You have planned your itinerary, brought sunscreen, have extra cash, have your passport, and of course your camera. You are ready to go on a trip. Or are you? Of course planning that excursion is important, and spa time is so necessary (can you feel the sarcasm). One of the best ways to have a good trip is to have a safe trip!! The goal is to travel safely. Any getaway would absolutely suck if all your money was stolen, or you were the victim of some kind of attack. These are the top 11 ways Naturalistas prepare to have a SAFE and fun trip:
- Research: We cannot stress the important of knowing information about the areas you are about to visit. Rather it is knowing the rainy season in Costa Rica, or political unrest in North Africa. It is important to plan according, and know when are the best times to visit, and where are the best places to visit. It is always helpful to check with the Embassy to get travel warnings.
- Cultural sensitivity and laws: We see it on the news everyday some unsuspecting tourist unaware of laws in a different country faces some excessive sentencing that would not have happened in the United States. Taking the time to get to know the cultural you are visiting is important to your safety, and not offending anyone. For example while in the United States tipping is expected, in some European Countries it can be a sign of disrespect.
- Register with STEP: Whenever we travel anywhere internationally we register with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) through the U.S. Department of State. This programs keeps you abreast on any travel alerts and registers you with the U.S. Embassy in case of an emergency. The goal is to travel safely.
- Emergency Contact: Ok, we are all grown, but there is nothing like getting in some trouble and having no one know where you are!! Let someone trusted know where you are going, and the name of the hotel, and dates you are traveling.
- Pick a good place to stay. Ok, Frugal Felicia, we all want to save a dollar. All jokes aside, you have to be mindful of where you stay, sometimes it’s worth it to pay that extra money for your safety.
- Take only what you need: We all know you’re a baller, but flaunting all that hard earn money only places you at risk for pickpockets. So be smart, and take only what you need.
- Be Aware of PickPockets and Scammers: You are a tourist, and I know it may be hard to believe but there are people whose full-time job is ripping you off. Be mindful of belongings, especially in large crowds. Avoid placing valuables in pockets, and having all valuable out in the open on display. Being aware of your surroundings will help you travel safely.
- Lock up valuables: Most hotel rooms come with a safe where you can store valuables. Take precautions and lock up your items. Again, take only what you need!!
- Make copies: Carrying your passport around is not safe, and puts you at greater risk for travel delays. Make a color copy of your passport page with your picture and information in case you lose the information, or you items are stolen.
- Notify credit card companies: There is nothing like being in another country, and short on cash, with a credit card that is locked because you forgot to contact your company to tell them you were traveling. Plus, this adds to fraud protect on your accounts.
- Blend in: Yes, this is your first time outside of the country, no you do not have to take a picture with every person you see, and every art piece you find!!! Blending is the best way to cut down on pickpockets and scammers. But don’t get too carried away, you are not a local and be mindful there can be other dangers which may arise, the goal is to travel safely.
Now, this post was not intended to deter you from traveling, rather, to enlighten you so your trips can be more meaningful, and enjoyable. Know any additional travel safety tips? Naturalistas would love to know!!!