12 Tips to Stay Safe While Traveling Abroad

Today's article contains some tips on how to stay safe while traveling abroad so you can minimize any inconveniences that may arise. Take a look!
12 Tips to Stay Safe While Traveling Abroad

Last update: 16 June, 2021

Knowing how to stay safe while traveling abroad is important. Indeed, there are many advantages to connecting with cultures that are different from our own as it opens our minds and eradicates prejudices.

The flavors and aromas found in other ways of living to teach us to appreciate other ways of living. We also learn the many things we all have in common. However, the reality of life is quite different in other places, and so it’s a good idea to know how to stay safe.

Staying safe while traveling is the first thing you must take into account when determining a destination and when visiting it. The range of precautions is wide and you must bear in mind the restrictions and requirements of each country as well as their traditions, gastronomy, and residents.

This article contains 12 tips to stay safe while traveling abroad to maintain your peace of mind. Most of these are merely common sense, but everyone knows this is the least common of senses and often overlook or take them for granted.

Let’s take a look!

12 tips to stay safe while traveling abroad

1. Get informed about the destination

Try to find as much information about the destination you intend to travel to as you can. Ideally, browse through reliable sources such as the pages of the government of that country, or the official pages of your own place of residence. It’s actually quite easy to find information about any part of the world online.

Don’t forget the visa and official document requirements, the health situation of the country, mandatory vaccinations, type of currency and exchange, and any telephone numbers of interest, among other information.

Perhaps there are no diseases such as cholera, typhoid fever, yellow fever, rabies, or Zika where you live. However, you must know they’re a problem in other nations. You can find updated information on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention page.

2. Have the right documentation

In addition to an identity document, some countries also require passports, visas, and even international driver’s licenses. Refer to the consulate or embassy of the place you’re going to visit.

It’s of utmost importance to check the expiration dates of all your documents. It seems logical, but people often overlook it.

A compass, a toy plane and a world map.
Planning a trip abroad involves a period of research and document acquisition.

3. Buy travel assistance insurance

Travel insurance isn’t negotiable when traveling to another country regardless of how optimal your health might be.

In fact, the insurance policy must be as comprehensive as possible and include aerial medical evacuation. Many of them also include missed flights or connections, theft, family emergencies, and civil liability.

Always keep the contact information of the consulate or embassy of your country of origin handy. This is because it’s through these entities that you can manage an emergency or any other unforeseen event — attacks, natural disasters, coups d’état, etc. We’re not being fatalistic or negative here – only realistic.

4. Have the right currency and a cell phone are important to stay safe while traveling abroad

We suggest entering your country of destination with some local currency as you may be able to get better change outside the airport. Indeed, credit and debit card transactions are common throughout the world but many places require cash.

As for your phone, enable it for data usage abroad. Always check the costs of this service in advance, as it’s quite expensive in some cases. Use the local wifi as much as you can.

5. Pay attention to your surroundings

Let’s set aside the bureaucratic issues and get into the more practical part of staying safe while traveling abroad. Always pay attention to your surroundings.

Yes, some monuments and tourist sites are quite dazzling and you want to give them 100% of your attention. However, you must always be aware of what’s going on near you.

Crowds are particularly convenient situations for criminals to do their thing and they tend to go after the unwary. It’s not a matter of being paranoid, only maintain a basic state of alertness and keep an eye on anyone too close for comfort.

6. Your attitude can keep you safe

Body language is key when it comes to attracting or repelling possible attacks. According to a study, criminals choose their victims according to their degree of vulnerability, which reflects on the way they walk and behave.

No matter how much fear or insecurity you may feel, keep it to yourself. Act and walk as if nothing’s happening. You may not be aware of it but most criminals study their potential victims beforehand, while you’re distracted enjoying your surroundings.

7. Just let it go

Ok so all of your precautions didn’t pay off and you’ve been the subject of a robbery. Don’t confront or chase the thief, don’t start a fight, and don’t resist. Your life is more valuable than any of the objects they may steal from you.

Remember: You have the best travel insurance and they’ll take care of everything.

8. Money and documentation are important to stay safe while traveling

Never keep all your money, cards, and documents in one place. This is because you’ll lose everything if someone steals them. Be aware of the payment preferences at your destination and know exactly how you’ll pay for hotels, restaurants, and excursions in advance.

For instance, you can divide cash and cards among your handbag, backpack, suitcase, and even your laundry bags. Another suggestion is to keep two purses or wallets on you. Place a little amount of cash and some expired cards in one and hide the good cards and the rest of the cash in the other one. Then, hand the useless wallet to the thief if you’re the victim of a robbery.

Furthermore, make copies of all of your documentation (visa, passport, vaccination card, driver’s license, identity card) and keep them on a flash drive or in one of your e-mails. This way you’ll be able to easily access it if you need it.

9. Keep a low profile

Don’t take your camera and cell phone everywhere you go but keep them hidden until the moment you use them if you do. The same goes for expensive watches, computers, and any other electronic devices that may be desirable to the wrong type of person.

10. Be careful with your backpacks and bags

Similarly, try not to carry backpacks with easy-to-open zippers on the back. This is because anyone can open them in a second without you even noticing. Use padlocks for the closures of those compartments in which you keep important objects.

A woman who knows how to stay safe while traveling abroad.
A tourist’s confused attitude is what usually attracts the attention of criminals, so act normally. Be as natural as possible.

11. Beware of country-specific scams

Every country has its own types of scams and you should be aware of them beforehand. For example, a street beggar may only approach you to get you to reveal the whereabouts of your wallet or to distract you while someone else steals something from you.

They may genuinely be asking for help, so trust your instincts and don’t take risks.

12. Use your personal instinct to stay safe while traveling

As we just mentioned above, listen to your gut to stay safe. Always listen to that little inner voice that tells you that something’s wrong or that it’s too good to be true.

Your sixth sense never fails!

It’s possible to stay safe while traveling abroad

Traveling is a very enriching activity that reduces stress and anxiety and promotes a healthier relationship with yourself and those around you.

Never let fear of the unknown take away your desire to travel. Fear isn’t bad, as long as you know how to manage and control it without allowing it to overcome you.

You don’t have to distrust everyone or be friends with everyone who approaches you, but it’s important to know how to balance any degree of friendship you establish with strangers. Relax, but keep your eyes open at all times.

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