When it comes to travelling there are some important travel safety tips you must follow. Travelling is a very essential and almost inevitable activity in life. People travel at different times for different purposes ranging from events such as business or official duties, going to celebrate important ceremonies with family and friends at distant locations, going for academic research or just going on a tour to explore other parts of the world.
Whatever your reason for travelling, it is of utmost importance to note the fact that travelling can be risky. That is if proper precautions are not taken. You run the risk of vehicle accidents, getting mobbed or conned and invariably stranded in a strange place, falling sick due to a change in climate or environment and foods, the list of risks posed at travellers is almost endless. Should you not travel because of the risks involved? I think the best thing to do is to find a way to manage and minimize these risks rather than succumbing to the limitations of travelling. This is why it is paramount to follow some important travel safety tips.
This article brings you some of the best, tested and trusted travel safety tips that can help you shrug off travel risks and stay safe while you travel. Do not compromise your security. Remember, the general rule is safety first.
Also Read: How to Save for your next Travel
Important Safety Travel Tips
Here are some important travel safety tips that work to keep you safe and secure as you travel.
Gather Information About the Destination
One of the most important travel safety tips to follow when travelling to a new destination is to make enquiries about the location. Gather as much information and facts as you possibly can about the place you are visiting. For example, read about security threats to travellers, the do’s and don’t etc. With the help of the internet, you don’t have to get to a place before you find out things about them. Do a search on the safety of the destination and read travel reviews from other tourists that have visited the location. Look out for information about the safest neighbourhoods, best tourist-friendly city, places to stay. With the internet, you will get as much useful information and some important safety travel tips would suffice which will help you stay secure. Gathering information will give you in-depth knowledge of your travel destination even before making the trip.
Get a Contact at Your Embassy
Another important travel safety tip when you travel is to Identify your national consulate in that country. You should have an active contact of someone in the embassy to call in case trouble looms and you have nowhere to go. You should also make it a point of duty to locate the nearest police station, place of worship and other local emergency divisions nearest to where you stay. So that you can take refuge when you feel threatened or there is an emergency.
Tell Someone About Your Trip
Confide in someone about your travel schedule and keep your family and friends informed about your every move while you are away on a journey. Another important travel safety tip is to maintain regular communication with your loved ones. You should always give them updates on your location, change of plans, new friends you meet at the destination if you are going ou, who are you going with etc Also brief them about your daily schedule and if you feel threatened or feeling insecure let them know.
Duplicate Your Document
Have multiple copies (both hard and soft copies) of important documents such as your passport, visa, tickets, identity cards, driver’s license, etc and guard the originals very jealously. Keep the duplicate copies in several different locations; in your travel suitcase, handbag, purse, mobile phone, email and leave some copies with a few trusted family members or friends for an easy emergency escape when situations call for it.
Be Smart, Blend with the Locals
Another important travel safety tip is to avoid anything that gives you off as neophyte especially a gullible one. A stranger appearance makes you more vulnerable to criminals. So you should do well to study the area, tradition and lifestyle of people where you have travelled to and make an effort to blend in as much as you can.
If you are visiting some low-end vicinity, travel with low-key clothing that won’t attract much attention, be discreet when looking at maps and approach people carefully but with confidence if you need to ask for directions. You should also be mindful of the kind of places and people you stop to make sensitive enquiries, be mindful not to give sensitive information when you approach people
Say A word of Prayer
There’s much more than just religious benefits in praying. Prayer provides some sort of physical and mental balance in the sense that your hope is heightened based on the faith that there is a supreme being looking out for you and therefore, you can go with confidence.
Always Lock Your Hotel Room
Safeguard your hotel room by keeping the doors securely locked at all times so that it is impossible for stalkers to tell whether you are in or out. Also, I have a practice of placing a chair to shield the door if they do not have another supporting lock inside which guarantees double-locking the door.
Avoid Strangers in Your Room
Avoid accommodating strangers or letting them into your room. Don’t even give the hotel attendants access to your room unless you have called for them or received a call from the reception informing you of a necessity that prompts them sending someone to you. Limit entry into your room as much as possible is an important travel safety tips that will keep you sage.
Always be at Alert
Be friendly with everyone but trust no one. Constantly check your personal belongings and look out for skeptical behaviour from people around you. Not everyone who comes smiling at you comes in good faith. Keep your personal belongings safe, be mindful of strange movement and unfamiliar faces. Be quick to call the attention of security operatives should you find any
Have an Emergency Plan
Have a contingency plan for every possible situation. Always be prepared for anything and everything, being caught unawares can cause more damage. Think of the best way to escape from a dangerous scenario before you are faced with the scene. Have a mental map of your vicinity, keep all your luggage on one spot for easy retrieval
Double Verify Information
Always seek a second opinion to verify information gotten from an enquiry in a place you are not familiar with. Some criminals can identify a stranger from the very first point of interaction and will offer information that would lure you to their traps. If you ask someone else and got a contrary opinion, you can then ask a third person to compare and contrast the contradictions.
Apply discretion in all things.
Mind what you say or do around people, avoid sharing too much personal information with new acquaintance, don’t tell the hotel service personnel how long you would be gone in case you drop the key before stepping out and don’t bare out too much of your schedule.
Don’t be stranded
Another mistake to avoid is getting stranded when you are travelling. whenever you are travelling to an unknown location, always have enough cash, make sure you have at least twice your ticket price plus some reserved funds for emergencies. Do not rely on your cards as POS (point of sales) machines may not be available.
Learn Basic defence skills
Learn basic self-defence skills in a situation when you cant avoid a physical confrontation or attack. Avoid going physical with anyone unless your safety is concerned. Do not walk alone on lonely roads. If you are alone and you are about to be attacked, call for help and in the case where it is an ambush remember safety first. Only use defensive measures only when your life is at stake. Not at the slightest provocation.
Don’t look timid but maintain a look that projects confidence even when you feel threatened and scared to the teeth, that alone would make a person intending to attack you think twice especially when you look them directly in the face with a stern expression. It is near impossible for most people to distinguish between a truly confident person and one who is feigning it.
Make Sure Your Bank is aware of your travel plans
Tell Your bank account manager Where You’re Going. This helps especially when you have an account that allows international withdrawals so that if you have to make withdrawals from your account or do transfers or make a purchase at a POS terminal, the transaction will not be labelled fraudulent which could prompt the bank putting a ban on debit transactions from your account. Do well to notify them when you return and ensure you file complaints immediately you lose your credit or debit card.
Keep Your Credit card
Keep your credit card details secret. Knowing your card number alone is enough for a tech-wise criminal to wipe your entire accounts. Also, avoid flaunting cash. Unless you want to create unhealthy competition.
Don’t Drive Long Distance Alone
Avoid driving alone on a long journey and use a cab instead of hiring a car. It is most unlikely for a crowd to get attacked or robbed because the number alone is intimidating to anyone that might want to launch an attack unless the bandits are more than the travellers and bear dangerous weapons and firearms.
Enter Registered Cabs Only
Take only registered cabs if you must go out to get a ride, don’t ride in the front seat of a public cab so you can have enough space to escape in case the driver begins to act funny. It is most convenient and secure to book a cab online and have records of the transaction sent to a trusted person.
Careful of what you eat
Eat clean and drink clean. The last thing you want to experience in a foreign land is an illness. Ensure you get good food from the best-recommended places and drink clean water to avoid getting sick. If you are staying for a long time, go with a portable cooker as well as a jar sized water filter and buy your groceries fresh to make your own meals so you don’t end up emptying your pockets on feeding.
Get a First aid Kit
Travel with first aid kit. An accident is an accident, that is why it is called accident. No matter how careful you are, the possibility of getting involved in an unexpected unfortunate situation such as an auto crash or simply bruising yourself cannot be ruled out totally. There is need therefore to prepare for any negative eventuality. First aid is not to take care of accidents only though, a headache, for instance, can not be classified as an accident, neither can body ache. Situations like a sudden stomach upset, which most times result from the snacks or food you eat on the way and throwing up due to the unpleasant smell from the car exhaust are also emergency situations that can be managed with a simple first-aid treatment.
Your first aid kit should contain the most essential supplies such as methylated spirit, bandages, paracetamol or other mild pain relievers, oral rehydration salts, glucose, a small jar of petroleum jelly. This is an important travel safety tips for everyone.
Avoid Getting Drunk
Avoid getting drunk or high on narcotics, nicotine and alcohol. You need all your senses to be on a good state to be able to stay at alert and focused. Getting drunk or high when you are travelling or when you are in a strange place would rob you of your consciousness and make you vulnerable to attacks.
Travel with a power bank.
It is ideally essential to keep your phone powered at all times while travelling and when you are away in a foreign country. Your phone is a great tool that can save you from danger by providing timely help when needed. Imagine you got injured in the course of resisting an attack and the injury kept bleeding so profusely and you are unable to move by yourself to a safe spot or you got entangled in a situation that requires you to contact someone as a matter of urgency. You can simply reach for your mobile phone and make an emergency call for assistance.
Buy travel insurance.
One of the best bet for minimizing risks is insurance. Get travel insurance that provides premium coverage just in case the unexpected happens. This is an important travel safety tip that you must consider.
Digital Security Travel Safety Tips
Digital security is of great importance too, here are some things you should take note off and take precautions against digitally.
Turn off Wifi and Bluetooth
Turn off WiFi and Bluetooth connections when you are travelling. Basically, your Smartphone has the ability to connect to mobile data and WiFi and be found by searching for Bluetooth devices. WiFi accesses and reveals your identity; including name, IP (Internet Protocol) address and also calls out previously saved networks you have connected with. Turning off connections saves your battery a great deal as it minimizes background activities.
Do Not Connect to untrusted Sources
Be wary of unsecured WiFi signals they could be a trap to lure you into connecting to an access point that offers nothing but monkey business. Not every unprotected WiFi belongs to a naïve smartphone owner. As a matter of fact, anyone who owns a smartphone should be smart enough to know how to regulate his or her internet connectivity.
If you must use an unknown public WiFi service, do so with a VPN (Virtual Private Network). This is because connecting to a public (unprotected or unknown) access point exposes all your data over the air and makes it vulnerable to being accessed by anyone on the same network. Dependable Virtual Private Network providers help you hide your network activity and data from the eyes of others.
Install Tracker on your gadgets
Install a tracker on your gadgets. Smartphone, pad or tab and computer system all need trackers to enable you to find them when they get stolen. It is recommended that you use a tracker that works whether the device is on or off so that once you have the tracker app installed or the chip implanted on the gadget before it got stolen, you would be able to track your device remotely.
Do not give out Sensitive Information Online
Don’t fall prey to spam messages. Disregard any unsolicited messages especially the ones that prompt or instruct you to enter sensitive login details such as passwords to your bank accounts, your bank has all that information and should send you a message via appropriate, recognized channels to visit a branch in order to update your account details if the need arises. Ignore messages from unknown sources even if they bear a resemblance to your bank’s official message portal.
Activate Two Factor Authentication
Activate a two-factor authentication security measure on any and every account that has the feature. You may think this should only be applicable to bank portals, but it might interest you to know that your social media handles especially those that you have used to run promotions in which you provided your bank details for payment are equally at risk. Even those that have no connection to your bank are at risk of privacy invasion. The two-factor verification is not an adornment on the portal. Use it. Use strong passwords. Passphrases with a combination of numbers, alphabets and special characters are the best option when forming a security code especially for your private accounts and gadget security. Ensure that the passwords are long too and make sure to change your security code once in a while.
Avoid Public Phone Charge Booths
Avoid using public quick charge booths and don’t connect your phone via USB ports to public systems. There is a high possibility for the system to access your phone data, extract and store them to be used to scam you. Using a charge only cord minimizes the risk but does not eliminate it completely. So the best thing is to have a personal power bank with you in case your battery drains and the need to charge on the go arises. Or better yet, go with your normal wall socket charger, it is not so bulky after all.
Visit only secured Websites
Ensure the websites you are visiting are https (hypertext transfer protocol secured) and be mindful of what applications you download and what links you click. A URL that does not include an ‘s’ in the http search bar is most certainly not secure and should not be used to carry out sensitive transactions such as financial transactions on your bank portals, crpto-currency wallets and foreign exchange investment accounts.
Be mindful of what you share on your social media platforms. In as much as it is vital to socialize, it is also very essential to protect your privacy. Don’t invade your own privacy by yourself. Use your discretion and don’t share sensitive information on social media either as a private message or public post. You can’t really tell who the predator is.
Log out from sensitive portals when not in use
Always log out of your social media platforms and bank portals and clear cookies occasionally. It is better to forget your password and go through the troubles of resetting it than to compromise your privacy and security.
Do not store home or Office Address in Map
Avoid storing your home address in online maps. Opportunistic thieves can trail you after stealing your device and begin to blackmail you if they find something compromising in it.