Do you spend your time browsing the internet for flight deals? When you see a world map do you have a hard time looking away? Do you look at Instagram posts from far-flung destinations and picture yourself in the photo?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, it could be a sign you need more travel in your life.
The solution? Make a plan, book your flight and go. Travel is an expense you’ll rarely regret.
But traveling to a foreign country isn’t always easy and you’ll need to take extra precautions when you’re abroad. These vacation safety tips can help.
Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or getting your first passport stamp, this list can help you learn how to be safe on vacation.
1. Share Your Location
Many travelers meticulously document their journeys online. Other travelers do not. But someone at home needs to know your general location at all times.
If you’ve planned a detailed itinerary, leave it with a friend or family member. Include flight numbers and hotel contact information.
Consider setting up a private account if you don’t use social media. Grant access to whoever you wish but try to post your location every few days. Even if you don’t share a photo or a status update, your last known location is valuable information.
2. Tell Your Bank You’ll Be Traveling
One of the worst travel mishaps is a lost or stolen bank card. But equally as alarming is finding out your credit or debit cards don’t work at all.
Many banks will automatically flag suspicious transactions and disable the card. Contact your banks and credit card companies before you leave and let them know you’ll be using the cards abroad.
Also, be sure to have the bank’s contact information stored separately from your cards. This makes it easier to call if you encounter any problems.
3. Keep Your Phone and Wallet Safe
Crimes of opportunity happen everywhere, even at home. But pickpockets and purse-snatchers can spot a tourist from a mile away. It’s wise to have preparations in place.
Try to keep your phone and wallet on your person but never in your back pocket. And remember that you don’t have to sacrifice fashion to keep your things safe.
Designers create fantastic clothing for travelers. Scarves have zippered pockets, a secure pouch that fastens around your thigh fits nicely under a dress and items can easily be tucked into a tall boot.
4. Secure Your Hotel Room
Most hotels are perfectly safe but it’s good to take a few extra security steps.
If your room has a safe, use it. Keep an extra credit card, cash and your passport (or copies) in the safe whenever you leave the room. If your room doesn’t have a safe, use the one at the front desk.
Snap photos of your items before you hand them over, and always ask for a receipt.
Pack a rubber doorstop or a travel door lock to secure your hotel door when you’re inside your room. These can prevent someone from entering your room uninvited, even if they have a key.
5. Carry Your Hotel’s Business Card
Communication is always an issue when you don’t speak a country’s language. Phone apps help a great deal, but what if your phone unexpectedly dies and you can’t tell anyone where you’re staying or look it up on a map?
When you check into your hotel, grab a business card (or two) every time. If you have no other method of giving your hotel’s name and address to a cab driver, you can show them the card.
Plus, it’s never a good idea to hand your phone over to a stranger, even a cab driver. Instead of giving them your phone with the map pulled up, just provide them with the card. Get another cab if they don’t immediately know where the hotel is.
6. Public WiFi Is Not Your Friend
Many cities abroad offer free, public wifi. Free wifi might sound like a great way to keep your data usage lower, but it’s not. Phishers are savvy and can easily access your private information through these public networks.
Consider using a VPN to hide your information. Even your hotel’s wifi network might not be secure, so browse wisely.
7. Be Cautious With Cannabis and Other Substances
As restrictions on cannbis continue to ease in the United States, it’s easy to forget that other countries still have strict laws. Never pack THC or CBD products in your luggage when traveling abroad.
Be cautious about other substances as well, especially party drugs like MDMA. You’ll have no way of knowing the exact ingredients in these pills. You could get seriously ill.
And the last thing you want is a run-in with foreign law enforcement. Unless you’re in a country where cannabis and other substances are permitted, it might be wise to avoid them.
8. Buy Travel Insurance
In these times of canceled flights, sudden border closures and widespread illness, it’s imperative that you buy travel insurance. Some countries even mandate insurance as part of their visa requirements.
Travel insurance can help you recover lost money if your flights are canceled or delayed. Insurance can also reimburse you for stolen items. But one of the most important aspects of travel insurance is medical coverage.
Remember, if you wind up in the hospital, some travel insurance policies only reimburse you after the fact. You may be required to pay up front for medical care.
Check if your personal health insurance offers coverage abroad. Then browse various travel insurance policies to find one that suits your needs.
Vacation Safety Tips Give You Peace of Mind
Traveling is not inherently unsafe. You simply need to be more cautious when you’re in an unfamiliar place. And sometimes, common sense is one of the best vacation safety tips of all.
Are you planning to travel this summer? Have a look at some of our other helpful travel content to learn how to stay safe while you’re on an international adventure.