If you’re a first-time traveler, one of your top concerns is your safety. Leaving the comfort of your home for an unfamiliar place can be a nerve-racking experience. And if you have a reasonably active imagination, you’ve probably thought of scenarios like getting robbed at gunpoint in a dark alley or getting kidnapped by mobsters. While you probably won’t get robbed or kidnapped, you still need to take the appropriate measures.
Lots of bad things can happen when you travel, such as theft and injury. And you won’t have the same support system you have back home. While you can always turn to personal injury lawyers for a settlement, wouldn’t you rather prevent accidents from occurring in the first place?
Traveling can be a fun and exciting experience if you follow a few basic safety rules.
1. Do some research
Before traveling anywhere, make sure you’ve done enough research about your destination. An excellent place to start is the State Department’s travel advisories. You should familiarize yourself with some of the most common risks and scams in the country. Make it a point to know which areas to avoid and read traveler reviews for the hotels and tourist sites you plan on visiting.
2. Know who to call
Another safety precaution you should take is listing down important contact information in case of an emergency. Save to your phone the contact details of your embassy or consulate, the police department, and local emergency numbers.
3. Blend in with the locals
Criminals often target people who stick out or look like they’re from out of town. To minimize your chances of being targeted, try to blend in with the local population. Wear modest clothing that won’t attract too much attention. Don’t take out a map in public and be discerning when it comes to asking people for information.
4. Backup your important documents
It’s not uncommon for travelers to lose relevant documents like their passport and driver’s license abroad. Getting a replacement will be harder if you can’t produce valid government identification.
Make online backups of your passport and primary and secondary identification. Print out a few hard copies in case someone asks for an ID. If you’re traveling for an extended period, it might be a good idea to scan your insurance policy and a power of attorney as well.
5. Share your itinerary with friends and family
Whether you’re going on a weekend trip or multi-country tour, you should always let your friends and family back home know where you’re going. Give them a copy of your itinerary and stay in touch as often as possible. Leave instructions to contact authorities if you haven’t messaged by a specific time.
We’ve all heard horror stories of travelers getting scammed or even injured while traveling abroad. It’s something that you should take seriously, and every traveler should take the proper precautions to protect themselves. That said, you shouldn’t let fear affect your travel plans. By keeping these safety guidelines in mind, you’ll be in a better position to enjoy your trip without worry.