After traveling the world for the past 9 years, I’ve learned a lot about staying safe – sometimes the hard way. Here are my best travel safety tips for avoiding trouble on your trip.
Nothing ruins an adventure quicker than getting scammed or robbed!
One time in Panama, women distracted me while stealing my laptop from a backpack. I thought it was gone, until this happened 3 months later. I got lucky.
In Mexico, a pickpocket once grabbed my iPhone on the street. I managed to get that back too, chasing the thief down the road screaming like a maniac and brandishing a bottle of tequila! LOL.
You don’t even need to travel internationally to have bad stuff happen. In Miami Beach, my camera was stolen when I wasn’t paying attention.
After years traveling the world, I’ve grown accustomed to deceitful taxi drivers, two-faced tour guides, insincere offers of help, and an occasional theft or scam.
For the most part, the world is a pretty safe place for travelers. I don’t want to scare you too much! However, it’s wise to be prepared.
With that in mind, here are my best travel safety tips to help minimize your chances of something bad happening to you during your travels.
1. Learn Common Travel Scams
Wherever you go in the world, you’ll always find people ready to trick you out of your hard-earned cash. If you’re lucky, they’ll be kinda obvious – but there are plenty of craftier, professional con-artists out there too.
Everyone thinks they’re too smart to be scammed — but it happens.
Here are some of the most common travel scams I’ve come across. I recommend you learn them all – then fire up the Google and do even more in-depth research into the worst scams happening at your specific destination.
For example, the milk scam in Cuba. Broken taxi meters in Costa Rica. Or the ring scam in Paris. Every country has its own special ones to watch out for!
Forewarned is forearmed, and this research can help defend you from being tricked out of hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars (while suffering the kind of frustration and misery that ruins a dream trip).
2. Write Down Emergency Info
If disaster strikes, you might not have time to search for numbers for local police or ambulance services, or directions to the nearest embassy for your country. You may also be too stressed and panicky to think straight.
Don’t put yourself in that position. Instead, record that information in advance, and create an “Emergency Plan” for you to follow if things go badly. Save it on your phone somewhere (I use the Evernote App).
I also recommend you write it down on a small card or sheet of paper, get it laminated (easily done at your local office supply store) to protect it from moisture, and keep it in your wallet/purse.
That way, if something goes wrong out there, you’ll always know exactly who to call and where to go for help.