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Stay Safe While Traveling Internationally: Top 12 Tips

July 02, 20244 min read

Traveling internationally is an intoxicating adventure. Something "old" in the USA is 100ish years old. Something "old" in Europe was probably built by the Romans! Just sayin. The world is full of beauty and exploration, but it's crucial to stay safe. Here are my top tips to ensure your trip is equal parts safe and enjoyable.

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1. Discreetly Carry Your Valuables

Avoid carrying your valuables in an ostentatious manner. Use a body purse , a bra pouch, or a jacket with secure inner pockets. Especially in cooler locations, I prefer a jacket with a breast pocket for my credit cards and cash. This reduces the risk of theft compared to using a visible purse. Additionally, utilize your digital wallet (whenever possible) to minimize cash or physical credit cards.

2. Avoid Unsolicited Interactions

Refrain from touching or accepting items from strangers on the street. This can help you avoid scams where you're accused of breaking something you touched (when you didn't). Similarly, be wary of anyone invading your personal space, whether they offer a dance, a hug, or a light for your cigarette. These actions are red flags for potential theft or scams.

3. Blend In

Don't look lost or out of place. When I was in Barcelona, I memorized the route I was walking to avoided looking at my maps app routing. The goal is to blend in with the locals. Having a mental map of your destination helps maintain your confidence and minimizes your tourist bullseye risks.

4. Avoid Identifying Yourself As a Tourist

While there's nothing wrong with being American (or anything else for that matter), our goal here is to blend in, right? Wearing political or American sports team shirts is basically an "I'm a tourist" neon sign. Opt for more neutral attire to be more invisible to scammers.

5. Minimize Flashiness

During the day, leave your designer clothes and accessories at the hotel and stick to practical outfits. A simple over the body sling is your best friend. Save your luxury items for special occasions or nights out. Flashy jewelry and expensive accessories can attract unwanted attention from the ill-intented.

6. Learn Basic Local Phrases

Learning a few basic phrases in the local language is a sign of respect and can make your interactions smoother. Whether it’s "gracias" in Spain or "merci" in France, using local greetings and expressions shows that you're gracious enough to make an effort to engage with the culture.

7. Register with the Government Travel Site

Before your trip, check visa requirements and register your travel plans with your government. This ensures that authorities can assist you more efficiently in case of an emergency.

8. Share Your Itinerary

Make sure at least two people at home know your travel itinerary. This ensures someone can act on your behalf if something goes wrong. Your travel agent is your best lifeline, but maybe a spouse, boss, bestie or parent is your best second?

9. Get Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is crucial. It covers unexpected issues like trip cancellations, interruptions, delays, and medical emergencies. Your regular health insurance might not cover you "out of network" (like when you're abroad). You will also be subject to deductibles, so travel insurance provides peace of mind.

10. Post on Social Media Delayed

Avoid posting your real-time location on social media. Share your travel experiences after you've returned home to avoid calling attention to the fact that your home is unoccupied.

11. Minimize Solo Travel Risks

If you are married but traveling alone for work, guess're a solo traveler. Not to worry though, I have done a ton of solo traveling, and I have never had issues. Nevertheless, avoid broadcasting this fact. Deflect questions about being alone, because it is no one's business anyway.

12. Skip the Currency Exchange

I have literally never exchanged currency on my travels and have operated with credit cards and small amounts of American USD for tips and small items (magnets, trinkets, etc.). I believe a currency exchange leaves you open for fraud upon redemption. Let's say you exchange a $100 USD bill, then you spend approximately $65. Currency is a fluctuating thing. Do you have a solid grasp on exactly how much to expect back? Or will you just take whatever they hand you? Would you know if someone pocketed a portion of your change? Just use credit cards as much as possible to avoid this issue.

By following these tips, you can enjoy your international travels while staying safe and secure. Happy travels!

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Lisa Farrimond

Travel Agent

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