No one wants to think that their vacation might begin or end with an emergency, but it’s always better to be prepared than struggle to find information when you most need it. When traveling to a new destination, it’s always best to do some research beforehand. Read travel reviews, check the State Department website for country updates, and enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) for updates and gather information on emergency numbers (police, fire/ambulance, embassy, or consulate).
Keep Extra Copies of Important Documents
You never know when you might need a copy of your passport, driver’s license, or additional identification. Scan these documents to save online or print several hard copies and keep them secure. This way you won’t have to scramble if you need to.
Be Alert and Mindful
The best advice to keeping safe on vacation is to be mindful of where you are and who you are with. Keep your friends and family updated on where you are going, who you are going with, and what you will be doing. Check-in regularly with your contacts be careful when approaching strangers. Be aware of your surroundings, it’s easy to get distracted with new exciting adventures and forget that you are in a new environment. Keep an eye on your personal belongings and use good judgment at all times.
Lock Up Your Valuables
Traveling with anything super valuable is usually a bad idea, but if you absolutely have to you need to minimize the easy opportunities for theft. Firstly, travel backpacks are not very secure. Try using a slash-proof backpack or hardcase that would minimize slashing through the material. Calling ahead to your accommodations to ask about secure storage options is your best bet to secure your items.
Learn Common Travel Scams
Everyone thinks they’re too smart to be scammed – but it can happen to anyone. Wherever your travel destination is you’ll always find scammers waiting to trick you out of your cash or valuables. As the saying goes, “Forewarned is forearmed.” Research tactics that will keep you from being tricked out of hundreds or thousands of dollars.
Get Travel Insurance
People always think they will never need travel insurance until you do. The truth is everyone should carry some kind of health and property insurance when traveling. Why? Because stuff happens. You can’t prepare for everything and travel insurance is your safety net for when those unexpected and completely stressful occurrences happen.
Notify Your Bank/Credit Card of Upcoming Travel
So you’ve planned a wonderful vacation and everything is going great, you’re shopping and eating out, and then…your bank locks down your cards. If this happens, you’ll be lucky if all you have to do is answer security questions to determine your identity. As you may (or may not) know, going through customer service on a bank or credit card can be time-consuming and stressful, especially if your card was hit with a fraud alert. Avoiding this hassle is the best solution. Notify your bank or credit card of your upcoming travels to avoid getting locked out.
Be Wary of Public Wi-Fi
In the age of social media, it’s easy to want to connect to the strongest wi-fi source. Especially if it’s free. However, this convenience comes with a caveat. Hackers looking to steal valuable information can access your data (including credit card or SSN numbers stored on devices) when using a free system.
Carry Emergency Cash
It’s a smart practice to plan ahead when it comes to funds. If the worst happens and you lose your bank or credit card, emergency cash will come in handy.
Pack a First Aid Kit
Injuries can happen when you travel and it is a best practice to always carry a first aid kit just in case. Basic supplies, such as Sunscreen, anti-histamine tablets, band-aids, and pain medication, can keep you from having to run out to the store to purchase at the last minute.