10 Tips to Help Keep You Safe When Traveling AbroadWhen traveling in a foreign country, you need to stay aware of your surroundings and take a few precautions you might not need to take in your own country. In 2014, nearly 12 million people from the United States traveled to Europe. When you figure in other regions as well, there were nearly 70 million travelers from the United States going around the world. Follow these tips, and you can stay safe as well.

Traveling Alone
Simply put, you should avoid traveling alone. If you do travel alone, make sure to let people know where you’re going and check in at regularly designated times. Have a plan in place in case people don’t hear from you.

Keep Extra Cash Safe
Make sure to keep extra cash stored in an envelope with the front desk of the hotel you’re staying at, or in the safe in your room if you trust it. This is important because anything can happen while you’re outside in the world. If an ATM machine eats your card or you lose your wallet, you don’t want to be left with no way to eat. Some people use Tyvek sleeves to hide their money in a money belt that attaches to their arm. The elastic ends make it easy to access your money, while keeping it safe.

Store Critical Documents
Make a few photocopies of your passport, and keep them in a safe place along with two head shots. In the event that you need to get a new passport, this will make it much easier to issue one to you. Additionally, make sure to keep your plane tickets, bus tickets and room accommodation information in a single waterproof folder that zips shut. This helps to protect your documents, and it ensures that they don’t get damaged.

Use Your Smartphone
Even if you don’t have cellular service, you can use your smartphone to store maps of the area you’re staying in. Download maps to your phone when you have Wi-Fi, and keep an extra charging battery with you so that you always know where you are. There are also plenty of good map apps available that can make it even easier to get your bearings.

Bring a Daypack
Get a daypack and locks for the zippers, so you don’t have to worry about pickpockets. Use your discretion when deciding when and where to lock up your valuable. For example, in Japan, you could pretty much leave your wallet on the table and nobody would take it. In certain areas of Thailand, pickpockets are so prevalent that there are signs everywhere warning you to be careful.

Access to Money
Have more than one way to access your money. If your debit card gets stolen, it’s wise to have a second bank account or credit card that you keep in your apartment to cover expenses. You can always transfer money between your banks if you have two of them, and this way you can avoid some of the hefty fees associated with international transfers. Getting replacements for your cards can be very difficult abroad, especially if you are in an area that doesn’t speak English.

Avoid Scams
If you’re in a foreign country where nobody speaks your language, be wary of overly friendly locals who speak fluent English. This is how a lot of scams start. They will offer to help you get around town, and these scams usually end with you in a tourism office or a friends shop where they try to coerce you to purchase something. Keep to your travel plans, and make plans ahead of time to avoid getting taken.

Travel Insurance
Travel insurance may be an extra expense, but it’s crucial. If you get injured abroad, you may find yourself owing thousands of dollars. Getting travel insurance helps to protect you, and in many cases you’re covered if your flight is delayed or cancelled.

Avoid Beggars
You may come across people asking for money on your travels. Unless you’re in an airport or a highly secure location, it’s best to avoid giving anything more than change in your pockets. Pulling out your wallet can leave you vulnerable to scams, and it requires you to expose your money.

Don’t Fight
If you are mugged, just give up your valuables. They can be replaced, and if you followed all of the steps outlined in this article, your insurance will cover you and you’ll have ways to access your money when you arrive safely back at your hotel.

Most of the people who travel do so safely and come home with positive tales from their journey. Staying safe depends on your ability to plan ahead and be smart in confusing situations. Don’t feel pressured to make a quick decision abroad, and make sure you always read the fine print for any travel documents and packages.

About the author:
Lee Flynn is a freelance writer and a regular follower of SearchAmelia.com. Through workshops and various articles, he trains and teaches others on home preparation, healthy living, food storage techniques, and self reliance.

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