Nothing ruins a summer vacation faster than getting sick, losing your wallet, or being scammed. No matter what kind of trip you have planned this year — beach or mountains; friends or family; close to home or exotic locale — stay safe with these travel tips.
Before You Go
Take photos of your travel documents and passport and upload them to a cloud-based app like Dropbox. If they are stolen or lost, you’ll be able to access them online.
Invest in a wallet or bag equipped with RFID blocking technology to foil identity thieves who use hand-held scanners to steal information from your credit cards.
You probably know to avoid bringing expensive clothes and jewelry, but think twice about wearing fakes, too: flashy is flashy and can draw unwanted attention.
Register with the US State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), which provides the local US Embassy with your contact information. This will allow them to reach you with important safety and security information or support during an emergency.
In addition to basic medications, pack extras like anti-bacterial towelettes, alcohol prep pads, an antihistamine in both pill and cream form (for strong allergic reactions and itchy bug bites) and, if you’re traveling out of the country, something for traveler’s diarrhea.
While You’re There
Be careful who you photograph. In some countries, locals expect to be paid to have their photograph taken and can get aggressive if you try to resist.
That helpful guy who offers to show you a shortcut to the taxi stand at the airport? He could be leading you to a pirate, or unlicensed, cab. Politely say “no, thank you” and walk away.
Figure out a system for handling money that will keep you from fumbling for too long with bills and coins when making a purchase. Thieves love distracted visitors.
Save the screen time for later. Being in the moment – not on your phone or device – helps ensure you fully experience your destination. And, it will make you a less likely target for crime.
If you’re hiking in a national park, sign in at the ranger station before you hit the trail, so someone will know if you’re not back by dark. Plug their number into your phone as well.
Most of all, enjoy your trip. Laugh at mistakes. Take a chance on unknown foods. Buy the painting – or the necklace. Talk with the locals. And make memories that will last for years to come.