8 Safety and Security Travel Tips
Normally each Tuesday a community of travellers, who now feel more like family after 3+ years of chatting each week, come together on #TRLT Twitter chat and INSPIRE! We share the best of the best stories and photos and leave each other with ever-growing bucket lists and wild travel dreams getting even wilder. This week, we are taking a bit of a step back to discuss safety and security. Sometimes we forget the small things that are so vital to having a successful, safe and responsible journey. Here are a few of the safety and security tips I can share, in no particular order, that I have learned over the past 13 years of globetrotting.
1. PREVENT THEFT
One of the basic habits we adopted on our four-year family journey around the world, backpacking through 80 countries in Asia, Europe and Africa was always making sure our backpacks were tightly zipped, always worn with two straps (there are many stories of people’s bags getting ripped off them by motorists zipping by) and whenever you put your backpack down, make sure you wrap your backpack strap around your ankle. Also, for overnight buses or trains, using your daypack as a pillow, instead of putting it in the overhead storage or at your feet can really discourage thieves. Do not bring or wear expensive jewelry, or anything that is flashy, cheap or expensive, that could draw attention. Don’t flash your cash, credit cards, phone etc.
2. AIRPORT SECURITY CHECKS
To avoid additional hassle at airport security, wear comfy clothes you know won’t beep! This has been my easy peasy go-to when flying that makes everybody's day smoother.
3. DON’T ARRIVE AT NIGHT
This was one of our main rules while travelling the world as a family. It wasn’t always possible to avoid late night arrivals due to regular delays in local transit, but if you can, plan to arrive during daylight hours. Facing a new city at night, in the dark when shops are closed and the “bats” start to come out, only leaves you more vulnerable.
4. DON’T GO WILD
I know I’m not going to have many fans of this tip, but honestly, there is nothing that makes you more vulnerable, especially in a foreign country, than wild, late nights of drinking, drugs and partying. I personally have avoided this at all levels, and would never consider doing it alone. Also a great tip for saving money!
5. INFORM OTHERS
It is so incredibly important to inform others of your plans and whereabouts, especially when travelling solo. It’s so easy to meet people on the road, so use them to your safety advantage. Locals, fellow travellers and family you trust should know where you are, where you’re headed and absolutely let them know if you have been or are starting to feel ill. You don’t want to be one of those people who gets sick, dehydrated and dies in a hotel room and no one knows to look for you.
Is there anything more vital to your safety than your HEALTH?! Even at home so many of us underestimate the importance of hydration. On the road, especially in hot, humid climates, dehydration is the thing that could creep up and ruin everything. Be safe, drink water. A lot of it.
Be safe and be prepared. Know where you’re going and inform yourself on the local culture, cuisine (do you have allergies or special eating requests?), religion, and clothing style. It’s a terrible story but just a couple weeks before we travelled to Afghanistan back in 2006 a clearly uninformed Japanese couple were stoned to death by extremely offended locals for wearing inappropriate clothing. It doesn’t have to be THAT extreme, but please be respectful and aware before you land in a new destination. That way your journey will be the best and safest it can be.
And of course, don’t forget to get some travel insurance for the road! Although the unpredictability of travel and the surprises we meet around every corner is what we love most, the point is, you never know what could happen out there, so be prepared. It’s better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.
If you take these basic safety and security tips on your trip with you, I guarantee you’ll have a smoother, more relaxed, safer journey.
I know there are still so many more things to discuss on this topic, so please come join us this Tuesday (July 18th) and share your tips on safety and security with other travellers. Keeping us safe, also keeps you safe. We’re all in this together and more than ready to help each other out.
The chat is an hour long and starts every Tuesday at 1pmNYC/6pmUK. Search the hashtag #TRLT on Twitter to find us and don’t forget to include the hashtag #TRLT in your tweets to participate with fellow travellers! You can find me each and every week hosting with fellow founder Shane Dallas (public speaker, visited 100+ countries) and amazing travel hosts Jessica Lipowski (accomplished author and “foodie”) and Anton Magnin (specialist in family travel).
Safe Travels Everyone!