25 essential safety tips when traveling outside of the US
Now that pandemic restrictions have loosened, more and more people are itching to get out and see the world. Yay! But before you grab your passport and head out, make sure you follow these safety tips when traveling to ensure you have a memorable and problem-free vacation.
Our family is just finishing up our two-month vacation in Costa Rica. It was an amazing trip but we did run into some hiccups along the way that could have been avoided. Here’s some tips to help you so you have a safe adventure with your friends and loved ones.
Before you go: safety tips when traveling
- Documents: Make a copy of your passport and important documents. Even if you don’t lose your passport, many times people ask to see a copy of your passport for excursions, bank transactions and rental cars. Also, keep an electronic copy on your phone for easy access.
- Research your destination: Get to know the area, transportation options, language, food and people. That way, you’re more comfortable and prepared when you get there.
- Facebook groups: Join a Facebook group about the specific area you are traveling too. Here you can ask questions like, “Where is the best place to catch a bus,” or “Is there area safe for kids.” I did this when we went to Costa Rica and it was invaluable.
- Friends and family: Make sure someone back home knows your itinerary and the names and phone numbers of the hotels you are staying at.
- US Embassy: Know the contact information for the US Embassy in the country you are visiting. They can held you recover or get a new copy of your passport if it gets lost or stolen.
- Smart Traveler Enrollment Program: You can monitor safety conditions for specific destinations overseas by signing up for email notifications through the US Department of State.
- Jewelry: Leave your giant wedding ring in your jewelry box at home.
- Consider travel insurance: This can be pricey, but if you’re shelling out a ton of dough for your trip, travel insurance can cover your but in the event of a cancelation, injury or unforeseen circumstances.
At your hotel
- Door jammer: You never know who else has the key to your Airbnb or hotel room door. This gives you peace of mind.
- Safe: Most hotel rooms have a safe. Keep your valuables locked tight.
- Room key: Keep this with you at all times, especially when you’re swimming in the pool.
- Visitors: Don’t answer your hotel room door unless you know who it is
- Close the door: When you enter or leave you room, make sure your door is closed tight.
- Triple check your room upon checkout: My sister-in-law forgot her phone in her hotel room once. She called it when she came back and found it hidden in a crumple of dirty towels on the cleaning lady’s cart!
- Don’t carry everything together: If you make a mistake and leave your bag on the beach, make sure it doesn’t contain your credit cards, extra cash, passports and phone.
- LOCK YOUR CAR: This seems obvious, but we made this mistake and someone stole our phone, credit card and two tablets while we were 10 feet away from our car.
- Travel pack or cross body bag: Keep the important stuff close in a small purse or pack that you can carry with you everywhere. I use this cross body bag every time I travel and I love it.
- Debit cards: Only use debit cards to make ATM withdrawals because debit cards initiate a transaction directly from your bank account, making it easier for thieves.
- Have a place for everything: The best way to avoid losing your phone or keys is to put it back in the same place every single time.
- Obey the local laws: Our cousin was thrown in a Mexican jail when he tried to drive his 4-wheeler on the beach. Respect the country and its laws and you shouldn’t have any problems.
- Don’t leave items unattended: There are lots of professional thieves out there watching your stuff and waiting for you to turn your back.
Safety with kids
- Crowds: Avoid crowded areas with kids such as farmer’s markets and busy stores. It makes it easier to lose a child
- Buddy system: My husband keeps his eyes on two of our kids, while I keep eyes on the other two and our teenager watches as well.
- Babies: You can say “no” if someone wants to hold your baby. You don’t have to be polite when it comes to your child’s safety. A lot of people wanted to hold my baby in Costa Rica and I would just tell them that she is afraid of people she doesn’t know.
- Toddler hardness: Yes, this is basically a pet leash for your child but if it will keep you two-year-old from wandering away or getting kidnapped, I am all for it.
I hope these these safety tips while traveling will help you on your next trip. Our family loves to travel and for the most part, people are so generous and kind. Plus, there is so much to see out there. Let me know how your trip goes and if there any additional tips that you would add. Bon voyage!
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