It’s so important especially in today’s day and age to be aware of your surrounding and your destinations. Tourism boards sole job is to make a place as appealing as possible, to paint it in the best light. They promote their city, country as the number one destination, when the reality could be very far from truth. Here are some tips I use to keep myself safe while traveling not only over seas but within my own country.
- Research… research… research!!! I cannot stress this enough. Know the area you’re traveling to. For example say you’re planning a two week trip to Buenos Aires. The first thing I would do is check your State department’s website. For those in the US go to https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/alertswarnings.html. It lists all of the travel warnings per country. After that I check if there is a crime watch website for the city I’m traveling to and try to identify high crime areas. As a solo female traveler this is invaluable information because it helps you to locate what is around you and help you determine where you should stay.
- Sign up for STEP. This program through the State department is the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. This is a program where you can alert the State Department as to where you are traveling. Then once you’re at your destination make sure to inform your State department that you’ve arrived. Especially if traveling alone it’s a good idea to let as many people as possible know where you are.
- Don’t bring anything you’re not willing to lose. Sounds crazy, I know. Yes you’ll have your laptop, phone and perhaps kindle but those are common place among locals. What will make you stand out is flashing your cash around and wearing expensive jewlery. Leave that at home. I always think when packing if I left this behind or it was (gasp) stolen could it be easily replaced. If the answer is yes, bring it. If no, leave it behind. This extends to wedding rings. It’s easy enough to purchase a placeholder for while you travel. Qalo makes silicon rings for active types who need an alternative to the traditional wedding band to save their rings and their fingers. The company makes these rings for under $30. Here’s a side tip: if you’re a solo female traveler, wearing one of these rings not only helps keep unwanted advances away but it signifies to others that you’re not traveling alone. It will make for a safer trip.
- Blend in! Most places I go, I’m frequently asked for directions. What does that tell me? That people think I’m a local and that’s what you want when you travel. When you look like a local you are less of a target for theives. By keeping your wardrobe neutral and not advertizing certain brands you can avoid sticking out. Researching local culture and dress can go a long way in keeping you safe. The last tip to blending in is to be confident. When you walk with your head up and act like you know where you going that is all the confidence you need while traveling.
- Get Travel Insurance! This is a big one. You might think that because you have health insurance you’re covered, but Travel insurance covers the unexpected. For example if you can’t make your flight because you happen to be in country that is experiencing a transportation strike. Without travel insurance your flight wouldn’t be refunded and you would more than likely be stuck. Hopefully you’ll never need it but you shouldn’t travel without it.
That’s my top 5 Safety tips. Share them with your friends. The more informed you are the better. What are your top 5 safety tips? How do you stay safe when you’re not at home? Until next time, life is short, travel now!