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12 Travel Safety Tips For All Travelers

This post contains *affiliate links, which means I receive commissions for purchases made through these links at no additional cost to you. I only provide links to products that I use and wholeheartedly recommend.

 

I've had the immense privilege to travel the world for much of my life. I took my first solo trip when I was 20, all the way to Morocco, which led to a lifelong love of travel. I've cried in strange places, made friends with the kindest strangers, and fundamentally changed through travel.

 

For the vast majority of my travel experiences, I've felt incredibly safe. However, I approach life as if nothing is guaranteed, not even a safe trip to the grocery store at home. So, I try to prepare for what I can to protect myself, including when I travel.


Below, find my top travel safety tips that are broadly applicable no matter where you're going. Whether you're headed out alone or with a group of friends, the majority of the below tips are free (or relatively low cost), simple, and effective.



12 Safety Tips For Every Traveler


1. Do Your Research

So often, we are afraid because a place is unfamiliar to us, but that fear may or may not be founded based on local circumstances. Research things like whether a place is safe to walk around for transportation, local crime concerns, common scams, and safety tips for x place to get a baseline level of knowledge before you go.


2. Share Your Itinerary With Trusted People

Folks have to know where you're supposed to be to have any idea of where to start looking if you get off track. I share my full itineraries for trips in advance with my mom and friends so that if something happens (maybe I'm hurt, maybe I never showed up at my hotel, etc), folks know where to start digging. I know lots of people who love TripIt to craft and share itineraries with others.


3. Share Your Location Live With Trusted People

The Find My app on my iPhone is a great tool. In it, you can share your live location with selected people so they can take a look and see where you're at. This has also been fun in my experience when I open it and notice a dear friend happens to be nearby unexpectedly, and then we can meet up! Android users can also use Google Maps to share their locations.


4. Don't Post Live On Social Media

It might be tempting to visit a super cute boutique or bar, pop it onto your Instagram stories, and share it right away. However, doing that while you're still there allows people to see where you are live and potentially come to meet you even if you don't want them to. Wait until after you leave a location to share about it publicly, including hotels you stay in when you travel!  

5. Bring A Sound Alarm

If you're particularly concerned about personal safety on a trip, bring along a sound alarm like this one from Birdie. They're small, and you can casually keep them in your hand or within easy reach when you're in a place where you're not 100% comfortable. I personally don't recommend using mace or other more physical self-protection options when traveling, as those items are often illegal depending on where you are, and you can injure yourself if using them in a stressful situation. The sound alarm can startle someone and help draw attention, which is a great way to defuse a situation and is easy and legal to carry around.

 

A clickable graphic that says: Get ready for your trip! Shop my tried and true travel essentials.

6. Download Offline Maps

Download an offline version of Google Maps on your phone whenever you're traveling somewhere new. That way, if you lose service for any reason, you can still navigate your way around.

 

7. Enroll In STEP

For American citizens traveling abroad, register with STEP before every trip. STEP is a State Department program that ensures you receive safety updates when in that country and that the US Embassy or Consulate there has your information to contact you in case of emergency.

 

8. Budget For Safety

Especially when you're alone, but in general, when you travel, try to budget for safety if you have space. That might mean allowing a bit of extra money in the transit budget so you don't have to walk in the dark or booking a hotel in a safer and slightly more expensive area if possible. Or, it could mean bringing along a credit card with available credit in case you end up needing to change plans to make yourself feel safe.


9. Stay Connected

If you can swing it, pay the extra dollars to get a local sim card or an international plan for your phone so that you can use it overseas and use your phone data to book an Uber, look at a map, and more. Staying connected can go a long way toward ensuring that you are safe in an emergency.


10. Trust Your Gut

When in doubt, trust your gut. If you planned to walk to this trendy new restaurant you heard about while on a trip but along the walk, you notice no one else is on the street, and you get a weird feeling, take a cab or pick a new restaurant. Trust those off feelings you may have while traveling, as they are important.


11. Move With Purpose

Even if you don't know where you are going, walk like you do with your head up, moving purposefully. Move confidently, and you'll be amazed at how much it can encourage others to leave you be when you're traveling.


12. Pay Attention To Physical Safety Cues

When walking around a new place, you can often see safety cues around you that you may not notice unless you're actively paying attention. If everyone in the crowd is wearing their bags facing the front with a hand over the zipper, you are likely in an area that has a lot of pickpockets or petty theft. Watch this video for examples of more visible safety cues that may send you valuable signals when traveling.



These are just a few travel tips to consider for your next journey or that you can incorporate into your travel plans to make your experience even better! If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in a comment below, and I'll answer them to the best of my ability based on my experiences!

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