Essential Travel Safety Advice: 7 Tips for your next Adventure

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Travelling the world, you find it can be a scary place. For every beautiful beach there’s a crowd filled tourist trap. But there’s no reward without risk, and leaving your comfort zone can be intimidating. A little forward thinking can ensure you’re well prepared when things go wrong, or even better avoid trouble altogether. It doesn’t matter if you’re with friends or a group, a little awareness can go a long way to stop anything from ruining your trip. If you’re travelling solo then it’s even more important to be aware of your surroundings. So take note of these seven essential travel safety tips and you’ll have an amazing (and safe) adventure. 

1. Update your family

Should there be an incident or national disaster when you’re travelling it’ll give friends or family an idea if you may be affected. Share a copy of your flight numbers and itineraries with them, including hotel reservations. It will give them peace of mind as well as if the worst happens they know if you’re likely to be affected and where to start searching.

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2. A Backup phone

I cannot think of anyone nowadays that remembers numbers. If I lost my phone, especially when solo travelling, I would be royally screwed. I would have to buy another one, set it up and download the apps, and pray my family answers on social media. I find the idea of this to be stressful, let alone having to go through it. It’s a habit I picked up solo backpacking Australia and now it comes with me on every trip, but I have a backup phone I leave in my hotel room or with my luggage. In the event I lose my phone or get mugged, then all I have to do is get back to my room. That backup phone has the numbers of my family, my insurance, as well as access to my flights and bookings.

For my own personal comfort I have a smartphone for this. But you can just get a basic cheap one to store that’ll save phone numbers. You don’t even have to buy a new phone, keep your old one when you upgrade, or buy a renewed device from Amazon or Backmarket. I’ve obviously gone a digital route with this, but it doesn’t have to be. Of course something that can communicate is preferred like a tablet. But you can go as low tech as a notepad with important numbers written down.

3. Don’t keep all your valuables with you

I have a bad habit of doing this, and I will admit I find it more comfortable. But realistically having your wallet in your back pocket is leaving it more vulnerable. Pickpockets will use misdirection to focus your attention elsewhere, leaving you oblivious to them rifling through your pockets. Sometimes it’s as simple as a bump and an apology. Your brain notices the big interactions more, meaning smaller interactions like your wallet being lifted get ignored.

The more you have with you, the more you stand to lose. It’s better to lose just your phone and wallet, than to also lose watches and expensive jewellery too. Flashy jewellery is like a red flag to a bull when it comes to pickpockets. Generally when I’m travelling I’ll wear a cheap watch with no sentimental value, they still look great but if something happens I’m less upset. 

4. Use a VPN

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is indispensable for travel, and should be on everyone’s devices. A VPN ensures secure and encrypted internet connections, safeguarding sensitive personal and financial information from potential hackers and cybercriminals. Travel often involves connecting to public Wi-Fi networks, which are vulnerable to security threats; a VPN acts as a shield, encrypting data and enhancing online privacy. For more information about why a VPN is an essential travel item, check out my post on VPN’s below.

I use VPN on all my travels, and even when home in the UK. I have attached a link to NordVPN here. By signing up through the link won’t cost you any extra, but I may receive a small commission which helps support the blog. 

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5. Don’t dress flash and don’t look like a tourist

It’s no doubt we take the most photos when we are travelling. A walk in a Spanish town will infinitely look better than our usual commute. Because of this we do tend to make more of an effort. Put on our favourite clothes, wear our nicest watches and jewellery, all to take the best photos. The more you standout, the bigger a target you make yourself. 

Essential travel safety advice is to always avoid looking like an easy target, Tourists are easy marks for pickpockets. We are rarely in the country for long, reducing the time frame local police have to investigate any crimes. We are also less aware  of a lot of things, local customs, our surroundings, even where we are going. That gives them a perfect opportunity as whilst we are reading a map or navigating a crowd our pockets can be picked. To avoid being a target, avoid looking like one. Walk confidently, know your surroundings and try not to stand out from the crowd. 

6. Be aware of scams

Every country has its own scams, so it’s important to know what you’re getting into. I’ve been in some countries and seen stores selling fake perfumes. Often they have a sampler of the real perfume in front to convince you to buy. So you don’t realise your sealed box is just water in a perfume bottle until you’re long gone back to your hotel. Another scam was in Rome, I could barely walk to the Colosseum without being handed by men trying to sell their wares. Often this is junk jewellery they will offer as a “gift” and force you to put on. They will then start to pressure you for money. The easy way to avoid these are to just walk away, and only purchase from official retailers. Sometimes essential travel safety is all about recognising a dangerous situation, and knowing when to walk away.

7. Be insured

Sometimes no matter what you do, things will just go wrong. There’s only so much you can control but that’s where insurance comes in. If you have an accident, flights are cancelled or even lose your passport. A good travel insurer will get your plans back on track, with you barely missing a step. Make sure you choose a policy that’s right for you. That includes winter and water sports if you are looking for a more extreme trip, or one that’s policy will cover the whole duration of your trip. For more information about Travel Insurance check out my blog post below for a complete guide.

So those are seven essential travel safety tips for your next adventure. There’s always risk when travelling, and hopefully things never go wrong. But little steps or preventive measures can make your journey go a lot more smoothly.

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