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Top Tips and Best Practices to Stay Safe When Traveling

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The top priority for leisure travel is to have fun. But, it is important not to overlook setting up a travel safety plan.

One of the most important things you can do to stay safe when traveling is to do your research ahead of time. This means researching your destination, including the local customs, laws, and potential safety risks. You should also research the area where you’ll be staying, including the neighborhood and any transportation you’ll be using.

Let’s walk through the process so that you can think about scenarios for setting up safety protocols according to your travel style.

 

Pre-Trip Planning Advice

When planning a trip, taking the time to prepare and research your destination before even arriving can help ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Here are some important things to consider during the pre-trip planning phase:

Research Your Destination

Before you travel, it’s important to research your destination thoroughly. This includes learning about the local culture, customs, laws, and potential safety hazards. You can find this information online through travel guides, government websites, and travel forums.

Make sure to also research the weather conditions and pack accordingly. Bring appropriate clothing and gear for the climate and activities you plan to do.

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Travel Insurance Importance

Don’t overlook travel insurance as something that is optional. It is recommended that you consider travel insurance essential whenever you travel. Travel insurance can provide peace of mind and financial protection in case of unexpected events such as trip cancellation, medical emergencies, or lost luggage. You can purchase travel insurance anytime before your trip to ensure you are covered in case of any unforeseen circumstances.

If you’re a frequent traveler, consider an annual travel insurance plan, which can save money on your policy by purchasing coverage for an entire year instead of purchasing it each time you travel.

Health Precautions

Depending on your destination, there may be specific health precautions you need to take before traveling. Research any required vaccinations or medications recommended by your doctor or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In addition, pack a basic first-aid kit with any necessary medications, bandages, and other supplies. It’s also a good idea to bring a sufficient supply of any prescription medications you take regularly.

 

Packing Essentials

packing with mom

When it comes to traveling, packing can be a daunting task. You want to make sure you have everything you need while also keeping your luggage light. But what are the essentials that you should always pack to stay safe while traveling? Here are some must-haves to consider.

Emergency Kit

It’s always a good idea to have an emergency kit with you when traveling. You never know what could happen, and it’s better to be prepared. Here are some items you should consider including in your emergency kit:

  • First aid kit with band-aids, gauze, antiseptic wipes, and pain relievers
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Portable charger for your phone
  • Emergency whistle
  • Water purification tablets
  • Small multi-tool

Appropriate Clothing

When packing for a trip, it’s important to consider the climate and culture of your destination. You want to make sure you have appropriate clothing that will keep you comfortable while also respecting local customs. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Research the weather before you go and pack accordingly. If you’re traveling to a hot and humid destination, lightweight and breathable clothing is a must. If you’re traveling to a colder climate, make sure to pack warm layers.
  • Consider the activities you’ll be doing and pack appropriate clothing. If you’re planning on hiking, make sure to bring sturdy shoes and comfortable clothing. If you’re going to be visiting religious sites, make sure to pack clothing that covers your shoulders and knees.
  • Respect local customs and dress appropriately. In some cultures, it’s considered disrespectful to show too much skin. Do some research before you go to make sure you’re packing clothing that is appropriate for your destination.

Pro tip: Always keep a scarf in your travel bag. It can serve as a multiple of functions from extra warmth to extra coverage when visiting more conservative places.

 

Safety During Transit

A sturdy suitcase secured with a padlock, surrounded by a seatbelt and airbag in a moving vehicle

When traveling, safety during transit is just as important as safety at your destination. Here are some travel safety tips to help you stay safe during transit.

Airport Security

To make the security process go smoothly, be aware of the rules and regulations before you arrive at the airport. This means beyond making sure your luggage meets the airline’s size and weight restrictions. But also pack items that are allowed in your carry-on and checked baggage. For example, now that so many states allow marijuana, it is still illegal to transport it over state lines – even if you leaving and arriving into states and countries that allow it. To avoid this and accidentally bringing on items that TSA considers a weapon, check TSA’s website for a list of prohibited items.

In-Flight Safety Tips

During your flight, it’s important to follow all safety instructions given by the flight crew. Despite the conveniences providing passengers with snacks, the primary job of the inflight crew is for passenger safety. So, violations of the airline’s policies or incidences in air can result in serious trouble, including jail and thousands of dollars in penalties.

Another concern is dehydration. Traveling by airplane can lead to dehydration due to the low humidity levels in the cabin air, which can cause moisture to evaporate from the body more quickly. So it is important to make sure you stay hydrated, and to do so most efficiently opt to drink liquids with electrolytes. Popular enhancers, like Liquid IV, are easy to pack and travel with.

Traveling by air can cause deep vein thrombosis (DVT) due to prolonged periods of immobility in cramped seating, which can slow blood flow and increase the risk of blood clots forming in the deep veins of the legs. To prevent DVT, it’s important to move around and stretch your legs during long flights. You can also wear compression socks to improve blood flow.

Public Transportation Awareness

When using public transportation, be aware of your surroundings and keep an eye on your belongings. Pickpocketing can be common in crowded areas, so keep your wallet and other valuables in a secure place. If you are traveling alone, try to sit near other people and avoid empty train cars or buses.

When using taxis or ride-sharing services, make sure you only get in vehicles that are clearly marked and have a license plate number. Always confirm the driver’s name and destination before getting in the car. If you feel uncomfortable at any time, trust your instincts and exit the vehicle.

 

Accommodation Safety

A sturdy lock secures the door of a well-lit hotel room, while a fire extinguisher and emergency exit sign are clearly visible

When traveling, it’s important to prioritize your safety, especially when it comes to choosing and securing your accommodation. Here are some tips to help you stay safe during your stay.

Hotel Selection

When selecting a hotel, prioritize safety features such as a secure entrance, well-lit hallways and rooms, and 24-hour security. Look for hotels that have good reviews and a reputation for safety. You can also check the crime rate in the area where the hotel is located.

It’s also important to consider the location of the hotel. Research and look for reviews of how comfortable people felt traveling there with their spouse, family, or alone.

Room Security Measures

Once you have checked into your hotel, take some time to secure your room. Use all available locks and deadbolts, and keep the door locked at all times. If there is a peephole, use it to identify visitors before opening the door. If there is no peephole, call the front desk to verify the identity of anyone who comes to your door.

It’s also a good idea to keep your valuables in the hotel safe or locked in your suitcase. Avoid leaving valuables such as cash, jewelry, and electronics out in the open.

Also consider traveling with a travel door lock. They are small and something you can just leave in your luggage. Some older hotels may not have security locks, and having this gadget handy can provide an extra sense of security.

 

Staying Safe While Exploring

stay safe when traveling hike

You travel because you want to have a great time and explore new places. However, it’s important to stay safe while doing so. Here are some tips to help you stay safe while exploring.

Cultural Awareness

Different cultures have different customs, traditions, and beliefs. It’s important to be aware of these differences and show respect for them. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Dress appropriately: In some cultures, it’s considered disrespectful to show too much skin or wear revealing clothing. Do some research on the culture you’ll be visiting and dress appropriately.
  • Learn some basic phrases: Learning a few basic phrases in the local language can go a long way in showing respect for the culture and making connections with locals.
  • Be aware of body language: In some cultures, certain gestures or body language may be considered rude or offensive. Do some research on the culture you’ll be visiting and be aware of these differences.

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Avoiding Scams

Unfortunately, there are people out there who will try to take advantage of tourists. Here are some common scams to watch out for:

  • The fake police officer: Someone posing as a police officer may approach you and ask to see your passport or wallet. They may even threaten to arrest you if you don’t comply. Remember, real police officers will never ask to see your passport or wallet on the street. If you’re unsure, ask to see their badge and take note of their name and badge number.
  • The distraction: Someone may approach you and try to distract you while their accomplice steals your wallet or bag. Be aware of your surroundings and keep an eye on your belongings at all times.
  • The overpriced taxi: Some taxi drivers may try to overcharge tourists by taking longer routes or charging higher rates. Do some research on the local taxi rates and agree on a price before getting into the taxi.

 

Stay Safe When Traveling FAQs

Is taking precautions COVID-19 while traveling still a thing?

Yes. But, beyond COVID-19, there are other airborne viruses that can make you sick. It’s always a good idea to practice the guidelines we learned during the pandemic of wearing a mask, washing your hands frequently, and maintaining social distancing while traveling, especially during cold and flu seasons.

What are the essential safety items to carry while traveling?

It’s always a good idea to include a first aid kit. Depending on the trip you take, you may want to pack a flashlight, a whistle, and a travel door lock. It is also important to carry a copy of your passport and important documents in case of an emergency.

Why is it important to prioritize safety while traveling?

Prioritizing safety while traveling can help prevent accidents and emergencies that can ruin your trip. It can also help protect you from theft, scams, and other crimes that can occur in unfamiliar locations.

What strategies can travelers employ to protect themselves in unfamiliar destinations?

To protect yourself in unfamiliar destinations, you should research your destination thoroughly and be aware of the local laws and customs. If traveling alone, always be aware of your surroundings. Be mindful of your valuables, and avoid carrying large amounts of cash or wearing expensive jewelry.

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Dayvee Sutton is a national TV correspondent, host, and top expert who covers travel experiences, local cultures, and the environement.

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