Health and wellness should always be a top priority if you’re going to Getaway Well on your next vacation.
However, eating well, maintaining healthy lifestyle habits, and exercising regularly aren’t the only things that you need to keep in mind.
Safety, security, and smart traveling tactics are also important to consider when traveling abroad. What can you do to protect yourself and your loved ones from the unforeseen dangers lurking in less protected areas of the world?
This page will help you understand some of the dangers that could be waiting for you on the other side of the world.
Then we’ll provide some safety tips for traveling abroad that you can use to prepare yourself for the safest trips possible.
You can’t take the discussion lightly when you’re thinking about what to consider when traveling abroad.
The reality is that there are some very beautiful, exotic places in the world to visit, but not all of them are safe for tourists.
You need to keep your wits about you while you’re visiting these locations so that you and your loved ones don’t get taken advantage of – or worse.
When traveling abroad, consider what to bring with you that can help keep you and your belongings safe.
As with so many other things that you can do to Getaway Well, preparation is the key to success.
Spend some time researching the area that you’re going to be visiting, so that you know where the tourist-friendly areas are located.
If you dig into some blogs online about travelers who’ve visited those same spots before, you will likely find some information about places you shouldn’t visit as well.
Be sure to listen to those recommendations.
It’s a lot easier to sneak up and take something off a person when they’re carrying a big, clunky backpack or bags overflowing with stuff.
You’re there to explore, but if you’re in the city, you don’t need to pack enough to camp out. It’s in your best interests not to.
Bring only the essentials that you know you’re going to need while you’re away from your hotel room. Not only will it be easier on your body if you’ve got a busy day out planned, but it will also be safer.
If you’ve done your research ahead of time, you’ll likely know a couple of areas near where you’re staying that you shouldn’t go wandering around – especially at night.
It’s fine to be out and enjoying the area that you’re visiting, but one of the most valuable safety tips for traveling abroad is not to let the explorer in you override your better judgment.
Don’t go wandering down dark alleys, even if you think there might be something interesting on the other side. Stay in areas where you can be seen by other people, and don’t wander off from your group.
Just because you’re excited to be visiting a new area, doesn’t mean that you should draw a lot of attention to yourself.
Avoid being too loud or boisterous in public. Bringing a lot of unnecessary attention on yourself and your traveling companions will only serve to make your group a target.
We’re not saying don’t have fun, but getting loudly intoxicated at the local pub and then singing through the streets at night is not a very good idea.
In the same way that you don’t want to make a scene when you’re enjoying yourself out in public, keeping your valuables safely stored out of sight is an incredibly important safety tip for traveling abroad.
One of the biggest problems with crime in foreign countries involves thefts. When you start flashing around a wad of money (especially USD or CAD), you are much more likely to draw the attention of local criminals.
Many of these people are adept at targeting tourists, especially those who are loose with their cash. Don’t make yourself into an easy mark.
Experienced pickpockets can get a wallet out of your back pocket and disappear before you’d even know something was going on.
Consider carrying a bag or money pouch with a lock on it, or even purchasing a secure neck wallet, which will make it much, much harder for a thief to take money or important paperwork off your body without you noticing.
Even with all the precautions in the world, there’s no way of knowing when a local thief may target you or your loved ones.
Because of this, you should never, ever leave your hotel with all of your cash in hand – at least, not until you’re checking out to leave.
Bring only the cash with you that you think you’ll be spending over your day, and maybe a touch extra for unplanned expenses. Leave the rest of your money stored safely in your hotel room – in a safe, if it’s available.
Every traveler’s nightmare is finding out that they’re in a foreign country, and they’ve lost their passport or important travel documentation that they need to get home.
This fear can be avoided by ensuring that you have digital copies of all your valuable travel documents readily available to you in multiple places.
This way, even if you happen to lose a piece of documentation, you’ll have others available to use. Feeling stranded is the perfect way to quickly ruin the rest of your trip.
Not all the dangers that you’ll face in foreign countries have to do with a local crime – some of them are biological concerns.
Namely, local illnesses that your body may not be prepared to face. The last thing that you want to do is spend half of your vacation in bed because you caught something awful.
Visit your doctor before you leave for your trip and ensure that you’re up-to-date on all your immunizations. This will save you from some dangerous and potentially expensive medical emergencies while traveling.
Staying on your toes is one safety tip for traveling abroad that many travelers neglect to keep in mind, and sometimes end up causing problems.
Anytime you’re leaving a store or restaurant, keep an eye out for anyone that seems like they might be following you when you leave.
In many cases, thieves will hang around local establishments and wait until they see someone, who they believe they can target. If you notice someone following you, get into another business and seek help.
When possible, approach local authorities you come across if you believe you’re being followed. They won’t take lightly to locals harassing tourists.
While it might seem like a fun idea to play a game or buy some unique knick-knacks from local panhandlers – DO NOT DO IT.
These people are often adept at taking advantage of tourists, and in some cases, even use this tactic to draw you in so they can rob you. The same goes for local beggars.
You may want to do something altruistic and give back to some of the local poor population (and there is a LOT in some parts of the world), but it’s just not a safe idea.
If you do feel the need to give back, despite the risks, consider buying some water or food to give them, rather than handing out money.
It’s not a pleasant thought to consider, but abduction and ransoming do occur occasionally in some impoverished parts of the world.
That’s why it’s important to create a plan with friends and family to regularly update them with your status throughout your trip.
When traveling abroad, consider what to tell your family and friends. Where are you going each day? What time are you expecting to return to the hotel? How can they reach you? How often will you be checking in? Who should they call if you deviate from the contact plan?
These questions will help them notice quickly if something happens, and take appropriate action to help protect their safety.
For the same reason that you wouldn’t want to put yourself in unsafe situations around the city you’re visiting, you absolutely should never, ever hitchhike in a foreign country.
It might seem adventurous and fun, but the truth of the matter is that it’s dangerous. You don’t know the people you’ll be getting into a car with, and you may not even know how to fluently speak the local language.
Ultimately, this can lead to you ending up lost in an area you don’t recognize, or worse, putting yourself and your loved ones in a vehicle with strangers that have questionable motives.
On the off-chance that you do find yourself lost and away from your hotel throughout your trip, it’s a really smart idea to keep local emergency numbers handy.
Not only can this be a saving grace if you get lost and need to call your hotel for directions, but it can also be a lifesaving precaution in the event of a medical emergency.
Part of this safety tip for traveling abroad involves knowing how to use the local telephones, but it’s a small amount of extra effort for something that could have life-altering consequences if you don’t.
You should also make sure you’re staying hydrated to avoid putting yourself at risk of heatstroke on those long, hot days outside.
It’s really easy to fall into a trap when someone’s offering you a deal that seems too good to be true.
For example, a common scam in Cuba involves local criminals finding tourists that are looking to acquire some Cuban cigars. They promise them cheap cigars, far below market value. Then they lead them to a local apartment to buy them, where the tourists are then mugged.
You might be looking for a good deal, but it’s not worth your safety. If something seems too good to be true, always assume it is.
In the same way that you wouldn’t want to be carrying bags full of things as you’re making your way around the city, you don’t want to bring too much on local public transit systems.
Many countries in the world have much busier public transit systems than North America, and some of them are packed so full of people, you can hardly move once you’re on the vehicle.
Being trapped in a small area with so many people leaves you open to being pickpocketed – particularly while you’re stuck frozen in the same position and can’t tell the difference between someone leaning on you and someone with a hand on your wallet.
Of course, this should be a given no matter where we’re traveling in the world, but always be nice to the locals.
This doesn’t mean going out of your way to make conversation with everyone (aka making yourself a target). It means being polite, courteous, and respectful to everyone you meet.
If you behave responsibly and treat the locals respectfully, you’re much more likely that they’ll return the favor. Some may even help watch out for you, while you’re visiting their city.
Even with all the vaccinations and immunizations that your doctor may suggest to you, there’s no accounting for local water quality.
Many areas of the world don’t have drinkable water readily available through plumbing as we do in North America. That means you need to be diligent about only drinking and cooking with bottled water throughout your trip.
This may not be a life-or-death safety tip for traveling abroad, but you certainly won’t enjoy the rest of your vacation, if you suddenly find yourself confined to the toilet with traveler’s diarrhea.
Because crime is so prevalent in certain other parts of the world, you must always follow the mantra of ‘don’t be a hero’ when you find yourself in difficult or frightening situations.
If the situation is happening to you, just hand over whatever valuables are being requested. You’ll be much more likely to come away unscathed if you do.
When the situation is happening to someone else, especially someone you don’t know – STAY OUT OF IT. Alert the local authorities if you can, but don’t confront criminals on your own. No amount of money or valuables is worth your life.
Traveling can be a wonderful, life-changing experience, but even when we’re living our best lives, we need to be mindful of the real dangers that are present when we’re away from home.
Take care to follow these essential safety tips for traveling abroad, and you’ll be much more likely to avoid finding yourself in unpleasant situations when you’re away.
And if you can travel safely anywhere in the world, you’ll be prepared to Getaway Well.