Learning to travel safe, is important to everyone. Some Easy steps to Travel Safe, and just an overall look at how to travel safe, whether we are traveling for pleasure, rest, relaxation, exploring, business, or family related activities.
Learning to travel safe is even more important in the more remote, isolated areas, as well as in some parts of the world in general. As well, women, seniors, or anyone who may be or appear to be more vulnerable, should enhance their knowledge on how to travel safe. Please take all my comments with the intention I am aiming at. I’m a woman, have been single most of my life, and am very independent. It took me many years to really accept that I was more vulnerable than many men are, that I was safer in situations with a male present. But for any ladies on their own, it simply is true, we are safer to travel with someone else, or in a group.
But even in the safest locations, perhaps those that feel more like our home ground, we still need to remember we are in a different place and are perhaps unfamiliar with many aspects of this new location. The streets, hotels, houses all may look like environments we are comfortable with, but do we actually know whether they are as safe as it is where we live.
A lot of people like to meander around, explore, and go out at night when it is darker, which is all great, but just knowing whether this is wise is good to know ahead of time. I’m one of those people, but I do try to determine my safety level in new environments, rather than plunge forward as if I am at home where I know the lay of the land. Travel safe is my motto! Let’s practice easy steps to travel safe, and make it a habit.
It is very easy to check before you travel with government websites for alerts on countries that currently have any issues we might wish to be informed about. If I am leaving the U.S. or Canada, I check on these.
Women in distress while traveling internationally, are assisted by the thousands each year in Canada alone; less specific data is available in the U.S.
- What are the specific areas of problems they encountered you ask.
- Petty & violent crimes (some sexual in nature)
- Poor sanitation
- Dangers due to on-line dating & scams that related to those (romance scams are on the rise)
- Rental properties not existing on arrival
Now let’s not put the suitcases away and decide to stay home! International travel offers an endless array of benefits, and life enhancing experiences, let’s must mitigate our risks and plan well! Some research and a little bit of effort can give you much pleasure and a richer life.
Let’s look at some specifics!
The more you know, the better you can decide if you want to visit a place.
- Am I comfortable from a safety perspective, as well as leaving my safety zone of home
- Social & Cultural
- Water, food & hygiene
- Traveling about (leaving resorts, buses, trains, taxis)
- Dealing with foreign currency & languages
If you feel uncomfortable about a country, you need to do more research, look at alternatives, or choose to go elsewhere.
Just because your friends Bill & Mary loved it and felt comfortable there, does not mean that you will! Most of us have a bad habit of simply asking other people, but without really looking at how our views normally line up.
I ask myself some things now when I get travel comments from friends:
- Do I normally respect their judgment
- Do they do activities and view risks and safety in a similar way that I do
- Would they travel the same way: on foot, bicycle, motor scooters, etc.
- Did they assess: health conditions, politics and economic issues that currently exist
- Rights & laws (for example, some things may be legal in your home country, but not necessarily everywhere. (wearing a bikini, pre-maritial sex, same sex marriage)
- Medical care in case it was required
- Coverage of your medical plans (travel insurance)
- Will I be traveling in a similar situation (solo, couple, group)
- Regional differences (often under evaluated is how big a country your going to is)
A very easy thing to do is check your countries travel advisory postings. Some countries may have been safe when you were there 5 years ago, but now are in a state of political and economic unrest and have rampant crime and many travel advisory warnings. Today, we are so fortunate to be able to sit down and check for so many sources of excellent information. Don’t rely on one source, check out numerous. But I know the Canadian government has a good, and up to date travel advisory.
Start your own research and check list:
- Valid passports and visa required (check the dates necessary) Usually 6 months. Beyond the times you plan to travel. Check all conditions of each country if you want to travel safe.
- Leave copies of all documents at home in a safe place; 2nd copy with someone else at home who can be reached if necessary; 3rd. if traveling with someone else, I suggest you trade copies. Your luggage might be stolen or lost, but not your travel partner.
- Good travel insurance (double check key points and read the fine print if you think you already have adequate through credit cards or work)
- Women especially if traveling alone to remote areas, planning to go out at night might like to take self- defense courses.
- Review your luggage, totes, purses, briefcases and consider anti-theft styles
- Many countries have a Registration for traveling abroad
- Carry emergency contact information
- Put extra money in a secondary, safe location
- Money belts, other secret hiding spots that are on your body!
Travel as light as you can : I plan so I can go with only carry-on luggage, and do! It increases my ability to travel safe too.
The lighter you travel, the easier it is to protect yourself against both theft and loss of any kind. You can be less stressed, more independent, and considerably less vulnerable if you are not lugging around a lot of luggage. I use the same theory as having children. I only have two hands.
Two pieces, one my carry- on bag, the other the personal allowed bag; giving me a total of two. Everything else is worn on my body; some travel safe examples below will show you how easy that is to do.
- Small zippered compartments in handbags, day packs, vests, and other items allow for security, and extra storing space; as well as convenient going through security, or sitting on a plan where it is hard to get at all of your things.
- Hands free is your goal. The more that is on you, secured in some way, the safer it is.
- Avoid the visual of your jewelry or cameras; in fact, really consider leaving expensive jewelry at home; consider your engagement ring! You can label yourself as a wealthy tourist.
- Know where your credit cards are at all times.
- Money belts, secret pockets. (think about how important an item is) (money, passports, credit cards, medications, medical information, contact #’s)
- Never have your name and address visible on your luggage or bags
- Never allow anyone else to control your luggage; always pack 100% yourself (never staff on duty at a hotel or elsewhere)
Products that can protect you, your stuff, and look great! The best selection is on-line as you can see all the products in one shopping experience. You can go to store after store, and still only get to see a fraction of the products. I see this all the time when I want to examine products to review.
I loved these particular items, so will share them with you, and see which one’s speak to you! They are my top picks for safer travel which to me is everything from our personal safety, protecting our things, and keeping our body healthy from illness of any kind, as well as sunburns, or seasickness.
I can use all of these at once, giving me endless places to store and protect my things. My favorite items to assist me to travel safe.
This Stashbandz is amazing. Click the link to learn more or order.
I love how this looks like part of my clothing!
Looks just like it is just a scarf, but so much more!
Just one more sneaky hiding spot!
The Travelon line is excellent, and many purses too
Adventure Travel! Have fun, and travel safe!
For anyone doing outback travel, tripping, backpacking or remote area travel, a little reading up on things is a wise idea that may not only enhance your adventure, but keep you safe and alive as well! Your trip is worth a little reading and knowledge gathering. Here are a few awesome books for solid preparation.
Are you up for the challenge? When an emergency happens, it feels a whole lot better when you know what in the heck to do. I learned a lot taking a Red Cross Wilderness training. Check one out in your local area and get some first-hand knowledge.
Build the Perfect Survival Kit Paperback
by John D. McCann (Author)
We could all learn a few things for travel from this excellent book that can enhance your goal to travel safe.
There are many books geared towards Expatriates, and other travelers and global road warriors. Click any of the pictures and peruse the selection of survival and safety preparedness books available. Being prepared is an awesome thing, and may save your life. I sound like a good girl scout, don’t I? Well, okay, I was one, and was taught a lot about survival in the wilderness and outdoors long before that.
More Easy Steps to Travel Safe:
- Be sure to have emergency contact information, and any health conditions on something that is always with you. I just keep a little sticky note inside my main wallet or purse, inside my jacket if I am skiing or hiking, or easily accessible just in case.
It can happen to any of us! When I was careening down an icy mountain and thought, this is it, I remember recalling that my emergency contact was in my pocket with my I.D., and was glad it was.
Thank goodness I landed without it being needed by anyone.
My body and ego some battered though!
- Carry extra medications in case of any delays on your trip. If your diabetic this needs to be able to be identified by someone quickly. I came to the aid of a man who had gone off the side of the ski mountain years ago, and fortunately his young son was able to advise me of this so we could deal with it best we could until the rescue team arrived, and I was able to tell them this right away.
- Phone numbers of your Doctors or any other possible contacts required.
- Store all important documents in ziplock bags to protect them.
- Keys from home…..okay, don’t’ laugh but I take one key, the main door, and safety pin it inside my purse, neck or waist pouch. Whichever one I am using depending on the type of trip it is. I don’t want the weight of my full set of keys and don’t need them when away, so why take up space with them. I only do carry on, so minimizing is key!
- Did you remember to pack?
- A few band aids, tissues, and any of the little things you often, or might need.
- Do we need GPS, bear spray or other specific types of items for this trek
Crime-proof yourself before you leave your home country or area:
- Sign up for abroad services your home country has. These are free, confidential, and could be literally a life saver for you. For ladies traveling alone, connect to women’s networks through social, volunteer, or international associations. Many areas you may visit may have expat clubs which can provide great social interaction, and local advice or assistance. Seek out others who have recently visited the country you’re going to, as first hand experience they can share will prove most beneficial to you. Pay attention to any concerns they had, and note places they suggest. There is nothing like tried and true!
- Do keep someone at home abreast of your travel plans. It is so easy today to stay in touch. Though do some research so you know your best options for phoning, text, or email, as many people have been surprised to discover it is very different than at home. Some countries have much less expensive phone cards, so do check those out.
- Even if you’re traveling alone, it’s a good idea to link up with other women along the way. They’ll become your community and support system. A chat with a seatmate on a long train or plane ride may create enough trust to feel safe about sharing a taxi or becoming temporary travel mates. While enjoying the company of strangers, be careful about sharing personal information or placing undeserved trust in them.
Solo Travel: many of us enjoy setting our own pace, having more interaction with the locals, and find we may make friends easier if we travel solo. But any lone traveler is somewhat more vulnerable, especially a female. Be sure to understand any cultural differences and laws that may exist and specific to you. For example, there are some countries where your drivers license may not be recognized, or women are not allowed to drive.
Many who travel solo, simply choose countries that they feel this is easier, and more acceptable to do so in. Others, choose to travel within groups, and there are many options to consider for this.
When traveling on your own, be sure to follow these safety measures to travel safe.
- Steer clear of isolated situations that could put you at risk. On a bus or train, sit next to someone of your own sex. In a taxi, sit in the back behind the driver. Avoid traveling in train carriages where you’re the only passenger. Never go walking, jogging, or sightseeing alone in secluded areas, especially at night.
- If touring solo for the day, leave a note in your room explaining where you’re going. If you don’t return as planned, this information could be used to track you down.
- Take extra precautions if you go out at night. Understand that, in many parts of the world, “decent” women don’t go out alone after dark, and doing so could put you at risk. Tell someone where you’re going and when you’ll return. If dining out, choose a nearby restaurant or arrange to have a taxi pick you up and bring you back to your hotel. Consider joining a sightseeing tour if you want to experience the sights and rhythms of a foreign city at night.
- Never tell strangers where you’re staying or disclose details of your travel plans to anyone you don’t fully trust.
Let’s stay out of trouble & make it a priority to protect yourself; increase your awareness of what it means to travel safe.
- Trust: don’t give it to just anyone! Whether your in a group or alone, tourists can be targets; if you’re a female alone, there are criminals who only are on the watch for you. Distractions, new ‘friends’, waiting for buses, trains, and planes are all situations to be mindful of. Just because someone may be from your home country, does not mean that comfort zone should also automatically include giving your trust, but too often people do just that. If your considering working in other countries be sure of what your getting into, as many women particularly have found themselves in labor or sex trafficking, especially those who are younger.
- Avoid appearing to be a vulnerable person at all times. Be prepared as to how you are traveling, where your going, what you need, and have a back up plan. Carry or have access to a local map, and I personal don’t rely on cell phones for this information. If I run out of power, I still want to know where I am staying, how to get there, and contact information.
- Sharing a taxi is safer, never hitchhike or accept rides from strangers. Don’t let anyone tell you it is safe to hitchhike anywhere, it simply is not.
- Lock car doors, avoid taking valuables to swimming pools and beach areas unless your using anti-theft bags you can secure.
- Scream, yell, and attract a lot of attention if necessary; the sooner the criminal knows they are being observed the better you chances are; personal security alarms, or loud whistles are good ideas. Boaters keep them on their life jackets, why not travelers having one handy too?
Especially for women: reduce the risk of sexual assault & travel safe
Being proactive and taking precautions is the best defense you have. Most females have learned at home to be smart, but increase your diligence in unfamiliar places. Women alone may be approached in some countries by men quite often, and you need to be smart. Why are they being so friendly to you? You, who will be leaving soon? Ladies, shake your head if your responding positively to any man being flirtatious with you. There are many reasons, it might be about assault, or about money. I personally knew a woman who fell victim to the romancing of a man and she visited him twice a year, sent money often, and she was just one of many. This was his business, and how he supported his wife and children. She put herself at risk of disease, high risk in fact, and it also kept her from trying to meet someone at home and have a ongoing relationship. He kept her drawn in all the time, enjoying the high level of romancing and attention he lavished her with on her holidays there. He moved from his poor home to her lovely suite for her time there. Sad, but true. And note, this was a well educated school teacher, someone who had many options in her life; but it is easy to fall prey to others in so many ways.
- Don’t accept drinks you did not see being poured, and do not leave them unattended The date rape drugs can be put into many different things, and far to many of these have been well reported; probably only a small fraction that take place though. This has happened to not only single women, but married ladies too, and to males! This is not just a crime against females, or younger people.
- Be wary of going out at night, going to unfamiliar clubs, making friends with people in bars or sitting around the beach or pool. If at any time you feel unwell, be sure to advise the management where your staying, and any contacts you have there, or someone at home.
- Anyone who keeps showing up where you go, or seems to invade your personal space might be someone to keep an eye on, or you may need to report.
If you have any other good ideas for safe travel, please send them to me in the comments section. Please join me in sharing ideas to benefit all of us.