25 Essential Travel Safety Tips


When it comes to travel, we hate alarmism because we know that traveling the world doesn’t have to be dangerous with a little common sense. Sharing our travel safety tips with you will go a long way in ensuring you enjoy your next trip.

Typically, those places deemed “dangerous” are likely to be the safest for travelers. Sometimes, in more touristy areas, you really need to master travel safety tips to avoid petty criminals or worse.

Our safety tips, gleaned from years of experience, will help you hit the road with more peace of mind. Our tips can be as simple as storing your valuables in a hotel safe or keeping up with political events in a country.

Make sure you have adequate insurance, check government warnings, but always remember to keep an open mind and don’t let fear stop you from taking risks!

1. Keep abreast of local news

You never know what to expect when you are abroad, and in today’s ever-changing and fast-paced world, anything can happen quickly, whether you are in Paris or deep in the deserts of Central Asia.

It’s good practice to stay informed while traveling, and one of our top travel safety tips is to keep up to date with local news.

Maybe reconsider visiting if it looks like there might be protests in the next city, or maybe stay away for now if there’s an unusually high number of incidents involving tourists.

We have made it a habit to read the news of the destinations we visit a few days before departure, and then read the news every morning at breakfast at the destination.

We also keep up to date with the latest news from our home country to ensure there are no major events that could affect our travels.

This is best done by downloading the app to your phone or tablet for easy access.

2. Watch the weather

In addition to keeping up with local news, one of our best travel tips is to stay informed about the weather.

This is more important in some countries than others, and if the Philippines is in typhoon season, you may want to consider visiting at a different time of year.

But bad weather can affect your travel plans anywhere, with floods potentially disrupting traffic in England, or a spring avalanche in the Pyrenees potentially dangerous.

If it’s especially hot, you’ll want to stay hydrated, and if it’s cold, you’ll want to make sure you have enough cold-weather gear with you.

Regarding the weather, it is absolutely necessary to research the best time to visit the places you want to visit.

This will give you valuable insight into what to expect and how to prepare for the time period you plan to be there.

3. Check government websites

Another great safety tip for our travels is to check government websites before traveling.

Many governments and embassies maintain up-to-date profiles of countries around the world and provide detailed summaries of useful information, such as entry requirements, and the political climate.

Websites such as the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office also break down which parts of a country are safe to travel to. While Istanbul may be perfectly safe, traveling to the border between Turkey and Syria is not so advisable.

Of course, keep in mind that these government websites always go further than they really are, and in some cases, government travel advisories may be politically motivated rather than warning of any possible physical danger.

They’re a great place to start when you’re planning a trip, and you’re looking for more detailed travel safety tips.

I can’t stress enough just use it as some sort of reminder of your travels. We’ve been to many places on the warning list and had a great time. The key is to be informed, not paranoid or afraid.

4. Purchase travel insurance

One of the best travel tips we can give is to purchase adequate travel insuranceIt’s an unnecessary expense often overlooked by budget travelers, but when it comes to staying safe on the road, there’s nothing like a good insurance policy.

If you get injured or injured, with a good insurance company behind you, you’ll be able to get immediate access to the best medical care in the country. You can also make a quick departure if the political situation at your destination turns sour.

There are many reasons to buy a solid insurance policy, but be sure to read the small print and double-check what you’re actually covered for.

Certain physical activities may not be covered by the basic policy, such as scuba diving to certain depths or hiking at high altitudes, so always make sure you buy a policy that covers everything you might need.

5. Leave a copy of your travel plans with your family

We literally never leave home without emailing a copy of our flight, hotel and travel plans to several of our family members. At the very least, your emergency contacts should have a copy of this information before you leave your home.

In the rare event that something does happen to you, it would be a big help for someone to have a full history of your travels. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Create a spreadsheet in Google Docs and send a link.

Be sure to include flight information for all domestic and international flights, including flight date, time and number, all hotels, and any travel you have booked.

6. Regularly check in at home

Now, you don’t have to be paranoid about this, but once you get there, keep in touch with your family.

Let others know how things are going and if your plans are going as planned. Also, please notify them if there are any changes.

This not only reassures your family but also provides necessary information in rare cases.

7. Email copies of important documents to yourself

We all have a folder labeled “Travel Documents” in our email inbox. This is where we keep digital PDF copies of our important documents for travel.

This includes our passports, driver’s licenses, medical records, vaccination records, TSA pre-clearance letters, Global Entry cards, birth certificates, marriage certificates, travel insurance policies, and any other documents we may need to access while traveling.

If you lose your passport, find yourself in the middle of a political situation, get arrested, or have any other problem, you must quickly access this information while overseas.

8. Be medically prepared

Depending on where you’re traveling, you’ll also want to check in advance which vaccines you need and what potential diseases you may have.

Take precautions if you are in a malaria area, and in some countries you may need specific vaccinations, such as the yellow fever vaccine, to enter.

Do not take vaccinations or preventive measures lightly. We strongly recommend that you book an appointment at an international travel clinic near you at least 6 months before your trip to discuss with your doctor which vaccinations you may need.

9. Bring a first-aid kit

One of our favorite safety tips is to always have a first aid kit with you on the road. It doesn’t have to be large or extravagant, but it should provide you with the basic items you need to deal with minor injuries.

Take Tylenol or ibuprofen for headaches and pains, and antiseptics for cuts and scrapes. Small wounds can easily become infected very quickly in tropical climates, so make sure you have the means to clean them quickly.

Make sure you also have a rehydration pack, as dehydration is very common and often overlooked when traveling. We also never leave the house without Neosporin and hydrocortisone cream.

10. Use hotel safes or hotel lockers

Returning to your room to find your valuables missing is a traveler’s worst nightmare.

Unfortunately, this can happen anywhere, whether it’s a high-end hotel or a hostel, and if you’re carrying electronics or spare cash, you need to lock it up when you’re out and about.

If you’re staying in a hostel, make sure there are lockers in the dorms, and check if you need to provide your own padlock as well. In hotels, learn how to properly use a safe and lock valuables inside.

Likewise, you might consider zipping your bag up while traveling, or if you want to take things to the extreme, you could even invest in a personal travel safe!

Our favorite travel locks are:  TSA Approved Luggage Travel Lock with  7Penn Cable Lock with 4-Position Tumbler Combo 3-Foot Cord

11. Consider using a money belt

Another great travel tip when it comes to keeping your valuables safe is utilizing a money belt or similar accessory to keep things hidden.

These aren’t always foolproof, as the bravest criminals may always find a way to separate your money from you, but hiding your spare cash and passport can at least deter opportunistic criminals from lightening your load.

We also see people using neck pockets that can be hidden under clothing . Some claim these are more comfortable and easier to access when needed.

12. Don’t flash valuables

Sunny beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Also, another common-sense security tip for traveling is not to flash valuables.

Don’t advertise your expensive electronics, in some places you don’t even want to take out your phone to use as a map while walking around.

The Indonesian island of Bali is notorious for drive-by robberies, and many moped-riding tourists have breathed a sigh of relief as they rode in command.

When you travel by train or bus, always keep your valuables with you, no matter where you are.

I think it’s also a bit self-evident, but don’t leave your electronics unattended. Whether it’s on the charger, in bed or on the table. This only brings opportunity.

13. Leave the diamonds at home

If you’re considering wearing diamonds or fancy jewelry while traveling abroad, there are a few things you should consider before making your decision.

  • Loss: How would you feel if your ring was lost or stolen? Is it worth the risk?
  • Unwanted Attention: Are you willing to draw attention to yourself? Ornate jewelry will command attention in the quietest of places. Remember that people in some countries make a year’s worth of what you wear on your finger or around your neck.
  • Safety: When you don’t want to wear your diamond, there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to find a safe and secure place to store your diamond. Not all hotel safes are safe.
  • Inconvenient: Are you on an adventure or spending a lot of time at the beach or in the water? You don’t want to miss something because you don’t have a safe place to put your diamonds or jewelry.
  • Safety: Wearing fine jewelry makes you an easy target for robberies and crime – even in the best cities. The richer you look, the more accident-prone you are.

our suggestion? Leave the diamonds at home! The photo above shows my wedding ring and the ring I wear while traveling.

I wasn’t willing to risk those diamonds, let alone old depression-era stones, so I picked out a solid tungsten band for the trip.

14. Beware of pickpockets

When you’re traveling in a crowded city, public transport can be a haven for pickpockets, whether it’s the London Underground or the Barcelona Metro.

Keep valuables nearby and be aware of your surroundings. If it’s rush hour, you might also want to avoid crowded public transport and walk instead.

If you’re hanging out on a popular tourist beach then take extra care of your belongings, just take a look and you can rest easy. On night buses and trains, be careful with your bag as you can easily wake up and find it is gone.

Never put your wallet, cash or passport in your back pocket.

15. Put your backpack/camera/purse in front in crowded places

If you like to carry your purse or day pack with you when you’re out exploring, know that that doesn’t mean your items are safe inside.

If you happen to be in a crowded place, on a crowded bus or train, we recommend that you immediately put your bag in front of you and put it there.

This will limit access to your luggage without your knowledge. If you have a backpack, just turn it around and wear it on your chest. For the wallet, we strongly recommend that you wear the shoulder strap as a sling and slide it over the front of your body.

If you like to take your camera with you when you travel, this is the part where I recommend buying a sling. Or at least a watch strap long enough to wear as a sling when needed.

If you’re physically more secure, it’s less likely someone will try to use your camera.

Knowing where your bag/camera is and who is near it will go a long way toward protecting your stuff from opportunistic theft.

16. Know the scam

Scams designed to separate you from your money or belongings are common all over the world. The people who run them do it for a living and are pretty good at tricking even the most conscious traveler, so don’t think it won’t happen to you.

Doing some research ahead of time and knowing the common scams in the places you plan to visit will go a long way. This will help you spot these situations from a mile away.

These are some of the most common scams you’ll come across while traveling:

  • Damaged taximeter: This can often double or more the cost of your trip.
  • Hotel staff: When you meet a local on the street who claims to work at your hotel. A technique used to get you to spend money in their store.
  • When Taxi Drivers Say “This Hotel/Hostel Doesn’t Exist Anymore”: Lies to Get You to Book a Room at Their Hotel
  • Flattery: If you are suddenly approached and flattered, move your wallet in front of you and walk away.
  • Motorbike/Car Rentals Damaged When Returning: Always, always, take pictures of your car/bike when you pick it up and return it.
  • Actively taking pictures: Then immediately run away with your phone or camera
  • Show me the map on your phone: then grab the phone and run

17. Use a ride-sharing app

Another of our top travel safety tips is to use ride-sharing apps whenever possible. While that means owning WiFi or investing in a local SIM card, using an app like Grab in Southeast Asia or Bolt in Europe can provide a new level of accountability.

In addition to being easier to use, there is no need to negotiate and no chance of being ripped off if you don’t speak the local language.

You can also track your location, where you are going, and importantly, all drivers are verified and registered with their license plates.

The top carpooling apps in the world are:

  1. uber.
  2. Left.
  3. Zim Reid.
  4. car tree.
  5. Wentz.
  6. Juno.
  7. Gate.
  8. flywheel

Not all countries offer the same ride-sharing services, so be sure to do your research ahead of time so you can download the correct app when you arrive.

To be honest, we rarely use local taxi services anymore and have only relied on ride-share apps when traveling for almost 2 years.

18. Dress appropriately

This is one of the most important safety tips when traveling. Not all countries in the world will have the same dress code and behavior as you do in your home country.

Under no circumstances should you travel to one place and think it doesn’t matter.

Whether you agree with things about that country or not, you chose to travel there. If you want to be safe and respected by the locals, dress in a way that provides this. Be aware of cultural behaviors and abide by them as much as possible.

Going abroad and talking about things frustratingly because things aren’t done that way at home will get you nowhere. It also won’t buy you many followers. The key is to immerse yourself in the new environment and try to fit in as best you can.

19. Wear a helmet and buckle up

This is a simple question, but it always amazes me how few people actually do it. If you can afford to wear a seatbelt during transit, do it.

There are many countries in the world where it is illegal to not wear a seat belt. Not to mention you choose to disregard your own safety.

Car laws are very different in many countries, and because some cities are overcrowded with drivers, the risk of an accident increases when you travel.

The same goes for wearing a helmet. If you’re riding a motorcycle or horse, wear a helmet. There’s really no benefit to not doing this.

20. Food hygiene is important

Waffles in Brussels

There is nothing worse than getting sick on the road, and unfortunately, the vast majority of travelers – especially long-term travelers – will inevitably get sick eventually.

It may come down to unfamiliar foods and diets, but the most important thing is food hygiene. While you don’t want to skip eating local food, be careful.

Watch how it’s prepared, and if you’re going to a restaurant, check reviews online, and be wary of anything that might have been out in the sun for too long, or prepared in the morning but still on sale late at night.

We travel sick more than we care to admit, from minor stomach upsets to full-blown havoc.

All from poorly prepared food. Traveling is inevitable at this stage. So pay attention, but know it can happen.

Make sure to have these items in your first aid kit, just in case:

  • Nuun Sport: Electrolyte-Rich Sports Drink Tablets (Literally Shut Down Diarrhea)
  • Emergency C film

21. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it

This travel safety tip is simple. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. More often than not, if something seems sketchy, if a taxi seems too good to be true, or if the city looks dangerous after dark, follow your instincts.

This also applies to animal welfare. If you see something that doesn’t look right, please don’t support it.

You don’t want to feel uncomfortable, so make wise choices and reassess instead of regretting or putting yourself in danger later.

22. Minimize alcohol consumption

We know it can be exciting to finally go on vacation and explore a new place. While drinking alcohol while traveling is perfectly acceptable, it’s very important not to get thrown off.

Drinking too much alcohol, especially if you’re in an unfamiliar place, can lead to some dangerous situations. With couples at dinner or with new friends at the bar, we strongly recommend avoiding getting drunk.

We’ve seen some pretty horrific things on our travels, people getting dangerously drunk and being taken advantage of. Drinking irresponsibly is a great way to separate yourself from money, dignity and safety.

23. Be wary of strangers

It’s a double-edged sword, but in our experience, it’s absolutely critical when you’re traveling somewhere new.

During your travels, you are likely to meet many friendly people willing to accompany you or help you.

While it’s perfectly fine to chat and make friends with people, make sure you don’t give up too much trust too quickly. 90% of the people you meet on your travels are harmless and genuinely want to get to know you. The rest is up to you to worry about.

Consider a person’s motivations, ask questions, and protect your own interests if something doesn’t feel right. Don’t be afraid to say “no thanks” and walk away.

Of course, don’t divulge sensitive information to new people you meet. This includes where you stay.

24. Explore with a purpose

Here’s one of the best travel safety tips we can give you. When you’re on the street, move around with a sense of purpose.

Even if you are lost, you should still try to walk around as if you know where you are and where you are going. This makes you less of a target.

If you need to check a map or your phone, stop and look at something, or sit at a cafe and grab a coffee to regroup. It’s better than searching the sidewalk and letting passers-by get lost.

25. Stash cash

This is what we started doing when we started our long-term travel. To make sure we always had something, in case we got mugged, we started stashing money in random places in our luggage and belongings.

This ensures that we will have something to fall back on should our purse or handbag be stolen.

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