one is available).

We all know there are many other risks associated to transportation. Trains, buses, rickshaws, boats and mopeds have a huge list of inherent risks. Research properly, but whatever you do, always wear seat belt.

If you going to be in a populous area and plan to rent mopeds while vacationing, I highly advise that you become satisfactorily skilled at riding before your vacation, while still at home in familiar surroundings.  Don’t wait until you are away in busy or unfamiliar territory to learn and take your first ride.  The risks are dramatically higher for inexperienced riders.  I knew someone who lost their life because they were learning to ride a moped while vacationing in a busy city, so this is a sensitive issue for me.

Stick Together

Always remain in contact with the other members of your group at all times even during down time. Never allow your child to go out alone, especially in the evening, even for a simple reason.  This can be very risky in places you are not familiar with.

If traveling abroad, you should pay attention that the countries you visit have diplomatic ties with your own country. Remember to become aware of where your country’s embassy is so that you can reach out to them for assistance whenever you feel you may be at risk.

Traveling is among the most rewarding activities you can participate in. While travel safety is a hot topic and everyone has their own views and opinions, traveling doesn’t have to be a dangerous proposition. Use these travel safety tips and enjoy your vacation without any incidents.  There is nothing worse than suffering an easily avoidable setback during your vacation to spoil the memories.

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