International Travel Safety Tips for Beginner World Travelers

Estimated reading time 11 min

Traveling is a lifelong dream for most people. Some of you have a bucket list a mile long with a dozen destinations included. Others simply want to explore and possibly retire to a particular country or continent. Whatever your travel dream, it is entirely possible to make it a reality with professional travel booking services by go-today. One concern that travelers may have, in this day and age, is travel safety. After all, you want to be able to arrive at your destination and enjoy it thoroughly. As you fulfill your dreams of world travel, take these international travel safety tips along with you.

Preparing for a Safe Journey from Home

Preparing for travel safety from home

Your safe travels begin before you even leave home. If you are well prepared for your trip, you will have a far better chance of having a safe adventure. Check out these travel safety tips that you can cover before you even pack your bags.

  • Do your research regarding where you are traveling to. Learn about the history, geography, culture, language, money, cuisine and government. Having a base understanding of the country will help you tremendously when trying to navigate the streets, restaurants, shopping centers and cultural sites. It will also help you to avoid faux pas that can lead to you getting into trouble with the local law enforcement. For example, did you know that in Singapore, chewing gum is punishable by death?   
  • If the people where you are traveling to speak a language other than English, learn basic phrases and words to help you get by. Purchase or make index cards with the phrases or words, along with English translations, to use in situations where you can’t speak the language.
  • Read or view the latest news reports from that city, country or region. You want to learn as much as you can about the current state of events.
  • Sign up for STEP, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program via the US Embassy. This free program connects US citizens who are traveling abroad with the US Embassy in case of an emergency either at home or abroad.
  • Check on the status of your destination at the US Department of State to see if there are any travel warnings or alerts. Alerts are updated daily so check this regularly prior to your journey, and follow the precautions provided.
  • Get traveler’s insurance within 48 hours of your first or full payment for the trip. Travel insurance can help protect you from things such as illness, cancellations, etc. Be sure to read the fine print before buying.
  • Research transportation prior to your trip. Book transportation to and from the airport where you will be landing to your hotel. In addition to being convenient, this is typically more cost effective than paying for a taxi at the airport.
  • Protect your home by pausing your mail while you are away. By doing this, you won’t come home to a completely full mailbox and your neighbors won’t notice you aren’t home.
  • Check out your phone plan to verify whether or not you have international service. You may find out that you will not have access to data or phone service while overseas, because the data charges are massive.

Your goal is to make your travels as seamless as possible. A bit of peace of mind through pre-planning using these international travel safety tips is a great place to begin.

How to Pack with Safety in Mind

Packing for you next vacation

Now that you have secured your home and are familiar with the place you are traveling to, it’s time to take a look at what’s in your suitcase. Travel safety tips include packing items that will protect you and help in case of an emergency.

 

  • Pack a money belt for storing your money underneath your clothing. Choose a money belt large enough to hold your credit cards, ID, and important phone numbers.
  • Pack only enough US currency to help you get to your destination, and consider exchanging some cash before leaving. While traveling, use an ATM to withdraw money at ATMs inside local banks for the safest and most affordable way to exchange money. Only exchange enough money for you to spend within a day or two. Avoid withdrawing all of your money at once, in case you are robbed after leaving the ATM.
  • Store large bills in your local currency, in case of an emergency, in various places throughout your belongings. For example, place a $100 bill in your money clip, another in a pair of tennis shoes, and another in a compartment in your suitcase. Never put all of your money in a single place.
  • Make paper copies of your travel itinerary, including the addresses and phone numbers of your lodging, back at home with someone you trust. Also make copies of your passport and ID to carry in your suitcase with you. This way, if they are lost or stolen, you have someone back home with access to this information.
  • Purchase a padlock to lock up the zippers on your suitcase, backpack and/or purse. Choose a TSA-approved lock if going through airport security or checking a bag at the airport.
  • Avoid packing expensive items, such as jewelry or designer purses, to avoid standing out as a target to thieves.
  • Pack all of your belongings in a single carry-on backpack or rolling suitcase. By streamlining your clothes, shoes and accessories you have less to keep up with and haul around.
  • As for clothing, you don’t want to stand out as a tourist. Do your research regarding what locals wear and follow suit. For example, in many churches in Europe you are not allowed to show your shoulders or wear shorts. Make sure you know what is appropriate before packing your outfits. Then, pack items and colors that are commonly worn by the locals.
  • Wear sensible shoes. High heels and construction boots aren’t suited for traveling. You want shoes that you can walk in. Otherwise you can find yourself injured or unable to enter a building due to inappropriate footwear.

Handling Airport Security Issues

Waiting in airport

Your bags are packed and it’s time to catch your plane. There are still plenty of international travel safety tips to keep in mind. Take these tips with you as you navigate the TSA and the airports.

 

  • The TSA (Transportation Security Administration) has ongoing rules regarding what you can carry on an airplane and through airport security. These rules can change at any time, so right before you leave for the airport do a final check over the latest updates. Do not pack anything that is on the prohibited list, and double-check your luggage to make sure things like firearms or knives aren’t accidentally left in.
  • Use the 3-1-1 rule when packing your liquids and gels in your carry-on. Note that this does not apply if you are checking your luggage; simply place your liquids in the checked bag.
  • If you are currently taking prescription medications, take a copy of your prescription. This can help get you through security without issues. Plus, you can use the prescription to replace your medications in case you lose your meds when traveling. After all, the last thing you want is to be without vital medication when traveling internationally.
  • Wear comfortable clothing without metal. These are going to cause the security alarms to sound when trying to pass through security. Yoga pants, cotton tees and slip-on shoes are perfect for traveling on an airplane. Just make sure to pack a pair of socks in your carry-on, in case your feet get cold on the plane. Plus, you’ll feel comfortable during your long, international flight.
  • If you are checking your luggage, carry your essentials in a carry-on. These should include a toothbrush and small tube of toothpaste, a change of clothing that is suitable for your destination. After all, you don’t want to walk through the city streets in your pajamas. This is particularly important if you are wearing comfy clothes on the plane. Additionally, by changing clothes after a long flight you’ll feel refreshed and renewed, and ready to face the world when you arrive for your vacation.
  • Traveling with a tablet or laptop is common these days. When you go through security, be prepared to remove these items from your luggage, by keeping it in an easily removable spot. Also, you may be asked to turn your device on, so make sure the device is charged and ready to be turned on.
  • Keep your bags with you at all times when in the airport. You’ll hear the announcements frequently about this when sitting in the airport. However, you don’t want to get unwarranted attention by the TSA because you didn’t follow the rules.
  • When at the airport do not ever make jokes about having a bomb or some kind of terrorist-related item or agenda. This will send you straight to the TSA jail at the airport. Be smart!

 

A final note on airport safety is to be respectful of the airport security guards, flight attendants and personnel working at the ticket counters. A little respect will go a long way for ensuring your safety and wellbeing.

Staying Safe While on Vacation

Safety while on vacation

The time has finally arrived. You are on your dream vacation and ready to experience the time of your life. However, it’s not the time to stop being alert for travel safety. Take these tips along with you no matter where your destination may be. They will help your peace of mind so that you can indulge and enjoy your vacation to the fullest!

 

  • Blend in. This might be difficult in some countries depending on your body type and hair color. Chances are you are going to stand out as a tourist. However, by not broadcasting that you are an American, it’ll help immensely.
  • Stay alert. Crime is something that happens in every city no matter where or how big. Use common sense, and when you see something happening that’s not good, such as a bar fight, head for the exit. Avoid getting caught up in such matters.
  • Don’t drink too much. Imbibing in alcohol is a frequent occurrence in most countries and for travelers on vacation. However, you don’t want to get so drunk you can’t take care of yourself. Avoid drinking too much especially if you are traveling alone or away from your hotel.
  • Keep your money safe and secret. Don’t flash big bills, and avoid counting your money when in public. If you are using a money belt or some other form of concealing your money, wait until you are out of sight, such as in a restroom, to put your money away.
  • Keep only a small amount of money in your front pockets to use when going out to eat or for shopping at markets.
  • Don’t use a wallet at all, and only use a pocketbook that is a cross body style. This will help you hold onto your money in case you are involved in a snatch-and-grab situation.
  • Avoid carrying your backpack or luggage around with you. Deposit these at your hotel, hostel or bed-and-breakfast as soon as you arrive. After all, nothing screams “Tourist!” more than a person carrying a suitcase.
  • If you have a fancy camera to capture your travel memories, that’s fine. Just remember to keep a hold of it at all times. Don’t sit down to eat and put it behind you or leave it laying on the table, but keep it in your lap instead. Consider the use of a camera bag that looks like a cross body purse or satchel.
  • If you are using a smartphone for travel guidebooks, maps or to make phone calls, keep it concealed when you aren’t using it. In some developing countries high-priced, American-made phones are highly desirable. Be smart and use it sparingly.
  • Maintain copies of all of your travel documents within your luggage back at your hotel, in case your passport, money belt or debit cards are lost or stolen. Don’t walk around with your passport. Keep it locked in your suitcase while you are exploring the city, use your passport copy instead.
  • Watch the news or read the local papers of your destination when you are traveling. This will help you stay alert to any pending dangers, such as hurricanes on the horizon or terrorist threats.

 

By following these international travel safety tips, you can prepare for the unexpected. While the majority of travelers never experience a safety-related issue, it will provide you with a safe mindset to be prepared for anything.

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