It’s a beautiful, sunny day with clear blue skies and a gentle, warm breeze. The sand is soft between your toes, and rippling turquoise waters stretch out endlessly toward the horizon. For the first time in who-knows-how-long, your thoughts are free of the mental load they ordinarily bear, and just for this moment, you are centered in the here and now.
Until you go to take a picture, and realize that your camera is missing.
Theft is just one of the most common threats faced while traveling, and the consequences can range from a minor inconvenience to something severe. Any number of things could go wrong during your travels, but if you take the appropriate cautionary steps, you can minimize the impact of these risks.
So, whether you are planning a peaceful island vacation, venturing to a far corner of the world, or traveling for work, be sure to review the following travel safety tips:
Before you leave…
Research your destination accordingly
In between planning hotel stays and tourist stops, take some time to look up safety information for your destination. The U.S. Department of State website provides specific information for every country in the world, where it informs the public of any conditions that might impact their safety abroad. The risks are calculated on the travel advisory scale below.
Familiarize yourself with transportation options in your destination, and research hotels thoroughly. Look up the best hospital in the area. Basically, you want to address these points preemptively, so that you don’t have to flounder for information in the moment if things start to take a turn for the worse.
Secure your valuables
Before departing on your trip, make sure that you leave any non-essential valuables at home and contact your local post office to put a hold on mail delivery. Make copies of your travel documents (front and back) in the event that they are lost or stolen while you’re abroad. If you save these copies in secure cloud storage, it can assist you in recovery.
Plan for your health
Take the time to research the health and hygiene conditions of the region you plan to visit. Is the water potable? Do you need any vaccinations or prescriptions?
When you arrive…
Don’t use public WiFi
While it may be tempting to connect to public WiFi, it’s something that should be avoided, especially if you are traveling for work. Open networks lack security, and as a result they open a simple path for malicious entities to gain access to a device. Sometimes, even, hackers will set up unsecured wifi hotspots to tempt people into connecting to them, giving the thief access to the information on your phone or computer.
You can address this by using password-protected wifi networks or connecting to a personal hotspot via Bluetooth. Additionally, you can use a VPN to provide another layer of protection.
Learn common travel scams
Often, tourists are singled out for theft or scams because of their vulnerability and potential for affluence. Wherever you travel, you will always find people who devise creative ways to trick you out of your cash, and often these vary country by country. You can find an infographic of some common scams here.
Keep a low profile
The more that you stand out in any place, the more you brand yourself as someone who is unfamiliar with the location, and thus vulnerable. Whether it is through your clothes or manner, try to keep a low-profile to avoid any unwanted attention.
You don’t have to catastrophize every possible disaster, but it is important to at least practice basic safety. In that, you can mitigate the impact of these threats, and be on your way to enjoying your travels abroad.
This article was written by Kristina Weber of Centry Ltd. For any questions or comments, feel free to contact us on any of our social media platforms.