20 Important Travel Safety Tips Everyone Should Know

From our extensive travels encompassing over 15 countries and numerous city escapades, we at VayCay Couple have gleaned significant insights into maintaining travel safety while and how to stay safe while travelling. Our adventures have shown us that, generally, the world is a welcoming place for tourists, but there are some things to be aware of that can make all the difference.

For instance, during an evening outing in the Dominican Republic, an attempt was made to snatch my phone right out of my hand. Fortunately, an alert security guard noticed the incident just in time. What escalated the threat was the aggressor’s companions, who were all armed with knives at a nearby VIP table. One particularly brazen individual even went as far as to display his knife to us in a threatening manner. Thankfully, security was quick to act, ensuring our safe return to the resort. This ordeal highlighted the unexpected dangers that can arise, even in seemingly fun and safe environments.

Here we provide 20 essential travel safety tips to help you navigate your trips more securely:

1. Stay Aware of Your Surroundings

Always be vigilant, particularly in crowded tourist destinations. This is one of the primary answers to what is the safest way to travel. Whether at the Eiffel Tower or the Colosseum, stay alert to the specific tactics of thieves, who may use clever distractions to their advantage. At the Eiffel Tower, thieves might pretend to sell you souvenirs or ask you to sign a petition, while their accomplices pick your pockets. Near the Colosseum, con artists often operate by posing as ‘gladiators’ offering to take photos with tourists for a fee, using this interaction to subtly relieve you of your valuables. By being aware of these targeted strategies, you can better protect yourself and your belongings in these iconic locations.

2. Use Secure Transportation

Opt for well-known taxi services or arrange transportation in advance, especially in countries like Egypt, where following Egypt travel safety tips can prevent uncomfortable situations. It is advisable to have your hotel order a taxi for you, which ensures that the vehicle is registered and reliable. Additionally, when you’re in the taxi, ask the driver for his contact number so you can call him for your return journey. This not only ensures continuity and safety but also provides a sense of security, knowing that you have a trusted and verified driver for your transportation needs.

3. Safeguard Your Personal Belongings

Utilise anti-theft accessories, such as bags with lockable zippers and cut-resistant materials. This is part of essential safety tips when visiting crowded markets in Istanbul or popular beaches in Croatia, carrying a cross-body bag in front of you can prevent opportunistic thefts.

4. Be Cautious with Public Wi-Fi

Protect your data by using a VPN, a crucial aspect of travel security, when using public internet access in high-traffic areas. This helps protect your data from potential cyber threats inherent in unsecured public networks.

5. Travel Insurance is a Must

Ensure you are covered for theft, loss, and medical issues. This is a vital component of international travel safety tips. This is particularly crucial in destinations with expensive healthcare, such as the USA, or remote areas in countries like Romania where accessing medical care can be challenging.

6. Keep Copies of Important Documents

Having digital backups of your passport, visa, and insurance is a recommended practice under international travel safety tips. This precaution is invaluable, as we discovered when a companion needed to replace her lost passport in Cuba.

7. Use ATMs Wisely

Always use ATMs in secure locations, well-lit locations and remain vigilant for any devices attached to the machine that could be used to skim your card information. In Portugal, this is a key piece of advice in safety tips while traveling and to use ATMs located inside or in front of bank branches for added security.

8. Learn Basic Local Phrases

An often-overlooked aspect of travel safety is knowing how to ask for help or call for attention in the local language. This was particularly helpful during an incident at a bustling market in Cairo, where we needed to clarify a misunderstanding with a local vendor quickly.

9. Stay Low-Key

Avoid drawing attention to yourself by dressing modestly and keeping expensive jewellery or gadgets out of sight. This is an essential safety tips for traveling alone in any country but particularly in places like Italy or Brazil, where flaunting wealth might attract unwanted attention.

10. Check Local Scams

Before travelling, research common tourist scams in your destination. For example, in France, be cautious of the ‘gold ring’ scam or individuals asking you to sign fake petitions, which are distractions to rob you. Being informed of local scams is part of essential holiday travel safety tips.

11. Be Wary of Unofficial Tour Guides

Book tours and excursions through reputable agencies to avoid being misled or overcharged by unofficial guides, especially important in destinations like Egypt, as highlighted in Egypt travel safety tips.

12. Health Precautions

Adhere to safety tips for summer travel by carrying necessary medications such as a first aid kit with you and understanding food and water safety in your destination, especially in countries like Cuba or Egypt, to avoid foodborne illnesses.

13. Choose Accommodations Wisely

Select accommodations with positive reviews and robust security measures. Opting for well-lit, centrally located areas can enhance safety, as seen in tourist-frequented cities like Rome and Barcelona. An important aspect of holiday travel safety tips.

14. Nighttime Safety

Following safety tips for traveling alone, avoid walking alone in isolated areas at night and always keep someone informed about your plans. Whether you’re in the narrow lanes of Barcelona or near the quiet beaches of Italy, knowing your surroundings and avoiding risky areas after dark is vital.

15. Stay Sober and Alert

Maintain awareness by staying sober, in nightlife districts known for incidents involving spiked drinks, a crucial element of safety tips traveling alone. Be aware especially in places that have been reported like Spain and Portugal.

16. Follow Local Customs

Adhering to local customs and dress codes helps avoid cultural misunderstandings and shows respect, supporting international travel safety. This can prevent conflicts, particularly in traditional societies like those in Egypt or Turkey.

17. Secure Your Accommodation

Always ensure that the locks on doors and windows are functional in your accommodation and use safety boxes for valuables if available, adhering to safety tips for holiday travel. It is equally important to check the area where the accommodation is located. For instance, we once booked an Airbnb flat in South France that was the cheapest option in Perpignan. It appeared tidy and nice in the photos, but it turned out to be in the Saint Jacques neighbourhood, which is not known to be a very pleasant area during the night-time. This experience underscores the importance of researching the location’s safety and not just the accommodation’s amenities or price.

18. Emergency Contacts

Keep local emergency numbers and the address and contact information of your country’s embassy or consulate handy in case of emergencies, crucial for international travel safety.

19. Monitor Travel Advisories

A key point in international travel safety tips is to stay informed about the current political climate and any travel advisories issued by your government, which can be particularly relevant for countries experiencing political instability.

20. Trust Your Instincts

If a situation feels wrong, remove yourself immediately, a vital tip for how to stay safe while travelling. If something feels off, trust your instincts, and extricate yourself from potentially unsafe situations. This intuitive approach has repeatedly proven its worth during our travels across various global destinations.

By integrating these safety strategies into your travel plans, you can significantly mitigate risks and ensure that your global adventures are not only memorable but also secure. Remember, being well-prepared is your first line of defence in the unpredictable world of travel.