Many of us are thrilled to be out on the road or up in the air again now that travel is accessible again after the last few years of the global pandemic. People are emerging from their homes en masse and booking trips near and far this year.
However, it’s important to remember that just because you may not be so concerned with the coronavirus anymore, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take your health and safety very seriously. In fact, there are numerous tips you can follow to protect yourself when you’re away from home and avoid becoming one of those sad statistics you often hear about.
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Choose Destinations with Care
Take your time selecting which destinations to travel to. If you head to safer, more stable, and secure places, you’ll automatically reduce your risk of safety issues arising. Take a look at the warnings and other updates that the government issue about the current state of different nations to see what threat level they see places at. Remember that this can change suddenly if political coups, health outbreaks, or terrorism warnings arise.
Keep a watch on other alerts and news articles about situations that could be deteriorating or might do soon in specific cities or regions of the countries you’re considering traveling to. Be particularly mindful if you plan to travel solo.
Hire Private Security
If your budget allows it and you need to travel to a risky and unsafe area, it’s wise to hire private security. You could have someone go with you and your traveling party from when you leave home until you get back again, especially if gaining entry into the place where your trip begins requires some assistance. Alternatively, you might hire guarding services from a business based in the destination you’re headed to and have them on hand for all or part of your trip.
You may feel it’s safe enough to do most things by yourself, but that for one particular element, such as a trip to a terrorism hot-spot or for a period when you’ll be presenting on a controversial topic at an event, etc., it’s best to have people safeguarding your wellbeing.
Speak with travel agents, government departments, and those “on the ground” about the risks involved in different areas and select guards and timeframes appropriately. Make sure that whomever you hire is suitably trained, licensed, and experienced and has good communication skills, especially if you’re traveling somewhere where you don’t speak the local language.
Be Subtle About Valuables
Another top tip to boost your security when traveling is to be smart and keep your valuables hidden as much as possible. Don’t make wads of cash or your credit cards, passport, or expensive jewelry and tech items, for instance, visible unless you have to. Try to be subtle about getting these items out and using them, and take advantage of hotel room safes and other possible security solutions.
The best bet, though, is to not take things with you that you would hate to have stolen. Keep your possessions minimal and consider taking out insurance on items and cash before you leave so that you’re covered if something untoward happens (or you lose goods).
Minimize Your Use of Public WiFi
Of course, digital security is just as important as physical safety and needs to be thought about. While it’s sometimes necessary to access public internet services while away, try to limit your use of these. You never know who’s monitoring the computers and WiFi you use in internet cafes, restaurants, coffee shops, hotel lobbies, hostels, airports, train stations, libraries, and the like.
Hackers may have implanted viruses and malware onto systems so they can log the usernames and passwords people input, or they might even have security cameras set up in public WiFi areas to try to spot information that way. It’s much better to use password-protected internet you can access via your own devices, if these will work and be affordable overseas. Alternatively, take advantage of locked internet for which you can get a password in hotels and other areas.
Some other security travel tips to keep in mind include:
- Tell people where you’ll be and when
- Pay attention to your surroundings
- Don’t take your eyes off your luggage or drinks, etc., when out
- Learn local police and ambulance numbers and relevant SOS signals and help words
- Keep backups of important documents with you so you can take these to embassies or banks if needed
- Learn about common scams against tourists
The more you educate yourself and take steps to stay safe, the less likely it is you’ll have bad experiences while away. Take charge of your security each time you travel rather than leaving it up to other people or fate.