Travelling is not necessarily more or less safe than staying at home. Think about it, the most accidents happen in your own four walls. If you want a number, the survey of Injury Facts 2015 estimated that 93,200 unintentional-injury related deaths occurred at the home and in the community in the year 2013. That is a whopping number and so you would want to flee this mad house, right? But even so, safety should always be of concern wherever you are and so I have compiled a list of important travel safety hacks to keep in mind and keep your worries away.
- Always be insured: Always have medical travel insurance and general travel insurance on big purchases, such as flights, tours and car rentals.
- Distribute your cash: Separate your cash and have an emergency stock in an absurd place that hopefully nobody would search in. For instance, in an empty lip balm, in old socks.
- Have your contacts on you: Carry general emergency and personal emergency contact numbers with you. Have a note in all your bags and the national numbers saved in your phone (and mind).
- Have copies: Have photograph of all your cards, passport, itinerary and bookings and store them online in a secure place. Give someone you trust access in case something happens. Travel safety first!
- Invest in an international credit card with which you can withdraw cash for free to avoid fees. Also a credit card gives you a higher chance of claiming money back in case of, for instance an airline goes bankrupt (as happened with me).
- Know the currency: Check out the foreign currency beforehand and double-check when you hand it over. You don’t want to be made believe you gave less and then have to give more.
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- Be culturally aware: Read up on local culture and manners to ensure your travel safety. You a) don’t want to offend anybody (and end up in a fist fight or being abused) and b) you do not break any laws unintentionally (and end up with a hefty fine or in jail).
- Keep your computer safe: Have a reliable anti-virus software installed, make regular (online) backups and have a CD for external virus scans ready for the worst case scenario. Never plug in other people’s USB sticks. Or you could end up in this horror scenario.
- Know how to read a map: In this day and age, phone’s are our guides and apps our saviours but what would happen if you lost it or the battery ran out? Having paper maps and even a compass on you can be vital.
- Know basic questions: Making an effort to speak in the local language goes a long way and knowing how to call for help, ask for the police etc can make or break your travel safety.
- Trust your instincts: Stick to common sense and your gut feeling. It knows more than you are aware of.
- Don’t get too talkative: Never share personal information with strangers. They might be clever in getting it out of you, but be weary. They don’t need to know details about you to have a great conversation anyway.
- Stay sober: Don’t get really drunk. Or better yet, don’t get drunk at all. Chances are something bad happens after, you could get robbed, attacked or not find your way back. Learn from the Australian who got seriously frostbitten in Canada.
- Don’t trust blindly: Double check services and places you book on review sites to not get tricked by pretty pictures and fancy wordings. Don’t set travel safety issues aside! Reading up on customer reviews on sites, such as Booking.com could save you a lot of trouble.
- Keep you camera near: Never let go of your camera. Always have a hand on it in case someone cuts the strings, you can still hold onto it. Hide it away in places known for muggings and pick-pocketings. You will look like the obvious target otherwise.
- Secure your luggage in your car: Attach suitcases with a metal cable to the vehicle in case you leave it in your (rental) car. And always cover it up so people can’t see what is in the car.
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Annemarie! Your blog is incredible! These tips are spot on, especially being a flight attendant and traveling so much I know you have to always be aware of your surroundings.
I recently launched a sustainable travel and wellness blog, Lo at Large! I’m in the beginning overwhelming phases and would greatly appreciate any support or advice I could get!
Hi Lauren, thank you so much. That comment totally made my day.
My advice for newbie bloggers is to join facebook groups to learn as much and engage in mutual exchanges at least a little bit every day. This way you will learn everything right from the source and can ask a lot of questions, too. Try “Female Digital Nomads” or “Femake Travel Bloggers”. Make sure you have a clear goal for your blog so you won’t get swept away by new shiny things or strategies. If you do social media, just focus on one and master that. Agan, fb groups are amazing here. Lots of success to you!
It’s funny though… I think Aussies are a bit obsessed about getting their jabs. I’m one and I know I was when I lived there. As a young backpacker, I’d go off and spend a couple of hundred bucks getting whatever the doctor ordered. I’ve lived overseas for 10 years and I travel constantly (I’m a travel writer) and I haven’t had a shot of anything in 10 years and I’ve travelled all over the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and not caught a thing. And I just don’t know anyone, ot even frequent travellers who go to dodgy countries, who get shots anymore – there just isn’t the level of awareness around in some countries that there is down under. Interestingly, I caught Malaria around 12 years ago when I was in the Amazon and had taken all the precautions.