Traveling comes with many life-changing and life-enhancing benefits. However, it also comes with safety risks. Here’s a quick but thorough outline of how to stay safe from crime and/or covid while traveling. These travel safety tips are easy to implement.
How to stay safe – Easy to implement travel safety tips
How to stay safe when you're traveling
Use common sense
If you are in a big city like Chicago or New York, you will not be oblivious to your surroundings. For example, you will not carry your wallet in your back pocket or an unlocked backpack. The same safety rules apply when you’re traveling around the world.
Don’t be flashy
If you have nice jewelry or an expensive purse, please leave it at home. Do not travel anywhere with anything that you cannot replace.
Be Street Smart
If you make it obvious that you are a tourist, thieves will take advantage of that fact.
Stick to tourist areas
Thieves, muggers, pickpockets want to get in and out without getting caught. They understand that the police and security presence is heightened in tourist areas, so they either stay away from these areas or look for easy targets.
This is not to suggest that tourist areas are 100% safe, but that they are significantly safer than the local hangouts, for example.
If you’re aware of your surroundings, thieves are more likely to walk away to find targets that are easier.
Do not walk around at night
Even if you are in a group, don’t risk it, especially in a city that is known for crime.
Protect your important documents
You want to keep your important documents out of the hands of criminals. However, if the unthinkable happens, be prepared for it by having copies of your passport, driver’s license, etc.
Keep friends and family updated
It’s always a good idea to let your friends and loved ones know where you will be. Before you leave, send a copy of your itinerary to a few people you trust. While you are traveling, check in with them regularly so that they know you are where you’re supposed to be.
Be wary of public Wi-Fi
If you are using public Wi-Fi, hackers can steal valuable information and access your data like credit cards or Social Security numbers.
If you need wireless Internet service, you’re better off setting up a virtual private network (VPN). This will allow you to access the Internet securely while you’re traveling.
Don’t be an easy target
Thieves, pickpockets, and muggers are like bullies—they’re looking for easy targets. Don’t be one.
- If your handbag/purse is hanging off the back of a chair, you’re an easy target.
- If you leave your handbag/purse on the chair while you go to the bathroom, you’re an easy target.
- If you seem oblivious to or unaware of your surroundings, you are an easy target.
Safeguard your hotel room
To prevent people from going into your room when you’re away, create the illusion that you’re in your room. Do this by:
- Putting the Do Not Disturb sign on the outside of your door.
- Keep the blinds or windows closed.
- Put on the tv.
If you are in your room:
- Keep your windows shut.
- Don’t let strangers into your hotel room, even if they say they work for the hotel. If someone comes to your room, claiming that the hotel sent them, call the front desk to verify.
- Lock and deadbolt the door to your hotel room. For an extra layer of protection, you can buy a jammer—it’s a portable device that slips under the door.
Do not drive with valuables
When you’re stopping at a traffic light, someone may rip that fancy necklace from your neck.
When you’re driving or parking, hide your purse
If you are renting a car, do not put your handbag/purse on the passenger seat. People may try to grab it—even if you’re in the car. Instead, hide valuables where it is not visible.
If you are parking the car, remove your valuable. If someone is looking and sees something worth stealing, they may break the window to get it. Hide or remove everything, even if you think it is worthless. The thief looking through the window may not know it’s worthless.
Consider a dummy wallet and/or safety accessories
Add a few canceled or expired credit cards and a small amount of cash to an old wallet. You can keep larger amounts of cash and credit cards hidden in a safety belt or somewhere similar. If you find yourself in a situation where someone asks for your wallet, simply hand over the dummy wallet. With a dummy wallet, you avoid confrontation and the thief would be none the wiser until much later.
Listen to your instincts
If the little voice inside your head tells you not to walk down that dark, quiet road, listen to it. Turn around and go to safety.
Dress like the locals. By all means, do not wear a t-shirt that tells everyone you’re a tourist.
Covid travel safety tips
According to the Mayo Clinic, we should:
- Maintain a distance of 6 feet/2 meters between ourselves and others.
- Limit contact with surfaces that are frequently touched, like elevator buttons, handrails, etc. If we do touch them, we should wash our hands or use hand sanitizer.
- Avoid contact with people who are sick.
- Try not to touch our noses, eyes, and mouths.
- Avoid eating or drinking on public transportation. By doing this, we can keep our masks on at all times.
- Wash our hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, we should use hand sanitizer with at least 60% of alcohol.