You’ll want to put your family and friends minds at ease while you’re traveling, so make sure that you’re traveling safely. World travel can be an enriching and educational experience, but you’ll want to make sure you follow a few simple tips so you can make it back home safely to share your memories.
Keep an eye on your stuff. Don’t leave your backpack or luggage unattended or with a stranger, particularly at airports and train stations. With tighter security controls, you don’t want to experience delays from having to retrieve a bag from security.
Get travel insurance. Travel insurance will cover your emergency medical needs (including exams), baggage protection, travel accident protection, trip protection, and 24-hour emergency assistance. STA Travel offers this type of coverage for about $5 per day. http://www.statravel.com/travelinsurance.htm
Don’t show off your valuables. You don’t want to invite any trouble by showing off an iPod or nice digital camera. You can still use these items; just keep them in your pack until you are ready to use them. The same goes with money and ID. Leave a copy of your license, passport, and credit cards with your parents and hide a second set of copies in your backpack. Spread all of this among your money belt, backpack, and daypack. If anything is stolen or lost, you’ll be able to replace them faster if you have a copy. When you’re traveling during the day, just take what money and ID you need for the day and put the rest in a hotel safe.
Lock up your luggage. If you’re sporting a backpack, try to keep the zippered sections locked. Most hostels and hotels and public transport systems are completely safe, but you don’t want to be stuck in a foreign country without any gear or money if something is stolen.
Get tips from locals and guide books. If you aren’t familiar with an area, consult your guide book or a local at your hostel or hotel. They can tell you superb places to eat and great events going on. They can also tell you where not to go and local customs that will help you blend in.
They can also share some key local phrases that can help you out in a bind.
Start off right. Book your hostel or hotel room in your next destination before you leave for it. That way, when you’ll arrive, you’ll have a place to sleep. Also, try to arrive during the day. It’s better to hit a new city during daylight than after sunset.
Avoid money problems. You can avoid most money pitfalls by planning—and sticking to—a budget. Carrying a variety of forms of money from credit and debit cards to travelers’ checks and cash is also a good idea. Make sure to only deal with authorized currency agencies to ensure that you get exactly what you should.
Just because you are in unfamiliar territory you shouldn’t fear for your safety. Just use common sense and employ these tips and have a great trip.
Patrick Evans is the marketing communications coordinator for STA Travel, the largest student and youth travel organization in the world.