Travel is usually not dangerous, depending of course on your destination. But even the most tourist-friendly places hold some element of risk. When you are in unfamiliar surroundings, it is much harder to identify potentially dangerous situations or untrustworthy people. Knowing how to handle yourself when you are abroad, and keeping in mind a few safety tips can help keep you safe while you travel.
1. Make sure that you have travel insurance. This might seem like a hassle, but if anything happens to you or your possessions while you are on a trip, you will be glad you have it.
2. Make sure you photocopy all your personal identification including passport and ticket so that if you lose the originals you still have all the information handy. Store the copies in a separate place than where you keep the originals.
3. Don’t take expensive items with you. Leave your Rolex or your three carat diamond ring at home. You don’t want to call attention to yourself. If possible, try to wear clothing similar to what the locals are wearing to blend in.
4. Don’t strike up conversations with strangers and then spill all the details of your trip or divulge personal information about your family, finances, or work. You never know who could be listening.
5. Stay alert. Don’t overindulge in drinking or allow yourself to get too exhausted. Keep an eye out for anything that feels even remotely dangerous and trust you instincts.
6. If you have brought valuables with you, keep them in the hotel safe. Never carry large amounts of cash and flash it around for people to see. Keep what you are carrying in a money belt or secured someplace that it can’t be snatched away.
7. Never let your credit card out of your sight. If you hand it to a vendor or a merchant, keep it within eyesight at all times.
8. Be polite and courteous to locals and ask questions. Show respect for their unique culture and customs.
9. Know the location of the U.S. Embassy. If you are in a country that may be hostile toward the U.S., go to the embassy and register with them, letting them know you are there, where you are staying, and for how long.
10. Keep a small card handy with key phrases in the local language, even if many people speak English where you are visiting.
11. Know the local emergency numbers. Contact authorities immediately if anything happens, including theft.
Remember, even the most savvy travelers can become complacent, so no matter how many places you’ve been, or how many times you’ve visited a particular destination, always keep these safety tips in mind.