A couple of good travel safety tips and how you implement them can make all the difference between a great hassle-free trip and getting ripped off. We asked travel bloggers to give us their tips and advice on how to stay safe while traveling. Check out these valuable tips.
Travel Safety Tips
Sew secret pockets into your clothes.
Find a seamstress to sew secret pockets inside of your favorite travel pants (or do it yourself if you’re crafty). That way, you can hide your phone, passport, or wads of cash whenever you’re passing through sketchy areas. You wouldn’t believe the freedom and peace of mind this brings—even if nothing bad ever happens!
If you want to take it a step further, you can hide your valuables in your secret pocket while carrying a fake wallet and cheap Nokia phone in your normal pockets. This way, you’ll have something to hand over if you get robbed (can you tell I’m based in Cali, Colombia?). The reality is, most thieves aren’t going to believe you’re walking around without a phone or wallet. And if they do, it might piss them off (something you’re best off avoiding).
Tip: Before sewing everything together, make sure your valuables (passport, phone, money and cards) fit inside. The idea is for the pocket to be as low-profile as possible so there are no noticeable bulges anywhere. Lastly, I wouldn’t recommended storing anything in these pockets when you’re going through airports. If security decides to pat you down, they might find your secret pockets a bit suspicious.
Mitch Glass blogs at Project Untethered.
Make copies of your ID and passport.
You never know when your passport or ID might get stolen or misplaced. By making two copies, you can give one to a friend or relative and keep the other with you while you travel. If you’re a U.S. citizen or national traveling abroad, you can enroll in the Smart Traveler Program for free for an added level of travel safety. If you are abroad, you can enroll at the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate, which can assist you if you lose or have your passport stolen.
Pickpockets are an inevitable hazard while traveling. You find them in all big, bustling cities throughout Asia, Europe and the Americas. Really anywhere where tourists congregate and telegraph the fact that they are, in fact, tourists, reading maps in the street, carrying prominently displayed camera equipment or staring up at skyscrapers with mouth agape.
Pickpockets are increasingly sophisticated and we must be equally adept at stopping them. Here’s how.
- Use a money belt, ankle belt or some other accessory to keep a large part of your valuables while traveling.
- Don’t keep all your money in one location. Split it up; wallet, money belt, other hidden location.
- Know where pickpockets congregate; metro, train and bus stations, airports, entertainment venues, any crowded location.
- Be alert to any commotion which can frequently be a diversion to pickpocket you.
- Don’t display valuables; jewelry, electronic devices, cash, wallet.
There are so many other ways to stymie pickpockets. Just being alert and acknowledging to yourself that this can happen is a good start.
Talek blogs at Travels With Talek
Travel with a dog.
My rescue dog Annie is a wonderful travel companion. She never complains about my choice of music on the car stereo, she is always happy to go out hiking (even if it is raining) and she never complains about where we stay the night, as long as she is by my side she is happy! She also helps me to feel safer when I am visiting new places as a solo female traveller. Okay, she is no guard dog, she doesn’t actually have an aggressive bone in her body, and I don’t travel with her for safety reasons but that doesn’t stop me feeling like she is an extra layer of security. She does alarm bark and I imagine pick pockets may be less likely to approach someone with a dog by their side!
Gemma blogs at A Girl and Her Dog on the Road.
Don’t draw attention to yourself.
One of our favorite travel safety tips is trying to blend in. If you look like you’re from out of town, you are a much bigger target for crime. Blend in as much as you can by wearing inconspicuous clothing and only looking at maps when necessary. It’s also a good idea to be careful about who you ask for directions so that someone doesn’t take advantage of you.
Take precautions to avoid theft.
Losing my valuables is one of my biggest worries while travelling. As a blogger, I travel with expensive camera equipment, along with regular valuables like cash and passports. To avoid my fears coming true, here are some tips I use to keep valuables safe:
Lock everything up that you don’t need while you’re out exploring. Most hostels and hotels have lock boxes inside the rooms where you can store your valuables. If the room doesn’t have a lockbox, you can ask the front desk to store your valuables in the lockbox there. When locking away valuables, be sure to use your own locks. Often the locks provided by hotels can be cheap and easily broken into. I bring two locks with me while travelling: one for storing my belongings at the hotel, and another to carry with me.
When I take any valuables out with me, especially in populated areas, I lock my bag to itself to deter anyone who might try to pickpocket me. As an extra precaution, I carry my bag in front of me in crowded areas.
Try to avoid having your valuables show in public. I once had someone grab my iPhone right out of my hand!
Last but not least, purchase travel insurance that covers theft of personal belongings. This brings peace of mind that even if something unfortunate happens, you will at least get reimbursed for the monetary value of the items.
Lora Pope blogs at Explore with Lora.
Don’t trust public WiFi.
Another way to stay safe while traveling is avoiding public WiFi when you travel. Why? Using it makes it very easy for hackers to steal your personal information, like credit card numbers. To protect your identity, you can always sign up for something called a VPN (virtual private network) that will allow you to securely connect to the Internet. You can also get a portable router to set up your own WiFi hotspot. It will allow you to convert any wired connection, say in your hotel room, to a secure wireless one.
Always bring snacks and drinks for emergencies.
When on the road, travelers often find themselves needing to take long bus rides. Whether the trip is three hours or a long-haul overnight ride, I always recommend bringing bus snacks and drinks in case of emergency. You just never know when you’ll be stuck somewhere for long hours if an unexpected event happens on your ride. I’ve been in situations where buses and trains that were supposed to take only four hours lasted up to eight, and I’ve seen people get stuck for ten hours in traffic jams. This is especially common in developing countries or places where the roads are two-lane mountain roads. Even in situations where you would normally expect to stop, you may find yourself without the right currency to make a purchase.
My recommendation is to bring a bottle of water or two, and enough snacks that you can go at least two meals without a problem. Hopefully you won’t end up needing these, but you need to always be prepared when circumstances would otherwise be out of your control. You also need to pack these inside of your carry on so that they aren’t visible. There are some bus companies that do not allow food and drink. In this situation, you would only be busting them out in case of emergency. But better safe than sorry, and if they see them they may force you to throw them out.
Great bus snacks are anything that comes pre-packaged and won’t cause an annoying smell for other passengers or make a mess for the driver. And of course, always clean up after yourself before you go.
Stephanie Craig blogs at Sofia Adventures.
Password-protect phones and add tracking tools.
Our smartphones store so much personal information, such as emails, credit card information, and bank accounts. By adding a passcode to your phone, it makes it very difficult for a thief to open your phone and steal your sensitive information. Some phones offer fingerprint IDs and face recognition, adding an extra layer of security for when you travel.
You should also turn on location tracking and install software that will wipe your phone so that you can track it down or destroy all of your data if it’s ever stolen when you’re traveling.
Travel with a pacsafe.
In the world where safety is not guaranteed everywhere we travel to, keeping yourself and your valuables safe is paramount. But how do you make sure that you don’t fall a victim of the country’s insecurity? My all-time favorite tip to keep my items safe is to always carry a pacsafe. Commonly known as an anti-theft travel product, a pacsafe will guarantee the safety of your valuable items you might have traveled with. (Although it’s not advisable to travel with valuable items, sometimes you just have to travel with your really expensive camera to capture the best moments)
Regardless of how secure your hotel might seem like, a pacsafe is a must have to lock away your valuables, passport and some extra cash. (The amount of items you can keep in a pacsafe depends on its size, so remember to purchase a pacsafe size that suits your needs). A pacsafe comes with a wire which you can fasten around the hotel chair or bed. Although, it is unlikely that someone would break into your hotel room, it is better to take precaution rather than being sorry.
Esther Namugerwa blogs at The Adventurous Feet.
Learn about your destination before your trip
Part of the excitement about travel is the planning! So while you are researching the best places to stay and eat and your bucket list activities, take a look at the travel safety information for where you’re headed. How safe are your accommodations? Are there any local health issues you need to concern yourself with? What will be your main mode of transportation? Which neighborhoods are the safest, and which should you avoid?
If you like this post, you will enjoy these posts with essential travel safety tips for your next trip:
- True Confessions of a Travel Addict
- Nomadic Matt Shares His Favorite Travel Tips
- A Doctor’s 20 Tips for Staying Healthy While Traveling
- Top 10 Causes for Injuries and Illness While Traveling
BTW, if you are getting ready for your trip, make sure to take advantage of these useful, money-saving links to book your trip:
- Research and book your flight with Skyscanner. I have found them to be the best because they list all airlines including the budget ones. You are always sure of having researched all options. You can also book your car rental through Skycanner.
- For car rental in Europe that has flexible pickup and drop-off options, I recommend Auto Europe.
- Book your accommodation with Booking.com. I find they have the widest selection and a nice, user-friendly, transparent website.
- If an Airbnb experience is more your style, book Airbnb here and get a $40 credit towards your first stay.
- Protect your trip and, more importantly, protect yourself with travel insurance. I use World Nomads and have been very happy with them.
- Looking for a small group tour to unforgettable destinations with top professionals? Intrepid Travel is your choice.
- For more general tours to any destination or attraction, book with Viator. Check them out.
- Need a visa? Get your visa for all countries with iVisa.
I personally use, and can recommend, all the companies listed here and elsewhere on my blog. By booking through these sites, the small commission we earn – at no cost to you – helps us maintain this site so we can continue to offer our readers valuable travel tips and advice.