It is always important to be cautious when travelling and do your research before travelling somewhere. Travelling is a great adventure and generally the world is safe and friendly for travellers; but we still need to be careful.
1. Keep Your Money Safe
It is important to keep your money close to you, this is the number one travel safety tip. To protect yourself from pickpocketing is to wear a fanny pack for example, but if you are wearing a backpack then wear it on your chest especially if you are in a crowded area, it might look silly but it is better to be safe that sorry as it might be hard to feel someone going through your bag in a bus or the metro or any busy area.
Another important tip is to never carry too much money, most places accepts cards or Apple Pay or Google Pay; so you don't have to carry a lot of cash with you, but of course this depends on where you are traveling. It is also important to keep cash in other places such as your pockets or have a second wallet just in case your wallet gets stolen. You can also find anti-theft bags that can be helpful when traveling.
If it happens and your wallet or phone gets stolen; then make sure to contact your bank or your phone provider right away!
2. Spend Money to Travel Safe
Even if your are traveling on a budget; you need to make sure that you are safe. If you are arriving at your destination at night; then spend money on a taxi or stay in an airport hotel, this is important especially if you are traveling to a country that is known for being a little unsafe. It is also a great idea to join a travel group as they will have everything planned for you and it is safer that way, and also all the guided tours have valuable inside knowledge.
3. Watch What You Eat
Depending on where you are; most countries have untreated water and the sanitation is not that great, so it possible to get sick from food or water. The worst thing to happen is get sick when you are traveling and trying to enjoy your trip, and that way you will miss out on a lot of things you planned. You need to try local cuisine of course; but choose the place wisely. There are a few ways to avoid getting sick, firstly look at the reviews of the place so you know the quality of the food and what people think about it and also if someone got food poisoning. Secondly; go to popular places, if there is a line or it is busy then it is very likely that the food is good. Avoid ice as it might be made with tap water; and avoid salads from most places as it is washed with tap water especially if the country's tap water is not good, you can also eat peel-able fruits.
4. Dress Appropriately
Tourists are sometimes easy to spot; someone who is looking at a map or their phone and looks out of place, you don't want to draw more attention to your self by dressing inappropriately for the country you are in. You need to do your research before traveling and check what should you wear, for example in some countries it is important to dress modestly especially for females, and also by dressing appropriately you are not offending the country and are respecting the culture.
Another thing is to walk with confidence and try not to look out of place or lost as you might attract scammers or thieves that way, and that way you look like a local or at least familiar with the area. Don't wear jewellery; especially expensive ones, consider leaving all expensive items at home.
5. Buy Travel Insurance
This is important to be able to travel safely, this is to protect yourself from any unforeseen events such as a hospital or a doctor visit, missed flights, and stolen belongings. Even though it is very unlikely that you will use it but just in case you need to buy it. Also, if you have travel insurance; then you are able to go to international hospitals instead of the local or public ones.
6. Know Which Areas to Avoid
I keep mentioning research in this blog post; but that is what keeps you safe when traveling. When doing your research; it is likely to find areas to be avoided in each country, so make sure to know which areas are these and avoid them. Check you governmental travel advice and they will explain what to look out for, things such as malaria and natural disasters. Don't let anything scare you as you will have a great trip; but these advice are just there for the worst case scenario.
Also, check with your embassy before traveling, this way they will keep you up to date with any warnings, or if a pandemic happen or a natural disaster; then they can bring you back home.
7. Research Local Scams
It is sad but every place has its own scam, so when doing your research before traveling, make sure to look up scams. This can be taxi drivers overcharging you, it can even be someone asking for money when giving you directions. Whatever it is; make sure to do your research beforehand. Another great way to know about local scams, ask the staff when you reach your accommodation whether it is a hotel or a hostel, or if it's an Airbnb as your hosts. You can trust people but be cautious at the same time.
8. Online Travel Safety Tips
You can easily find free travel safety tips online, you can browse Facebook pages and groups, forums, or read articles and blog posts from other travellers. Additionally you can ask the staff at your accommodation, or you hosts.
9. Avoid Danger
Traveling and going on an adventure can sometimes lead to unnecessary danger. For example, you can be walking and exploring and then you leave your path because you found a secret spot, or it can be as simple as riding a motorbike without a helmet. So you need to always be careful and don't do anything sketchy.
10. Never Leave Your Items Unattended
Keep your valuables close to you at all times, and as mentioned before; you can have a fanny pack or wear your backpack on your chest as mentioned before. The most important thing is to never leave your things unattended, so don't ask other people to look out for your bags while you do something else, even if it's just for a minute because you never know they might end up stealing from you. Padlocking your bags is great as well and I do that all the time, but this can be done if your bags can't be easily ripped, padlocks can also be used for the lockers in your accommodation.
11. Be Careful Around ATMs
ATMs are the number one target for thieves, so always try to examine the ATM first before using it, and also make sure that no one is watching you. Also, try not to take out a large amount of cash at once and take small amounts when needed.
12. Know the Country's Emergency Numbers and Informations
You never know but an emergency can happen at any time, so you need to makes sure that you know the numbers and the information in the country you are visiting. You can always write down your insurance details and the emergency numbers, make sure to write them on both a piece a paper and on your phone, just in case you lose your phone you still have access to these information. Also make sure to have copies of all your documents, I always have scanned copies on my phone as well as physical copies.
13. Don't go Offline
It is important to keep your friends and family updated with your route, this is important if you are going somewhere where you will not have your phone or have signal. I always keep my mum updated on where I am and what I do, also if I have signal, she can track me on the "Find My" app, this is way she can find me when I'm online or find my phone if it is stolen.
14. Don't Trust People
Okay so you can trust people but you should be cautious, so don't tell people where you are staying. When traveling especially solo; you will meet new people which is fun and great, but don't just tell them where you are staying because you still can't trust them even if they are nice and friendly, you just never know. This is important for taxis; a taxi comes to your accommodation and picks you up and then comes back afterwards to steal your belongings. If I get a taxi; I tell them to pick me up from a busy street or area near where I am so that they don't know exactly where I am staying. Also, if you have pre-booked a taxi, ask them to clarify your name to know that they are not a scam, but if you use apps such as Uber, then they can be a little bit trustworthy.
15. Save Yourself and Other
It is important to save yourself but save others well, take a first-aid class before traveling, and also try to learn a few words and sentences before traveling to be able to ask for help. This is just as a precaution but hopefully you will not need to use what you learned.