We know you’ve probably gotten the motivation to quit your 9 to 5 job, or at least take that vacation you’ve always wanted, based on all the wanderlust-inspired Instagram posts your friends and influencers have been putting up.
And why not? You deserve it! It’s never been easier, safer, or more economical to travel. But before you go, here are some travel safety tips to remember.
Practice These Travel Safety Tips So You Won’t Have to Worry
If you’re going to travel, especially solo, there are a few safety tips that you must keep in mind. After all, you don’t want to find yourself in a strange new country, in a crappy ‘hotel’ room that looks nothing like pics on the website, right?
1. Map Out Your Route and Make Notes
We get it – half the fun of traveling solo is spontaneity. And there’s nothing wrong with that!
But mapping out even an approximate route will help you be more at ease. Make sure to take note of the rest stops, grocery stores, and best hotels and inns on the way (that have good ratings). This is also a good way to find out what local events are happening since a lot of places sell tickets and passes to charming wine tastings, biking tours, and artisan fairs in advance online.
If you will be in an area where cellphone service is spotty, try downloading an area map from Google Maps before you get there. It will give you offline access to a map of the area and driving directions. Unfortunately, walking and cycling directions are not available yet.
2. Always Check Reviews of the Place You’re Staying At
This goes without saying, but the more reviews (good ones), the less likely you are to end up with an unpleasant surprise. Triple check all of your Airbnb and Couch Surfing reviews BEFORE you book the reservation. Pay close attention to the most reviews and also carefully review the negative feedback. If the negative feedback contains complaints that will cramp your style, like spotty wifi or lukewarm showers, you may want to find another place to crash. Staying at a hotel? Check out the reviews on TripAdvisor, Yelp, and/or Hotels.com.
If there are no reviews or feedback. Give it a hard pass. Why be the guinea pig?
Pro Tip: You can also use Google Maps on Street View to check out the surrounding area as well as see how close it is to public transportation, shops, restaurants, etc…
3. Share Your Contact Information and Itinerary with People You Trust
It’s a good practice to update your family or closest friends of your whereabouts. Make sure at least a few trusted people have your local contact number (with the right area code) and the addresses of where you’ll be staying. If you’re a social media butterfly, checking in on Facebook, Swarm, Yelp, and/or Instagram can also help your loved ones keep track you.
4. Divide Your Money in Different Places
First – and this is even more important if you’re going to a country known for pickpockets, you need to have disposable cash with you.
Secondly, never ever keep all of your money in one place! Pickpockets are highly trained to spot the obvious travelers and they know the look and feel of a wallet through any material. So, divide your cash into 3 or 4 bunches. Keep 2 stashes back in your room in a hidden compartment in your suitcase. The third, you can stash somewhere in your purse. And the fourth, you can either choose to put in a wallet or in your pockets – whatever is easily available to you.
It’s also a good idea to download all of your banking apps in case you need to report any of credit or debit cards lost or stolen. Almost every banking app allows you turn off your card and request a new one. Depending on where you are traveling, you can also use your phone to get cash out of an ATM if you do not have you card with you. It also goes without saying, but make sure that your phone and banking apps are password, PIN, and/or fingerprint protected.
Have a Good Time, But Be Mindful
After all of this prep remember that you’re on vacation, so don’t forget to have a good time! Just remembering these safety tips, being mindful of your surroundings, and trusting your instinct can go a long way in keeping you safe.