Travelling should be exciting and fun, but I know many people are anxious about safety when travelling abroad. While I have always managed to stay safe when travelling, I have definitely been scammed a few times and had a couple of things stolen, mostly due to my own negligence. I’m hoping these tips will help to keep you safe and at least get you thinking about the types of things to be on the look out for.
But I want to preface this article by saying that most places are incredibly safe to travel to and these points aren’t meant to instill fear. They are meant to help you avoid worst case scenarios. I’d love to hear any other advice you have, leave a comment below with your safety tips.
Research thoroughly before you go. I’ll admit, this isn’t something I’m always very good at! In fact I’m pretty useless, I’ve not got vaccines I probably should’ve, I’ve applied for visas at the airport, I’ve paid way too much for taxis, I’ve got off at the wrong train station, I’ve been way overcharged for tours… you get the idea. Do your research. Is the area recommended as safe to travel to by your government? Read up on the area you’re going to, are there areas that should be avoided at certain times?
Check for any healthcare requirements. Do you need vaccinations? Do you need malaria medication? What’s the public transport like? How will you get around? Where will you stay? Have you checked the reviews of your accommodation online? Is it in a safe area? Does it provide lockers to store your valuables? I also always ask at my accommodation which areas are safe as they’re likely to have the most up to date information and local knowledge.
Keep a copy of important documents online on a storage cloud such as Google drive. This should include your passport, drivers license, credit card details, insurance documents, travel itinerary, anything that might be useful to have a copy of if the original is lost! It’s a good idea to keep someone you trust in the know. For me those people are my parents and boyfriend. On a day to day basis, my boyfriend would notice if I didn’t come back from the shops that afternoon, and on a more long term basis, my parents would notice if I didn’t check in with them regularly and usually have a pretty good idea of where I am.
Equally, make sure people know if you’re going to be out of reach for a while so they don’t panic. It may be incredible to disappear of the grid for a bit, I know we all need it sometimes, but just let someone know first. I know my parents would freak out if I didn’t reply to them or post on Instagram for a week, in fact I’m sure a full on search party would be in operation!
If you’re going to particularly remote areas or areas with unstable conditions, it’s also worth looking into whether you can register your plans with a local organisation or government body. For example, in Iceland you can leave your information with safetravel.is so they’d know where to start looking should a search and rescue team be required.