Whether you travel domestically or in foreign countries, for business or pleasure, you face more dangers from more directions today than we have seen in our lifetime. If you watch the news you might not want to leave the house at all, but there is no reason to shut down and shut yourself in if you learn and follow today’s travel safety basics. We have compiled a Travel Safety Checklist to help you enjoy your next trip safely.
Modern travel requires planning and preparing for the unexpected. We have unprecedented weather hazards, pre-existing, emerging, and reemerging diseases, terrorist threats, run-of-the-mill criminals, and criminals using cutting edge technology. Depending on where you travel, you may get caught up in cultural and political tensions, which could turn deadly for you.
One of the best ways to protect yourself is to do your research well ahead of your trip, so you know what to look out for and plan for. Learn about the region you are travelling to, the cultural expectations and the specific dangers you may face there. Know how to get help. Even if you are travelling within the U.S., check into it, especially if you are going to be in a rural area or out in the backcountry where cellphones may not work and help may be far away.
A Contact at Home
Make sure someone knows when to search for you, and where to start looking. This applies no matter where you go. Anything could happen. You could simply be in an accident and be unconscious, with no malicious act involved, but if your identification was lost in the process it could compromise your care and your ability to get home once you are able to travel again.
Check the weather before you leave, and then prepare for extreme weather that was not predicted. If you are driving, keep an emergency kit in your car. If you are flying and need to travel light, at least take enough money to buy warm clothes if the weather turns frigid, and find out ahead of time what to do in weather emergencies in the area.
Don’t let protecting your home go by the wayside. It is easy to get caught up in the excitement, or the stress, of planning the trip itself, and forget to take adequate security measures at home. While you are away, you could be leaving yourself open to identity theft or a break-in. Worse, all the safety measures you take while travelling could be for naught if you walk in on an intruder when you get home.
Tried and True
Most of all, remember the basics that you have heard all of your life that you may already employ locally every day. Be aware of your surroundings. Do not let your guard down with strangers no matter how friendly, helpful, or fun they are. Watch out for pickpockets and everyday opportunists. Stay in well-lit areas. And, don’t go flashing your money around.