Going on vacation is an exciting prospect and something that everyone looks forward to, whether it has been planned for months or it’s a last-minute booking. It’s essential, however, to remember that you need to keep yourself and your belongings safe when you’re away, just the same as you would if you were at home. In fact, because you’re away from home and in unfamiliar surroundings, there are even more things to take into consideration. Here are some great tips for staying safe when on vacation.
In terms of your health, some places you can travel to require you to have vaccines before you go. Make sure that you book these in advance so that they are given at the right time, and remember to have your paperwork with you to show if you need to. Without being vaccinated against diseases such as malaria, you could become extremely sick when you’re on vacation, and you may even have to come home early.
When you’re at your doctor’s office, you can also book in for a medical while there. This will confirm that you are safe and well to travel. Although this is not compulsory, it will put your mind at ease, and you will know you’re fit and healthy.
Only Use Reputable Tour Companies
It’s very easy to get scammed when you’re new somewhere, and you perhaps don’t speak the language. After all, you just want a nice break away, and you’re in a relaxed mood, so you might not be as careful as you would be in the same situation at home. If someone comes along and offers you a tour or an activity, be aware that this could be fake and simply a way to get your money. Even if it is real, it could be that the people running the tour don’t have the right insurance or safety protocols in place. If you sign up, your own insurance might become invalid.
It’s far better to book your trips and activities in advance, ideally before you even leave home. In that way, you have all the time you need to do the research you have to do to ensure you’re making a good, safe, and cost-effective choice. If you want to try vacation diving in Okinawa or bungee jumping in Maputo, that’s great – always try new things – as long as you have made all the proper checks.
Your passport and other important documents need to be kept safe when you’re traveling. If you make a digital backup of everything before you leave, then if the worst should happen and you lose them or they are stolen, you will still have all the information you need in order to obtain new versions quickly. Things to consider backing up include your passport, immunization records, medical insurance details, tickets, travel insurance, your visas if you need them, and even your itinerary, just in case.
These files are good to have, but they won’t be helpful if they are stored on a laptop or device that you don’t have with you. Save all the digital backups on a USB drive and bring it with you, or email them to yourself so you have them to hand if you do need to access them.
Use A Credit Card
Even if you don’t normally like using a credit card, having one for your vacation spending is a good idea, and you can pay it all off once you get home so you won’t incur any long term debt with it; this is actually very important – you don’t want to run the risk of only paying the minimum and then having financial worries.
The reason that using a credit card is such a good idea in terms of safety is that most purchases made will be covered automatically by insurance. Not only that, but if your card is stolen, it is easier to cancel it and obtain a new one than it is to claim for stolen cash or a debit card on your travel insurance. It just makes purchasing items much safer, and you can go ahead and enjoy your vacation without worrying.
Keep Things Separate
Although for convenience’s sake, it is clearly easier to keep your money, cards, ID, and maybe your passport in one purse or bag, it’s not a good idea in terms of security. Keep anything you don’t require for the day in your hotel room, ideally in a safe. With the rest of it, keep your money in a separate wallet from everything else, and in a different place too – you could wear a fanny pack or backpack and keep your ID in there and your cash and cards in your pocket, or vice versa. That way, even if a theft does occur, it’s unlikely that the thief will take all of your important belongings at once.
Another important tip to remember is that you should never keep anything in your back pocket – that makes it far too easy for pickpockets to strike or for things to fall out without you noticing. Make sure everything stays at the front where you can see and feel it, and you can ensure it is all kept safe.
When you are sitting in a restaurant or café, don’t hang your bag on the back of your chair or leave it on the floor by your side. You’re going to be distracted talking about your vacation and what you’re going to do next, or watching the crowds go by and the interesting sights around you – your bag could be grabbed without you seeing it happen. Keep your bag on your lap or on the floor between your legs, and it will be less of a target.
Check Around You
When you are leaving a place, check all around you and look back as you go to make sure you haven’t left anything behind. You will most likely be visiting a lot of different places during the day, and if you only realize something is missing when you reach your hotel room, it will be all but impossible to remember where you might have lost it. Even if you can remember, the amount of people who will have been to the same place you were when you lost your purse or wallet or bag of souvenirs means that you will probably never see it again.
Don’t Bring Your Jewelry
There is no reason you would need to take expensive jewelry on vacation with you, and it just makes you and it a target for thieves. It’s far better to leave it at home and enjoy your time away without it. The same goes for anything expensive and tempting to thieves, such as designer bags or costly cameras. Carrying these things around with you just tells those people with less than savory intentions that you are a good target, so it’s not worth it in the long run.
Be Careful Who You Talk To
Meeting new people when you are on vacation is one of the most interesting and enjoyable parts of being away, but be careful – don’t give away too much information about yourself, and certainly don’t give away any personal information. Unless they are a licensed guide and you have booked onto a tour, you shouldn’t go anywhere with a stranger either, and be aware of what’s happening around you at all times.
Stay Off Social Media
Don’t give criminals a heads-up by oversharing on social media, and ensure you take a break from social media while you’re on vacation. Even if you’ve set your Facebook and Twitter privacy settings to the highest level, strangers may still be able to access the personal information you’ve shared, and that leaves your home vulnerable. Plus, when you are constantly posting to social media, you’ll be missing out on what’s happening all around you – why spend your time doing something you could just as easily do at home when there is so much to experience on your trip?
However, it is imperative that you inform your loved ones back home of your travel plans. When arranging a trip, always notify a responsible party of your projected return time and intended route. That way, if you aren’t where you’re meant to be when you’re meant to be there, someone will know to raise the alarm.
Avoid Using Public Wifi
If you do have to use the internet for any reason while you’re away, never log into a public wifi network. Thieves can easily get access to your personal information if you use wifi. Because it’s so widely accessible, many people assume it’s safe. However, it could be really dangerous if you use it to check your bank account, for instance. Smart hackers can gather all of that information, and you might end up losing everything.
Rather than relying on free wifi, consider purchasing a portable router and creating your own personal hotspot. You’ll need a local SIM data card to do this, and these are available at the airport or a local electronic shop.