Wednesday, 12 September 2018

20 Ways to Stay Safe Whilst On Vacation

We go on vacation for various reasons, - to experience a new place, a new country, a new culture, to unwind, to relax, to learn something new and so much more. However, safety is not always high on our priority list when we travel, so keen we are to get out and explore. 



We may be conscious of our safety in our familiar hometown but when we are in unfamiliar situations we often let our guard down and this means we can put ourselves at risk. So this is my 20 ways to stay safe when on vacation. 


1. Always tell people where you are going and when you are coming back. A simple safety tip that is often overlooked. If anything happens, God forbid, they can alert the authorities. 

2. Be alert to your environment, especially in busy areas, tourist hotspots and areas of high crime. Major tourist attractions are often populated with pickpockets. I was almost scammed in front of the Louvre art gallery in Paris by a couple who said I had dropped a gold ring. Be careful!

3. Ensure you have the address of the accommodation you are staying at written down, in English and the native language. This is especially useful where you are staying in areas where English isn't the first language, so you can show people when asking for directions or taxi drivers.

4. Don't take expensive jewellery, and be wary of wearing expensive branded clothing, as this can make obvious your wealth. You don't want to be an easy target for robbers.

5. Be wary of posting publically on social media when you are away, especially if there is no one in your home. You can always post when you come back if you want to share your photos.




6. Only use a secure internet connection and if you have to use a public computer, never use it for Internet banking. Try not to log into accounts but if you have to always log out after. You don't want scammers or opportunists accessing your email account! If you have to buy tours or theatre tickets, for example, ensure the site has HTTPS at the beginning, not HTTP as this shows it is secure. 

7. Don't carry too much cash around, and if you have a handbag wear it across your body to keep it close to you and help avoid your bag being snatched.  Consider a money belt in areas of high crime, and if you have your purse or wallet in your pocket, put it in your front jeans pocket that is tight, or an internal zipped compartment. 

8. Your guard is often let down when you drink so be extremly cautious if someone you don't know tries to buy you a drink, watch your drink to ensure it is not spiked and never leave your drink unattended. If you are drinking from a bottle, put your thumb over the top and place your hand over your glass of wine or cocktail. 

9. Look up the area you are going before you get there. I always plan the route of Google maps but also check you are not travelling through a no-go area by asking at your hotel or checking on the Internet. Using an old-fashioned map or guidebook when out and about can alert people that you are a tourist, so be careful if doing this, especially in shady areas.

10. If you are not sure if the water is safe then drink bottled water and avoid foods washed in the local water like salads. Avoid buffets where food has been sitting around and possibly contaminated by others and always eat where food is freshly cooked and establishments that pay attention to food hygiene.




11. Having sunburn and sunstroke is not fun! Take sun precautions like wearing a hat, wearing sunglasses and covering up at the hottest part of the day, usually between 11am and 2pm.  Apply sun cream on a regular basis and always reapply after swimming even if it says its waterproof as towel drying will remove the protection.  Make sure you drink plenty especially in the heat.

12. Vaccinations are vitally important to keep you safe when visiting certain areas of the world, so check out the NHS website for vaccination requirements or your local health provider. Some vaccinations you may get free whilst others you may have to pay for but are considered essential in certain areas. If you are going to areas of risk you can order anti-malarial tablets online from a company such as Click Pharmacy if you can't get to your local pharmacy too, so don't forget that.

13. Put together a comprehensive first aid kit for travelling abroad, and tailor it to each trip. It should include items like painkillers, antiseptic, plasters, antihistamines, insect repellant, anti-diarrheal medication and more. Check out this article by the NHS on what you should pack in a travel first aid kit

14. Be careful when using taxis, and never get into unmarked cars. If using Uber or Lyft ensure you double check the description of the car and the name of the driver. You could always ask your hotel to call a taxi for you, or if you can't hail a cab go to a nearby hotel so they can do it for you. 

15. Ensure you buy travel insurance and get the best you can afford. Travel insurance is so essential and doesn't have to be costly. If you travel a lot, an annual insurance will be worth the cost. Check out this article by Money Saving Expert on how to by travel insurance.

16. Dress appropriately for the environment and culture. If you are a woman, unfortunately how you dress can make you a target for unwanted attention, so it makes sense to dress conservatively. 




17. Consider carrying a rape alarm, which is especially important if you are a solo traveller and walk with confidence, which can help you be less of a target. If you look like you can handle yourself, you will be less likely to be picked on. If you are walking alone, follow a couple if possible. If you think you are being followed go to a hotel or busy area and seek help. 

18. Take photos of all your documents including your passport and driving licence and put them in a secure place such as an encrypted Dropbox environment you can access online. 

19. Always lock your windows and doors, buy a TSA approved lock for your case and buy a lock for your backpack. If your hotel has a safe use that and hide items away when you leave the room.

20. Lastly, if something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't, so get out of there, fast.

At the end of the day, millions of us travel every year without any incident, so keep your wits about you and I hope you have a safe trip!

Tell me, do you use any of these tips? Do you have any ways you stay safe whilst on vacation? 

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25 comments

  1. Great tips here for anyone travelling soon, even if you are a seasoned traveller it is always helpful to have a little refresher every now and then x

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  2. I think it's so important to have spare money in a separate location to your purse/ wallet just incase you lose it or it's stolen, but some great tips here x

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    1. That's a great tip. We always spread our money out and never carry it altogether.

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  3. This is really important and something I always think about and research before going somewhere new. I always buy travel insurance as that is very important just in case.

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    1. Travel insurance is so important, especially if you get ill in a foreign country.

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  4. This is such a great post as there are lots of things we take for granted as travelers especially if you are a woman or travelling alone in a foreign country

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  5. Great tips here. I often travel by myself so always making sure I look after myself

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    Replies
    1. Being aware of your surroundings is incredibly important.

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  6. Such great tips here. I am travelling for the first time solo to Germany and I will be following ALL of these!!!

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  7. I use most of these tips as I am a solo traveler, it is very important for me to always be safe. Just bought my TSA approved locks for my trips next week

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    1. I have TSA approved locks on my suitcase.

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    2. They are so handy aint they, my new ones i don't have to worry about keys that i seem to lose often.

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  8. These are some fantastic tips - it is so important to stay safe whilst on holiday!

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  9. I never drink more than on glass of alcohol when I am on holiday and I always trust my instinct. If I feel something is wrong, I will just walk away from the situation. You have some very good tips here.

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    Replies
    1. It's so important to trust your instinct isn't it?

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  10. Such important reminder this list is - we tend to forget about some of these.

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  11. I'm going on holiday in December and it's my first solo travelling adventure, this is a really great post and it's so important to stay safe on holiday but we don't always think of every aspect

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  12. I am always careful of saying where I am on social media as you never know!

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    1. Indeed. As a travel blogger it's hard to do this but my son is at home now when we travel.

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  13. These are all such great tips and really practical as well! I think it's really important to be aware and like you said tell people where your going, do your research and don't carry anything of too much value.

    Laura x

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  14. Being alert of your environment is big Melissa. Excellent tips here.

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