Travel safety tips
Big 1) You need to get packed right
This includes the right equipment, right stuff and locating them right for your travel safety! This will allow you to act quickly and feel better when all procedures pass by flawlessly.
Your luggage is your home to your journey!
Big 2) Organize Travel documents
A) Official Ones
- Check visa procedure
- Check vaccination regulations, especially for Africa and Europe. Some countries may ask for your vaccination card if you have recently visited a disease threatened country
- Keep custom declaration and entry forms in a safe place
- For some destinations all travelers should fill in a customs declaration form during the flight (e.g. USA) In some countries, you will fill in an entry form at the passport gate and have it back stamped from the officer who will surely recheck on the way back out of the country. It is vital that you keep it safe.
- Always keep photocopies of your documents in another bag other than the travel wallet you keep your originals. If you forget to take photocopies do not worry, proceed with taking photos of them to store on your camera/phone
B) Other documents
- Where are your flight/ticket details? Forget mobile boarding passes and QR codes. Frequent overseas travelers know that anything can happen including your battery shutting off, or even your mobile being stolen etc.
- You should take a printed copy of your hotel voucher/confirmation with you, even in Brussels I could not check into the hotel that I had paid for weeks before because I did not print the voucher
- Pre-downloaded city location map – I prefer to print my own on A3 paper. One side should be in detail and smaller in diameter close to your hotel, and the other side should be about the city in which you are visiting showing transportation options
- Do you have a priority card? Don’t forget to take it with you since you may need extra luggage as well as lounge usage in case you need to wait long hours due to delays and security issues
Big 3) Travel safety tips
*Some of the tips below are for extreme situations. Never consider that our planet is fully unsafe!
- Note the address and the phone number of the embassy/consulate of your country in the visited destination. Check all travel warnings about your destination and consult bloggers in the region
- Learn the emergency numbers equivalent to your emergency services (911) to include police, ambulance etc
- Having good relationships with locals is safe but does not give you 100% guaranteed security. You need to choose the right person to share your details with. If they are asking you too many personal questions about where your next stop is, your income or other questions that they shouldn’t be, stay vigilant and be careful
- If you feel stuck and surrounded by unfriendly people during your travel in an insecure region, make sure they know that “your local friend” will arrive soon
- Keep an eye on the official buildings or an organization that has security forces, they could become of use should you need to take refuge. Banks, post offices, and government buildings are perfect locations if you can not find the police
- Divide your money into three pieces and never carry it all on your person. Take a small amount of money and one credit card in your travel wallet and the rest of your money and credit cards in your backpack and duffel bag. You can hide your valuable items and money in your underwear and socks located in the lower compartments of your bags, thieves will rarely dig that deep
- You should always choose the right transfer options for your trip, choose either public transport that local families use or private transfer services such as official taxis. Never choose something in between, especially a car with two people already seated trying to “do you a favor”
- Insecure people can become a target, don’t make it obvious that you are alone, weak and novice. Walking faster than regular looks as if you know the destination well enough and people will be less likely to bother you.
- If you feel unsafe, act as if you are talking with a local on the phone, starting with a “Hi” to a well known local male name will help you more. When you find your target person or address, if you still don’t feel safe proceed to your next destination for your travel safety
- Beware of the local culture, religion and respect others by reading about them before you travel to your destination. While touching the head of a Thai child would be a rude action there, this would show your friendship in a Middle Eastern country. Women should not enter a mosque without covering their hair with a scarf and males should not stay in a room with a local woman alone in the same region. These are just a few of many local rules that you may come across
- Always inform your family members about your location when you proceed to the next stop and tell them when you will leave for the next stop
- Never argue with local people for your travel safety, especially with officials. Police or other officers will always keep their right to obey the laws and local procedures, I have been treated quite friendly and experienced that some officials ruled out the existing procedures just to make it easier for me.