The Ultimate Travel Safety List
Dangers of travel and how to avoid them – a Travel Crusader Special.
Take it as it comes, in the end, it’s your decision on what you do with your own personal travel safety and security. There is a lot of common sense when it comes to travel safety. But this list will help you with some really useful tips 🙂
1. Your travel safety, security and risk assessment is paramount when travelling.
Especially if you’re travelling to unfamiliar, dangerous or isolated countries. Be more vigilant if you’re travelling to these sorts of countries or locations.
2. Secure and protect your personal information and belongings.
They’re your personal belongings. Treat them well.
3. Carry your passport with the utmost security.
Your passport is one of the most valuable travel items when you’re travelling internationally. Put it in a safe place. Many travellers prefer to put it in a hotel safe when exploring during the day. That’s up to you.
4. Travel light.
Remember you might buy things on the way or have a long way to travel. Do you have extended travel?
|5. Never, ever carry illegal or illicit drugs. Many countries carry the death penalty if you’re caught with drugs, especially in South East Asia.|
|7. Always have some local currency when you arrive at your destination. You may need it for sundries, taxi fares or other incidentals.|
8. Taking a taxi anywhere?
If taking a taxi from the airport to your hotel, attempt (or try) to know the route you want to take and know it well. This is so you won’t be taken for a ‘ride’ and be overcharged. We recommend you pre-book your airport transfers. Much better.
9. Make copies of your travel documents (passport, credit cards, insurance etc), and keep them separate from other stuff.
Keep them with someone at home also.
10. Try to read maps discreetly, or read smaller maps.
It’s good to plot your route in the hotel room, so you’re better prepared and only need to refer to map briefly and with greater efficiency when you’re on the streets.
11. Always keep a ‘low profile’.
The lower the profile the better. In many cities, it’s not good to be loud and noticeable. There are many scam artists who target travellers all over the world.
|12. Whenever you’re out on the streets exploring, it is recommended that all you need is cash for the day and one credit card. Don’t carry loads of cash. You might want to consider just carrying this in your pocket, rather than in a wallet.|
13. You may want to get a cheap wallet and make it a ‘decoy wallet’.
Have a few dollars (make sure they are visible) in there with some cards that look like credit cards (i.e. fake credit cards). In the unlikely event that you may get robbed or mugged, you may be able to throw this decoy wallet on the ground and run. You would rather lose a few dollars than hundreds of dollars. You will find many experts in security will advise of this method.
14. Learn a bit of the Language. Even just a little.
Going to a foreign country that doesn’t speak your language? Try to learn some of the language that is spoken in the country you’re travelling to. You’ll be amazed at how more helpful and friendlier locals will be when you’ve made that extra effort!
|15. NEVER CARRY OR TRANSPORT SOMEONE ELSE’S LUGGAGE/BAGGAGE.|
|16. NEVER LET SOMEONE ELSE PACK YOUR BAG FOR YOU – BECAUSE ONLY YOU KNOW WHAT YOU HAVE EXACTLY PACKED!!|
17. Clearly label your luggage
So that when it’s time to collect your bags at the luggage carousel, yours is easily recognisable.
18. LOCK YOUR BAGS.
This sounds obvious. But many travellers still don’t lock their luggage. But a good lock.
19. Rail travel at night.
Try not to take rail travel at night. Many times, train theft can occur during this time, and whilst people are asleep. When booking train travel, try not to book overnight rail trips as more theft occurs at night on trains.
20. Telephone Usage
If you want to make telephone calls whilst travelling, check if your mobile phone will work. Try to limit the phone calls you make back home. Remember, you’re on holiday or for some other purpose. Consider buying a calling card. This is an inexpensive and much cheaper option than making phone calls in hotels. (although these are becoming less popular with the extreme convenience and popularity of mobile smartphones)
21. Packing sharp things?
Pack your knives, scissors, nail files or any sharp objects into your checked-in luggage and NOT in your carry-on baggage (cabin baggage) – you will only get it confiscated at the airport if you do.
|22. It is good to check local Customs Authorities in the country you’re travelling to.
Be aware of offensive behaviours and actions. Foreign affairs government websites can help you with this (go to Foreign Affairs in this Chapter for more information).
24. What’s your room number?
Be careful not to give your room number and hotel details to strangers nor give them your itinerary details.
25. Request a better room
Try to avoid ground floor rooms, rooms very close to an accessible street, or rooms with balconies as these can be easily robbed.
26. Hotel Emergency
In the event of an emergency, know the evacuation route in your hotel, which is usually always listed on the back of your door. It’s recommended to walk the path to make sure you know where you’re going. This should only take a few minutes.
27. Lids on aerosols
Always keep lids on aerosol cans (like deodorant, hairspray, hair mousse etc.) when travelling on planes and through airports. You’ll only get your aerosol can be taken from you if it does not have a lid, or if it is flammable. Many airlines and airports around the world will not accept flammable aerosols, even with lids on.
28. Wear darker coloured clothing.
Blend in with the environment.
29. Keep in regular contact with your family and friends back home.
Stay in touch with them constantly.
30. Read updates and information about countries.
Get updates from consulates, embassies, high commissions, foreign affairs and government advice websites.
Situations in countries change all the time. They can become volatile at any time, anywhere.
31. Don’t ever give your home contact details to strangers or suspicious people.
32. Always obey the law of the country.
Observe local customs. Remember, you are not in your home country. Abide by the laws of the destination. Every country differs! Government Foreign Affairs sites are a good start.
33. Never let your guard down.
34. Try to appear more local than a tourist in any destination.
Better to look local. Not touristy.
35. Be aware of pickpockets.
Pickpockets are everywhere and work in certain areas, from main shopping areas to underground trains and everywhere in between. They are known to loiter around ‘Beware pickpockets’ signs so that when the traveller sees this sign, they will touch the pocket where their wallet/money is located and the pickpocket will know exactly where to pounce.
36. Be aware of ATM’s (Automatic Teller Machines).
Don’t take money out of ATM’s that you think may be in an unsafe area or environment. Try to use less obvious or eye-catching ATM’s. Know your surroundings. Try to take out money during the day, and not at night.
37. Research that the country has ATM access before you leave.
If you want to be more thorough, check with your bank to see which banks overseas are compatible with your ATM access. Some banks may not work with your home bank.
|38. Try always using a 4 digit PIN number, as many ATM’s around the world only accept a 4 digit PIN and nothing higher. This is very important. What if you cannot access your money because you have a 7 or 8 digit PIN number!|
39. Remember, there are cash limit withdrawals.
Many ATM machines worldwide have a cash withdrawal limit, that you can access in one day at ATM’s. Check with your bank to see what your limits are and if you can increase them. (if you want)
40. An alternative exchange.
If you really want to be totally safe, you can exchange money at your hotel. Although only major chain hotels usually have this service. And charge a premium.
41. Be aware of dangerous cities that are notorious for car-jacking.
Wind up all windows and lock all doors.
42. If you are concerned about your safety in a particular country or location that is dangerous, maybe it is wise to purchase a personal panic alarm.
43. Do you stand out?
Try to wear darker clothing, not brightly coloured materials. It is the same with bags, try only carrying dark bags.
44. Use hotel safes where possible.
Make sure you take everything out when you leave.
|45. On aeroplanes, try not to put valuables in overhead compartments. Always keep them with you at all times. There are occasions where theft has occurred on aircraft! Imagine your passport being stolen on the flight!|
46. If you can, try to familiarise the city/place without a backpack or camera on your first day, so you can get a good feel for the place. (especially for longer stays)
47. Carry only one credit card with you if you can. Leave others at the hotel.
That way, if your card gets lost or stolen (or worse, you get robbed), you have others as a backup (if you have multiple credit cards, that is!)
48. ‘Blend in’ with the crowd.
|49. Make sure you inform your credit card provider that you’re travelling overseas. This is so they don’t suspect any suspicious transactions while you’re away. Without informing them, your credit card provider may cancel your credit card because they may believe it is fraud or an unwarranted transaction.|
50. For cash, try to carry small bills, instead of larger ones.
Smaller bills are better for use in small shops and markets. Or for tipping.
51. Anything Lost or Stolen?
If you have lost all your important documents when travelling– like passports, money, traveller’s cheques, cards – make sure you file a police report for your travel insurance purposes.
52. Multiple Cards – take 2
It may be wise to take 2 or more credit cards and debit cards. What if one doesn’t work, or gets stolen, or whatever? You never know what can happen.
|53. Try not to wear any of your country’s flags on your clothing. This can cause a lot of unnecessary attention and only guarantees to the locals that you are a foreigner. You know that you love your country. You don’t need to show everyone.|
54. Be cautious, but not paranoid in public.
55. Never look like a ‘tourist’.
Don’t look, or be like a typical tourist. BE A TRAVELLER.
56. Wear appropriate clothing.
Don’t wear massive, bulging bags or bulging bum bags. These say ‘tourist’ written all over them. Do not show any signs of wealth! You will only be a target.
57. Never count your money in crowded, open, public spaces.
58. Never leave expensive personal items like your money and jewellery in your motel, hotel or hostel room.
If you do not want to carry them, keep them in a safe. Most good standard hotels will have an in-room safe. Alternatively, if an in-room safe is not provided chances are there are safes behind reception at your disposal.
|59. Don’t wear expensive or excessive jewellery. You will only be a target. Or better still, just leave them at home.|
60. Try not to use a ‘shoulder ‘ bag. They can be an easy target for thieves.
61. Inform and discuss your travel plans with your immediate family or very close friends.
Leave copies of your itinerary and arrangements with them.
| 62. REMEMBER
The travel industry doesn’t really have a responsibility to advise you on travel safety and security. The decision to travel is always up to the person travelling.
63. Read Travel Crusaders’ When at Destination. It will help you get through it.
Or, start from the beginning and check our famous TCG – Travel Crusade Guide – the world’s best travel checklist.
Jason Galea, aka the Travel Crusader. Works, breathes and loves travel. Travel Consultant, Travel Trainer, Travel Coach, Blogger and avid traveller. Teach, inform and inspire travel intel to anyone and anybody. Helping people travel better.
Travel Crusaders! Have an amazing travel hack or secret about this topic? Please advise on any comments, photos, videos, reviews, recommendations or suggestions for this travel tip.