5 Security Tips for Traveling Abroad

Traveling abroad safely should always be your top priority – right after the list of things you need to take, according to the US State Department. Traveling abroad safely is not dramatically different from traveling locally, whether to work or a neighboring city, but it does present a unique set of circumstances that command an extension of safety practices when mobile. Here are five security tips for those traveling abroad.

Lock Up Your Passport and Cash

Passports can be a target for thieves, and obviously, so is cash. Do not carry your passpot with you as a matter of course – you should only carry it when you are traveling from port to port. Instead, lock up your passport in your hotel or hostel’s lockbox or safe – or, if you are camping at a campground, in the campground’s lockbox or safe – and carry your state or province ID or license.

Carry as little cash as possible. Plan ahead and carry only as much as you need. The bulk of your purchases should be with a bank or credit card, and the majority of your cash should be locked up in a safe, along with your passport.

Travel With a Companion

While some seasoned travellers do well alone, it is always safer to travel with a companion, particularly if your travels take you through wilderness, such as if you are on a trek or camping trip. Organize your travel to include one or more companions, whether you travel with friends, family, or members of an online forum with whom you are collaborating on a trip. Single travelers are sometimes more common targets than pairs or groups, and if you should become injured on a trek, your companion or group can assist you in getting medical help.

Do Your Research

Before you travel, do research on the cities and areas you will be visiting. Look at some maps, note the main thoroughfares, and familiarize yourself with some of the places you plan to visit and how to get there. Take the time to learn how the public transportation system works if you’ll be using it, and what to do if you should become stranded. In particular, read a few articles or city reviews to know what areas may be dangerous for you to traverse, and, if you have a map of the city or area, mark them on your map as places to be extra cautious.

If you are visiting a country that speaks languages other than your own, take the time to familiarize yourself with a few basic phrases, using phrasebooks or sites like Duolingo or LiveMocha.

Know the Laws

Overall conducting yourself as a decent citizen will be enough when traveling abroad, but different countries may have specific laws regarding citizen comportment or travel practices, such as laws or statutes relating to fishing, camping, or hiking. If you are driving, make sure you are familiar with the traffic ordinances and how to proceed if you should receive a ticket or citation. Make sure you’re familiar with the noise ordinances of the communities you are visiting. Additionally, make sure you know the policies of the hotel, hostel, or campground you are staying in. Some will have local ordinance books that you can peruse if you are unable to locate the information you need online or at the library.

Have Emergency Numbers Handy

Always have a mobile phone on you when traveling.  You can swap out your local SIM for a prepaid SIM card in the country you’re visiting. Add emergency numbers for the police, paramedics, and fire departments to your phone’s directory. If you are camping, have the numbers for forestry and ranger personnel relevant to the area that you are traversing, and know where their headquarters and outposts are in the event of an emergency that requires you to physically go and seek help if you cannot secure it by phone.

Related Resource: 5 Careers in Security Management

Following each of these tips will make your trip safer – and the peace of mind it will bring will make your trip more enjoyable and memorable.