Traveling Abroad?: 12 Travel Tips To Make Sure You Stay Out Of Harm's Way

by Clay Winowiecki

As safe as I believe traveling is, it is not without exception that things can happen. Tourists are targets for thieves because if they have enough money to travel around the world, they definitely have enough to "spare."

Learning a few travel safety tips will do wonders for keeping you protected and making sure you have an excellent trip. Here are a few I've used in the past that could prove helpful:

1. Buy Small Locks

Picking up a few small locks from a store only costs a few dollars and can save you everything.

I use these small locks to attach two zippers together through the holes in them. This prevents people from snooping through your bag.

If you’re worried about your bag being stolen, you can also pick up a full mesh cover and then lock it to something like you would a bike.

2. Get Vaccinations

It’s amazing how many areas in the world are affected by things that are uncommon in the states.

Especially if you plan on going to third world countries or being in big crowds of people, check to see what vaccines you should get beforehand from your doctor.

3. Do Not Give To Beggars

While this may be incredibly hard to do, especially when they are children, this may end up costing you. If a beggar, or someone close by who is watching, notices that you have a lot of money, it may mean trouble.

There are also dozens of other reasons to not give to beggars, the worst one is that if children make enough on the streets, their parents may not send them to a public school.

4. Separate Your Sources of Income

Being mugged is a scary thought and in the rare case that it does happen, you’ll want to be prepared to give the perpetrator what he or she wants. Store only a little bit of money in your wallet and keep the rest hidden in other places.

You can hide money back in your room, in a travel pack or even in your sock. My favorite place is in the pocket that is under the hood of my travel pack. No one is getting in there.

5. Scan Your Major Documents

In case anything bad happens to your passport or other important documentation you’re carrying, it’s wise to photocopy it to provide proof that it exists. This may get you out of a tough jam.

6. Buy Travel Insurance

Whether you’re traveling for a weekend or a year, travel insurance can never be underestimated. Even if you don’t think you’ll be doing anything dangerous, things happen. When they do, you’re going to want to be cared for.

A typical plan covers up to $100,000 of medical expenses and will even replace your tech gear if anything happens to it. Many travelers like to go through World Nomad.

7. Don’t Be Overly Flashy

Showy clothing and jewelry is a huge indication for pickpockets and other thieves to turn you into their next target.

Leave all of your expensive wear at home and just rock a t-shirt and some shorts or pants. The less attention you draw to yourself, the better.

8. Learn The Local Laws

Knowing what you can and can’t do in a country compared to your own is something every traveler must learn when going to a country he or she hasn’t visited before.

It’s easy to learn the local laws on the Internet, but your best bet is to bring a guidebook with you for quick reference.

9. Stay Connected

Let your family and friends know where you plan on traveling and give them a rough itinerary for your plans, especially if they happen to change. You can easily talk to them every day through email and programs like Skype.

They’ll know if something’s up if you haven’t contacted them in a day or two.

10. Be Healthy

Eating the right foods and drinking water can keep you going through all of the walking and any hot weather you come across. The last thing you want is to pass out or injure yourself halfway through your vacation.

It can be hard to be healthy while traveling, but do the best you can. Running or doing quick 20- to 30-minute workouts every other morning will get you super charged for the day.

11. Avoid Shortcuts

That alley may cut right across the block, but it’s better to take the road more traveled in this scenario.

Unless you know the area well, you have no idea who could be there waiting to cause trouble. The more visible you are to the public, the better off you are.

12. Keep a Low Profile

Getting into arguments or taking part in public demonstrations can make you a target and make it clear that you’re a tourist. Especially with arguments, you can easily make others very upset with you.

If someone is yelling at you, I suggest trying to walk away or calling the police to assist you.

Photo Courtesy: Tumblr