Traveling is an excellent way to broaden your mind, deepen your understanding of yourself and the world, and give yourself a break from your usual routine. To get the most out of your experiences while traveling, however, and prevent your dream getaway from turning sour, take some time to prepare.
These top tips and tricks will ensure that your stories are full of adventure and wonder rather than tales of lost time and wallets.
Having all your creature comforts gets uncomfortable when you have to carry them. Hauling heavy luggage onto buses, trains, planes, and taxis is not much fun.
A useful trick is to pack your bag(s) a week or two in advance. Remove one object per day. Your arms, back, and fellow travelers will thank you
Wear Comfortable Clothing
Nothing ruins a walking holiday like not being able to walk. Investing in a new pair of shoes can seem like a good idea before traveling, but it can take a while for feet to get accustomed to new footwear.
You don’t want this uncomfortable blistery stage to occur while you are on vacation. Wear comfortable shoes, but avoid new shoes out of the box, if possible.
In general, prioritize clothing that you’ve tried and tested so that you are physically comfortable while you are away and can focus on your surroundings and not your coverings.
Tell Someone Where You are
Making sure that a reliable friend or family member knows your itinerary is excellent travel safety advice. If something goes wrong, your chosen person or people will know.
They will be able to alert authorities in an emergency (or send you money for fresh underwear – what constitutes an emergency depends on you).
But Don’t Tell Everyone
Do tell someone where you are staying on vacation and when you are traveling, but be very wary of oversharing via social media.
Putting your travel and vacation information online is oversharing. It’s a gift for professional burglars and opportunists alike.
Even if your social media profile is restricted to friends, you can’t be sure that your friends haven’t been victims of hacks and cyber attacks that have made their accounts vulnerable.
When you have a vulnerable account, you don’t necessarily know it, which means that cybercriminals can access those accounts and observe you.
Save posting vacation details for when you get back from your trip.
Arrive During Daylight
Getting out of a taxi or off of a plane, train, or boat in daylight has several advantages to your safety:
- You will be more able to find your next connection or destination.
- Pickpockets, scammers, and other criminals like to work under the cover of darkness.
- If you need support — such as from a hospital, embassy, tourist information booth, or grocery store — you’re more likely to find things open during office hours.
Know Your Environment
It’s an excellent idea to know a few key locations in your destination town, city, or village. Wherever you go, research the local store, police station, hospital, pharmacy, transport options, and your embassy.
These locations can give you your bearings. If you need one of them, knowing which direction to go in can save you time, money, and heartache.
Check out Your Hosts
Get the lowdown on anyone you plan to meet or stay with long before you arrive at their place.
Sites like Couchsurfing and AirBnB are excellent at connecting people to potential roommates and hosts, but the anonymity of the internet means that you need to be especially vigilant and prioritize your safety over potentially offending someone.
Investigate online reviews and contact reviewers. Check out people’s social media pages for any red flags, such as offensive content.
Be proactive. Use your instincts. And use Nuwber. This people search website will help you verify if people are really who they say they are, which is an essential part of staying safe.
Research Transport Options
In many transport hubs, scammers pose as taxi drivers to make a quick buck. They might use confusion tactics, the gift of the gab, or an attractive sign to make you think they are the real deal.
You can separate the wheat from the scams, however, by researching local transport options before you arrive. If you have the name of local taxi services, you’ll be able to use a professional business that you’ve verified.
Limit Your Cash
Many travel sites recommend that people carry $50-$100 each day. It’s typically enough to buy food, drinks, supplies, and perhaps tickets.
And it’s not so much that if you lose it or it is stolen, it signals the end of your adventure.
And Hide it
Keep your money out of sight. You can invest in a money belt, which makes it easy to hide notes. Or you might use a body pocket that straps to you under your clothing.
Alternatively, you can keep some cash in your shoe or internal pockets that are harder for pickpockets to access.
Keep your day’s cash in several locations on your person. That way, if someone bumps into you and you find that you’ve been the victim of pickpocketing, you are unlikely to have lost the entire amount you were carrying.
Don’t Carry Anything Across a Border for Anyone Else
The penalties for attempting to smuggle drugs across borders are immense.
If you meet someone super-nice (or creepy), and they ask you to carry something across the border with you — say a bag or a gift item that could fit in your luggage — don’t do it.
If you feel awkward to say no, you can tell them that you have a policy of not carrying items for others or that it’s a family rule following an incident.
Whatever you say or do, don’t let them coerce you into carrying their items.
Drink Bottled Water
Traveling to a new location can be full of surprises. One of the less pleasant surprises occurs when tourists drink local water.
Depending on your location, consider bottled water to keep your body hydrated and healthy so that you can enjoy your time away and get the most out of your trip (and not have your trip get the most out of you).
These 12 tips should help you have a great time whenever you travel. Not only will they help keep you on the “straight and narrow,” but they might also give you the confidence to explore a little and get off the beaten path.
As long as you’ve prepared and taken some precautions, you can vastly increase your comfort and safety, destress, and take your travel experiences to the next level.