13 safety tips for the next time you travel
Whether you're an avid traveller or a novice, it's essential for you to take safety precautions while you adventure. Read on for some ways that you can protect yourself while abroad. Don't feel overwhelmed, it's all easy stuff!
1. Research the destination ahead of time.
Google and your travel agent are your best friend! Read up on the safest areas and the places to avoid for your destination. Online forums and travel books are great resources.
2. Guard your passport and other valuables.
Make sure that you lock up your passport, laptops, and other valuable items in the safe in your room. If you do not have a safe, or don't think that it is secure ask the front desk at your hotel if they have safety deposit boxes to keep your valuables in. Leave expensive jewelry and unnecessary valuables at home. Make a copy of your passport and itinerary to share with someone staying home, or take a photo to save it on your phone just in case.
3. Don't drink the water.
Some countries don't have safe drinking water. Find out in advance if the water where you are travelling to is safe. Don't forget about when you're brushing your teeth! I often use bottled/filtered water to brush my teeth when I'm somewhere that doesn't have safe drinking water.
4. Watch out for pickpockets!
Please don't use your back pocket to keep your money, phone, ID, or anything else valuable. It is easy for pickpockets to swipe from your back pocket without you noticing. Money belts are a great option. If you carry a purse or backpack, keep it on your front side or get a backpack that has a zipped pocket at the back which will be right against your back. When you sit down on a train/bus/chair please loop the straps through your leg or arm or use a carabiner clip to secure it to you or the chair.
5. Travel with a group, even if you're on your own.
If you like solo travel, or there are just two of you, it's a great idea to join in on a small group escorted tour or day trip. Don't go out late at night on your own, and don't wander off if you are intoxicated.
6. Look up destination-specific safety information.
The Canadian government has information specific to the destination that you are travelling to. You can review it here: https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/advisories
7. Don't buy drugs.
Please don't buy drugs when you are travelling if they are illegal in that country. You are exposing yourself to criminals and the risk that you will be scammed/hurt skyrockets.
8. Avoid public wi-fi.
When you'd like to connect to wi-fi, make sure that you are using the official wi-fi from the hotel that you're staying at. Avoid random public wi-fi as they can leave you exposed to having your personal and banking information hacked from your device. A great option for affordable data while you are on the go in another country is to install an e-sim on your phone. I did this for my recent trip to Portugal and it was fantastic! Check it out here: www.airalo.com
9. Secure your room.
Make sure that you keep your hotel room door locked at all times. When you're sleeping, use the deadbolt, or a door jam for additional security. Don't let strangers into your room.
10. Get travel insurance.
In the unfortunate event that you lose something, are robbed, your luggage gets lost, or you get sick, it's important to have travel insurance for your trip. Protect yourself and your investment.
11. Learn common travel scams.
There are some common scams that can happen anywhere. Google "common scams" for your destination and see what comes up. Once you know what they are, it's easier to avoid being taken advantage of. Please don't give money to beggars and children, for example. There is usually a gang member waiting to collect from them. If you would like to help them, give them food instead.
12. Register with your country's embassy.
Canada has a program called the "Registration of Canadians Abroad." Once you register you can receive information about a natural disaster or emergency abroad and seek help from the embassy. Please register here before you travel: https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/registration
13. Don't do unsafe things for photos!
Please don't perch on an unstable/windy cliff, by wildlife, or any other unsafe environment just for the sake of a photo. There is a growing trend of injuries and deaths of tourists that have done just this.
Lastly, it is ultimately your responsibility to keep yourself safe while your travel. Do your research, trust your gut, don't take risks, and be smart! This is just a small sample of some safety tips, but I hope that it's helped you out. With the right knowledge and mindset, you will have an amazing trip!