Staying safe while traveling means thinking of every possible danger and being prepared for it. From taking care of cyber security while traveling to writing down local emergency numbers – it’s important to take preventative precautions. Discussed below are the top 4 ways to stay safe while traveling.
Traveling abroad can feel like a big adventure, but like with any adventure, it may contain dangers and trials. An unprepared traveler is much more likely to become a victim. It’s important to enjoy the experience, of course, and danger isn’t always around the corner. But it’s better to be prepared as if it is.
1. Research Equals Safety
Researching travel warnings will give a pretty good indication of what to expect in any country. There are plenty of blogs and websites dedicated to informing people about almost any travel destination. Travel writers are constantly updating their blogs with new information that can save a tourist from falling into traps while abroad.
Every country and city has its own dangers, so it’s a good idea to find information for each specific place. Reading up on a region before visiting is one of the most surefire ways to be prepared.
2. Avoid Being Targeted
There are so many ways of getting scammed that it’s easier to swim the Atlantic than list them all here. That said, scams often involve people approaching tourists and offering them advice or taking their photo. Whether they’re trying to be helpful, selling something, or seemingly giving something away for free, it’s best to avoid them. People are often fooled because they think locals know better, so they take anything they say for granted. But scammers are smart, and their agenda isn’t always obvious.
Some examples include locals trying to divert tourists to a different place by saying a popular spot is closed. This is somewhat obvious, but it’s easier to fall for a scam in an unknown place. The golden rule is to simply avoid anyone who’s trying to grab your attention. Rather seek out advice or help from locals who are minding their own business. They’re usually friendly and won’t mind helping a tourist.
3. Don’t Get Fooled into Giving Away Private Data
A newly popular tourist scam involves fake WiFi hotspots. Traveling anywhere often means connecting to public WiFi, especially in hotels or coffee shops. Public WiFi spots are available in abundance these days and it’s mightily convenient. Nothing wrong with that, but the problem is, hackers are very aware of this, too.
They often create fake WiFi hotspots in touristy areas or busy public spaces to snare people in unawares. The WiFi connection might seem entirely legitimate, but they’re actually busy stealing people’s data in the background. Passwords, accounts, and personal identities are all up for grabs.
This has become a huge issue, especially for people traveling for work. Even connecting to the hotel’s real WiFi can be dangerous as public WiFi is notoriously unsecure. The best way to combat this is with a virtual private network. There are plenty of VPN services to choose from, and it’s a good idea to find the best type of VPN for traveling.
Make sure to do some research beforehand and find the right VPN for the region you’re visiting. Not every VPN service works equally well in every country and some countries, like China, block popular VPN IPs.
4. Don’t Become an Easy Victim
It’s no secret that tourists are easy prey. They usually stand out due to their clothing and actions, but body language plays a significant role as well. The obvious rules like following dress codes that fit in with the locals, like in Muslim countries, apply here of course. But the biggest deterrent to a would-be thief is situational awareness.
Make it as hard as possible for a thief to get away with taking advantage of the situation. That means staying alert and keeping valuables within sight at all times. It would be even better to have them stored away in a safe while traveling, but that’s not always possible.
Just generally stay aware of what’s going on in the area and make a note of everyone present. That may be harder to do in a busy street, but thieves like to target tourists who look lost or scared. Exude confidence and walk with a purpose, even if it’s false.
There is no way to stay completely safe. Traveling involves risk regardless of the destination. Even so, being prepared can be the difference in staying safe and ending up sorry. Make sure to always keep these four top tips in mind when exploring abroad.