8 Ways to Stay Safe and Have Peace of Mind While Traveling Abroad
3 out of 4 travelers say they worry about their safety and security when they travel, so I wanted to write a post to help you guys feel better about some of the scarier parts of traveling abroad – and help you prepare for the worst, so that you can have the peace of mind you need to have the BEST trip.
While traveling internationally is becoming more and more popular every year, it is also becoming more dangerous. In this age of wanderlust, we are constantly pushing the limits of climbing higher mountains, diving deeper reefs, and exploring every inch of this world – no matter how dangerous it may be. But what happens when something goes wrong? What happens if there’s a terrorist attack in the city you’re traveling in? What happens if you get pick-pocketed or lose your passport? What happens if you get injured and sick and are sent to a foreign hospital? Anything can happen when you travel, but there are some key ways you can prevent dangerous situations and key tips to stay safe abroad and make sure nothing bad happens on your trip. I’m a firm believer that by preparing for the worst, we allow the BEST to take its place. Making wise choices and planning ahead will help you to travel the world safely, and alleviate all your stresses, so you can focus on the awesome vacation you’re about to have.
1. Only take what you need out and leave the rest locked up in your hotel’s safe
That way, if anything happens, and you get pickpocketed, you at least won’t lose your passport or all of your money. There’s no need to go out for a walk in the city with all of your credit cards, your passport, and $500 in cash. Take what you need for the day.
2. Stay alert at all times and watch out for thieves
Always beware of pickpockets – especially in big cities. In Rome, I’ve had gypsies distract me with babies in their arms while they shove themselves on a crowded train, bumping into me and pickpocketing me as they do, before stealthly leaving the train before you can do anything about it. In Barcelona, a common thief move is a woman offering you flowers. Many of these women will demand payment if you accept the “gift”, and many are expert pickpockets. If you need to withdraw money in a foreign country, always use an ATM machine inside a bank and not one on a busy sidewalk to prevent thieves from rushing to you in a group and grabbing the money as it comes out of the machine. Always trust your intuition – if something seems off, it probably is.
3. Keep your valuables hidden
Some of the biggest tourist areas will have the most pickpockets and thieves, and they will target those with expensive cameras or iPhones. Only take your gadgets out when you are using them, and make sure you know where they are when you’re not.
With iPhones, you can never be too careful. Even in the big cities in the US or major European cities like Barcelona and London, I’ve had way too many girlfriends lose their phone when we’re out late at night. In a dark, crowded bar or dance club, make sure you know where your phone is at all times, and use a purse that has multiple zipper pockets – please!!! If you’re looking for the best bags for travel and keeping your valuables safe – my go-to travel purse is this one, this one (less than $15!) or this one! And if you have a DSLR camera, there’s no better camera bag than this one.
4. Keep the address to your accommodation handy
Make sure you have your hotel’s address written in both English and the native language in your phone’s notes (or snap a photo) and in a little actual note somewhere in your purse (phone batteries die!!). Everyone in your group should do this as reality is, you might lose your friends, and you don’t want to be lost somewhere foreign late at night with no way to get home.
5. Keep Emergency Numbers in Your Phone
I personally always travel with an international phone plan or a pay-as-you-go SIM card with a cheap unlocked phone. I don’t want to risk not being able to make important emergency calls when I need to, or overly relying on WiFi. Make sure you save the local emergency number in your phone, so that if you do need the police or an ambulance, you can call them quickly for help.
6. Research your destination extensively ahead of time!
What am I saying – you all are already PROS at this! That’s why you read Jetset 🙂 I think it’s really important to feel comfortable wherever you’re traveling to, and that starts long before your trip! Research any areas that are known as being dangerous or that you shouldn’t go, and definitely avoid dark or non-touristy areas at night in foreign places. If you ever suddenly feel uncomfortable, walk into a very busy area like a restaurant.
7. Don’t leave your drink unattended.
8. Always disinfect your hotel room
Traveling safely means not getting sick on your vacation! When I check into a hotel, here are the steps I take to sanitize the hotel room.
9. Get travel insurance and/or sign up for Medjet
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For peace of mind while traveling, I highly recommend signing up for Medjet – a traveler protection program specializing in air medical transport and travel security memberships. They have a great reputation in the travel community, providing crisis response and medical evacuation coverage so that if you end up in a hospital on your trip, you are able to be evacuated immediately to your home country, and get to your home hospital. A lot of people think their travel insurance does that…it doesn’t. It gets you to the “nearest acceptable facility”, and that’s where you get stuck. Medjet offers annual memberships, and short-term memberships ideal for individuals and families planning a cruise, holiday or family vacation. Short-Term Memberships start at just $99 and members enjoy all the same MedjetAssist benefits as Annual Members, with travel protection provided 24 hours a day during the selected travel period. They also offer study abroad options for collegiates looking to stay safe while they’re abroad, and expat options as well. I know my mom would have loved to have had this for me when I was traveling abroad on Semester at Sea in college for peace of mind! Accidents, illness and safety concerns can happen anywhere. Medjet can get you home.
And, if you want your protection to go even further, MedjetHorizon members have all of those benefits and more – with access to Travel Security Services – a 24/7 travel network for in-country response to things like terrorism, kidnapping, political threat, hijacking and natural disasters. They also provide crisis response like emergency translation, cash advance, evacuation, and rescue. And unlike other global transport and travel security membership programs, Medjet does not depend on government-issued evacuation mandates, to act on behalf of members. It’s the most comprehensive travel protection membership for travelers, so you can have peace of mind on your vacation.