With more young, inexperienced wanderlusters traveling now than ever before, general safety precautions are in order. Here’s how to stay safe on your travels:
Be aware of your money
Keep always keep small amounts of cash on hand, and keep copies of the fronts and backs of all of your credit cards (as well as passports or IDs). Also, don’t forget to notify your bank that you are traveling because they will freeze your cards at the most inconvenient times if you don’t.
Try not to stand out; do some basic research as to what the locals generally wear. What may be standard summer clothing in the U.S. may be much too revealing in other countries and can even be considered inappropriate. Men and women alike, though, should try to be as inconspicuous as possible when in an unfamiliar place. Blend in! You’re less likely to be targeted by pickpockets and potentially dangerous predators. Which leads me to my next point…
Don’t let people distract you
Pickpocketing is a thing; it really happens, especially in tourist hotspots. The innocent-looking woman or child shoving a sign or paper in your face is often an attempt to catch you off guard and grab your wallet. Don’t be vulnerable – if anyone suddenly approaches you, be mindful that it may be a ploy to quickly divert your attention. Keep valuables secure on your body at all times!
If you happen to get a few bug bites or a scratch while traveling – especially internationally – make sure to clean and treat them carefully and quickly! Neglect to care for even the most minimal of flesh wounds could lead to serious discomfort and health issues. Keep in mind that most travel and health insurers do not cover medical fees internationally; although your insurance may reimburse you in the future, be prepared to front the cost of any potential hospital bills.
Know your country’s embassy information
Your country’s embassy or consulate in foreign countries can be helpful in so many unexpected situations. Know their contact information and location! Or better yet, if you live in the U.S. you can sign up for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program – a free service provided by the government that keeps you updated on safety and security information, and can help you stay in contact with your family in case of emergency.