When traveling you don’t want to be focused all the time on issues of security: where would the enjoyment be in that? However, what is clear is that safety, both of you and your family personally, and then the security of your possessions and digital data, is always a priority. But with the right preparation, it need not be your sole concern.
Staying vigilant is always recommended, but by following these ten safety tips, you will be free to enjoy the sights and wonders of your visit, wherever it may be.
Research before you go
This is a mistake that you cannot afford to make. Before you travel anywhere, make sure you read up on the local security situation, including making yourself aware of any scams and typical dangers that you may face while there. Don’t walk into the unknown.
Learn local phrases
If another language is spoken, do your best to learn a little of the lingo before you go, just so you have a few stock phrases to rely upon should the need arise. Don’t rely on people speaking English. A translation app on your mobile device is recommended.
Share your itinerary
Before setting off on your travels, make sure that you share your itinerary with friends and family so they know your whereabouts on any given day. Locally, if you are setting off on an excursion, or going for a hill walk, for example, make sure you share with your accommodation your plans and your expected return time. If something happens, you want to be missed so emergency services can be contacted.
Have all emergency contact information close to hand
This is just smart. When traveling abroad, make sure you have the numbers and email addresses of all the relevant authorities, including embassies.
Register with your embassy
It is possible to register with your local embassy in the country you are traveling to, so your presence in the region is known. That is an added layer of security should anything go wrong, as it will certainly help with response times.
Have travel insurance
When it comes to being protected against injury or theft, travel insurance is a must. It may seem like an unnecessary expense before you set off, but having it is a comfort blanket that you might just need to avail of at some stage. Shop around before you buy, of course, but getting it is always recommended.
Lock up valuables
Take as few valuables as you can when traveling, but there will always be things on your person that need looking after, such as your passport, for example, or camera equipment. Avail of security deposit boxes and safes in hotels, and as for your own bags, you can buy slash-proof backpacks that are more secure. Don’t flaunt valuables at any stage, and secure then to your person with cable ties when sleeping on public transport, for example, just to maintain that level of security at all times.
More bad things are likely to happen in the middle of the night than in the middle of the day, for example. And if you are venturing into a known danger spot, think twice about your motivations, and take a local guide with you if at all possible.
Don’t make yourself a target by dressing inappropriately, meaning you respect local conventions and safeguard against the weather. Keep belongings hidden away at all times, and wear practical clothes where you are able to move freely.
Clean devices before you travel
Before you head away, take off all sensitive files and data from your laptop and all mobile devices. Some countries still suffer reports of digital theft and/or digital snooping, so the best way to protect yourself is by entering with very little, if any data at all, that you don’t mind being seen in a worst-case scenario.
Guard against using public Wi-Fi
Generally speaking, public Wi-Fi services are a security threat. Although you may want to log on to innocently surf the net, never send sensitive data via these means, and please note that once connected, you are in a vulnerable position in any case. Avoid using these services where possible.
Of course, this rules out options such as hotel Wi-Fi, so people may legitimately ask what the alternative is when they want to check online bank transactions, for example. A good alternative is to set up a portable router using a sim card that you can buy locally. In this way, you are setting up your own private Wi-Fi hotspot, and are safe to check those sensitive details.