Safety Tips for World Travelers
You have been dreaming about this trip for a long time. Now your passport has been secured, all your papers are up-to-date, airline tickets have been secured and all lodging accommodations are confirmed. There is nothing left to do but set out on your global adventure, right?
Wrong! The Global Women’s Empowerment Network (GWEN) has outlined 10 important pre-trip planning tips to help keep you safe and sound overseas.
1. DO THE ADVANCE WORK
Get the address and key contact information from your country’s Embassy, so you know exactly who to contact and where to go if you find yourself in need of the Consulate during your travels.
Also, ask around to friends and family for connections to places and people they may know. It’s always best to have friendly resources nearby and at your disposal. At the very least, Google the cities and hotels where you will be staying. It’s best to stay in areas that are occupied with lots of people rather than remote and off the beaten path. Be sure to check out the ratings for your lodging establishments and identify upfront any special resources and accommodations they offer for foreign guests.
2. MANAGE YOUR EMERGENCY CONTACT INFORMATION
Prior to your departure, provide trusted family and friends with your detailed trip plans. Give them your scheduled itinerary, flight information, and lodging contact information. Also, be sure to check in on a regular basis and keep your support system updated with any onsite changes to your travel plans.
On the flip side, create a list of your emergency contact information and make it readily accessible while you are overseas. You should list your own personal contact information, as well as the name of a couple of emergency contacts back home with their phone numbers and any other pertinent information. It’s a good idea to include contact information for your bank and credit card companies as well, in case your card is stolen or experience a financial emergency while you are away.
3. REGISTER YOUR TRIP WITH THE APPROPRIATE AUTHORIES
When traveling abroad, it’s highly encouraged to register your trip with the State Department, local embassy or consulate prior to departure so they can contact you if necessary.
4. SECRET PLACES FOR SAFEKEEPING
As you know, you are required to possess important identity documents when traveling outside the country. Keep your passport on you at all times, storing it in a safe place such as an inside jacket pocket. Even better, purchase a belt that has pockets to hold valuables. You can find them on Amazon or at most sporting goods stores (often used by runners). This offers a two-pocket belt to put money, keys, smartphone, etc.
In addition, create a copy your passport before you leave home, and keep the copy in a separate, safe place – such as a zipped pocket in your luggage or in the hotel safe – in case your original document is lost or stolen.
Never wear valuable jewelry at ANY TIME when traveling overseas – leave it at home. Plus, if you have a backpack – wear it in the front of your body and not on your back. Carry a small satchel purse with belongings rather than a big bag. You need to be mindful of your surroundings at all times. In the bigger cities there are pick-pockets and gypsies who are experts in distraction and stealing.
5. STAY SOMEWHERE WITH WI-FI
It’s important to stay connected to your friends and family while you are traveling. Plus, the Internet is a valuable research tool that can help you plan daily activities, conduct advance work on your current surrounding, and identify new places and things to explore. WIFI access is critical for ongoing planning and safety precautions throughout your trip.
6. SOCIAL MEDIA
Always be mindful of what you post in social media, especially when away from home. It’s highly ill-advised to share where you are or where you are going. You never want to indicate that your home is or will be empty. Many people with bad intentions scour social media during holidays and summer to see where their next victim of crime might be.
7. SAFELY NAVIGATE THE STREETS
Be sure that when you’re walking through the streets you project confidence and a knowing demeanor, rather than look vulnerable and lost…even if you’re faking it. The most novice of criminals easily can spot clueless tourists.
When possible, do advanced research about your travel destinations. Understanding your surroundings, identifying nearby attractions, and mapping out major monuments, primary streets and key intersection along your route will greatly enhance your ability to blend in. Furthermore, be sure to use well-lit areas with people around.
8. INDULGE RESPONSIBLY
When in foreign countries, especially if you’re traveling alone, it’s best to limit your intake of adult beverages. Have a something sparkling while out and about, and enjoy your alcohol of choice in the comforts of your hotel room.
Regardless of what you choose to drink while in public places, never leave your beverage unattended. Finish your drink before taking a trip to the restroom or the dance floor. If you are separated from your beverage, do not continue drinking it when you return. Order a new drink. The reduced risk is well worth the extra expense.
9. USE DISCRETION WITH ALL INTERPERSONAL INTERACTION
Smartphone apps like Meetup, Yelp and Open Table are great tool to identify local events and activities in communities throughout the world. They can help connect you to trendy cafes, popular pubs, local festivals and a variety of venues for socializing and personal interaction.
It certainly can be fun to experience different activities and make new friends, especially in magical international destinations. Yet, it’s important to usediscretion and good judgement to ensure your safety. Avoid disclosing too much information to new acquaintances and never accompany them to unknown destinations.
Lastly, with regard to transportation, common sense UBER and LYFT rules apply. Always make sure you’re getting in the right car.
10. DOWNLOAD OUR GWEN ALERT SAFETY APP
The GWEN Alert app is a must for travelers. This award-winning safety tool provides access to immediate assistance should you find yourself in dangerous surroundings or a precarious situation. It’s free and can be downloaded at the Apple Store or Google Play.
Set up is super easy. Just enter contact information for your GWEN 5 – five trusted people from your personal network. Then, these individuals will be alerted when you’re in danger and trigger the safety app with a click of a button.
- A pre-set text message is sent instantly to your GWEN 5 stating, “I am in trouble – I need your help!”
- The app automatically provides your GPS coordinates and continually tracks your location, so your support team can come to your rescue, and if necessary provide the proper authorities with your specific location.
- You also have the ability to speed dial 911, in case you need to escalate a rescue response.
Be a smart traveler and download the GWEN Alert to your smart phone today.