Staying safe while traveling can be a big concern – especially for solo female travelers, although frankly all of us can benefit from the travel safety tips provided in this article.
For example, I recall one trip (a vacation) to Israel and Jordan. For almost all of the trip we felt incredibly safe from any dangers, but on stop, we came out of an tourist exhibit in what I would describe as a bad neighborhood. No different than a bad part of Detroit or other big city, we instantly didn’t feel safe. We didn’t stay their long, but it was a good reminder why it’s important to have a plan to stay safe while traveling.
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Nowadays, most of the traveling I do is for business. My business travel takes me all over the United States. In big cities, small cities and everywhere in between. And while I am a guy (and a Marine), there have a been a few instances where my spider senses were aroused and I knew I needed to pay closer attention to my surroundings.
No matter what kind of travel you do – be it business, pleasure or bleisure (mixing business travel with some vaca time), or whether you male, female, or in between, it’s a good idea to have a plan to be safe.
Here are 9 Travel Safety Tips designed to help you stay safe on your next trip.
Travel Safety Tips – 9 Ways to Stay Safe While Traveling
Here’s a summary of the 9 Travel Safety Tips before digging in and looking at them a bit deeper.
- Research the area before you get there?
- Let someone know where you are going
- Travel in groups
- Have a plan
- Keep your head on a swivel
- Consider getting a safety app for your phone
- Keyring / pocket can of mace (buy local…can’t travel w/ it, unless you check a bag)
- Be careful with free or public wi-fi
- Protect valuables in your hotel room
Ok, let’s get to the meat.
Travel Safety Tips #1: Research the area before you get there
Whenever possible, research your destination ahead of time. Is your hotel in a crummy neighborhood? Check the reviews on hotel. Look at the area on Google Maps (satellite view!) and see what’s around it.
If your hotel is across the street from a strip club, gun shop and liquor store you might want to think twice about staying there (or maybe not…).
For international travel destinations do your homework on current safety concerns. The US State Department publishes travel advisories on their website which can be helpful in increasing your awareness.
Travel Safety Tips #2: Let someone know where you are going
It’s always smart to let someone else know where you going. Especially if you know are heading into a potentially dangerous area. Post something on social media or drop a loved on a text message.
Check in from time to time to so folks know your safe – especially if you or they might be concerned about the area you are visiting (you know, like Detroit…haha).
Travel Safety Tips #3: Travel in groups
Whenever possible, travel in a group. This is more important at night and if you are staying in areas that you are especially unfamiliar with and that might be a little dangerous.
If you do travel solo – be smart about it, and employ some of the other tips noted in this article.
Travel Safety Tips #4: Have a plan
This is probably the most important travel safety tip. A large part of staying safe while you travel is simply being prepared. Have a plan.
What happens if you X? Or if A happens? For example, if your rental car breaks down on the lonely road you chose…will the rental car company come get you? Or if you get mugged…do you know krav maga?
You get the idea. Have a plan for different unsafe situations. Where necessary get training (e.g. a martial art).
Travel Safety Tips #5: Keep your head on a swivel
Maybe it’s because I am a Marine, but my spidey senses usually start tingling when I find myself in a potentially unsafe situation. It’s these sense that usually alert me to the fact the situation is now unsafe.
Really what I am doing is simply paying attention. Keep your head on a swivel. Be aware of your surroundings (e.g. the cute guy who is going to spike your drink at the hotel bar or the fact that this gas station you are filling your rental car up at has no lighting and is across the street from a flop house).
By simply staying alert and aware you can actually avoid many unsafe situations which is always better than trying to deal with them once you are IN an unsafe situation.
Travel Safety Tips #6: Consider getting a safety app for your phone
There are several great travel safety apps designed to help travelers stay a little safer during their travels. They often include travel safety tips as well as mechanism to contact local law enforcement regardless of your locale and methods to keep loved ones apprised of your travel status. Some of the apps even include a panic button feature.
- Smart Traveler – US State Department
- Travel Safe Pro – a traveler safety app [Deleted]
For a full list of travel safety apps check out this article from GigSky.
Travel Safety Tips #7: Keyring / pocket can of mace (buy local…can’t travel w/ it, unless you check a bag)
A TSA approved size can of travel mace/pepper spray might be a good addition to your travel safety kit. Keep in mind you can’t carry it on the plane so you have to put it in a checked bag or buy it locally.
Alternatively, a SABRE Personal Self-Defense Safety Alarm for your key ring might be a good option to use in situations where danger is imminent.
Travel Safety Tips #8: Be careful with free or public wi-fi
Wi-fi is fairly abundant these days – even in many smaller or less robust countries. However, always be very careful with free wif-fi. Keep your computer’s (or phone) firewall enabled and your antivirus up to date.
Never give personal information out when registering to use free wi-fi (like your address or social security number). And if it feels shady…it probably is.
You might be interested in my article Don’t get hacked on your business trip: 7 Cyber Security Travel Tips for the Business Traveler to Stay Secure.
Travel Safety Tips #9: Protect valuables in your hotel room
Nothing more frustrating than having your bag rifled through or something valuable like an iPod or some headphones stolen. Avoid leaving pricey items in your hotel room and if you do make an effort to hide them.
For example, there are times when carrying my laptop with me doesn’t make sense and I have to leave it in the hotel room (like going to dinner). I always stuff it into my suitcase, throw some underwear over it and zip the bag shut).
A TSA approved lock might also be a good option to add to your luggage when not in your room.
I also put the do not disturb sign on the hotel room door and turn the TV on giving the illusion that someone is in the room. Most nefarious minded staff or people will move on.
You might be interested in 9 Hotel Safety Tips – You Need to Know which offers a deeper dive on keeping you and your belongings save in your hotel.
Final Thoughts on Traveling Safe
I hope you enjoyed this article on safe travel. If you liked it share it on social media, or pin it! Let us know what your favorite travel safety tips are. Did we miss any?
By the way, if you are interested in more travel tips and travel advice, you might be like these great articles:
- 147 Business Travel Tips – the ultimate list of road warrior tips & tricks
- 31 Amazing Hotel Hacks Travel Pros Use all the Time
- 53 Amazing Gifts for Business Travelers in the 2019 Gift Guide for Travelers
- 9 Healthy Travel Snacks – eat smarter on the road
- How to get over jet lag while you travel – 11 Jet Lag Tips for every traveler
- Ultimate Bitcoin Travel Directory: How and where to use crypto for travel
- 11 Best Hotel Beds – Where to Buy that Hotel Mattress You Loved!
- 101 Travel Hacks for the Business Traveler – the Best Business Travel Hacks
- How to get over jet lag while you travel – 11 Tips every traveler needs to know
- The 7 Habits of the Healthy Business Traveler: How to Stay Healthy While Traveling for Business