Top Travel Safety Tips for 2020

Discovering new places and expanding your horizons is what traveling is all about. What if your anxieties prevent you from loosening up and enjoying your adventures? We know that every journey comes with its own set of worries, and the old adage prevention is better than cure rings especially true if you are out to explore. Ensuring some practical safety tips before and while you are on the road might just save you from glitches in your travel plans. In this article, we discuss the common risks faced by all travelers, how you can stay safe irrespective of your traveling style and the 5 best travel safety apps that can ease your navigation for a stress-free and safe travel experience. 

7 Potential travel risks

1. Health risks. Unwanted health issues are a top concern, especially if you are traveling to a country where diet and hygiene is vastly different to what you are used to. Conditions like stomach flu, vomiting and diarrhea can quickly ruin a trip.

2. Scamming. Travelers run the risk of becoming potential targets for scammers, especially if you don’t speak the language or are unfamiliar with the culture.

3. Theft. Nothing will spoil your globe-trotting shenanigans like getting your passport, money or other valuables stolen.

4. Violence. Travelers may find themselves getting caught in a violent crime, particularly if you are unaware of the locations that you are venturing into.

7 common travel risks faced by all travellers
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5. Transportation risks. Transportation problems can be another issue, especially if you are traveling to a country that is notorious for transport accidents, has complicated (or nonexistent) public transport schedules or is known for its traffic congestion.

6. Natural catastrophes. Depending on where you are traveling, disasters such as earthquakes, typhoons, hurricanes and other unforeseen natural disasters could arise.

7. War or political unrest. Although much less common than other risks, depending on the country or region you are traveling to, political risks could pose a problem.

10 safety tips for all travelers

1. Do your research before you travel. First rule of safe travel — don’t be ignorant about where you are going. Make an effort to learn about the country, the political situation, the cultural norms, the safest spots for travellers, safe accommodations to stay and the areas or regions that are best avoided. Head off on your trip with your eyes wide open to avoid surprises.

2. Blend in with your surroundings. Once you’ve done your research, you can start your visit to a new destination as if you were one of the locals. This is not only sound exploration advice, but a good safety tip as well. You’ll make yourself more vulnerable to con artists if you stick out like a sore thumb with your massive backpack, two cameras and confused look on your face. and you will draw much less attention if you make an effort to blend in. You also don’t want to disrespect or offend with improper dress or manners. If you’re visiting places of worship, make sure to dress modestly in order to prevent upsetting the locals.

3. Don’t flash your wealth. Whether this is with cash or expensive gear, showing wealth will only make you more appealing to scammers and pickpockets. Carry a dummy wallet with little cash in it so that you can give this in case you are mugged.

4. Stay safe in transport. Avoid air travel mishaps by frequently checking whether your flight has been rescheduled or cancelled. When using bus services, make sure to go with trusted companies that are have many reviews online. Moreover, try booking your tickets in advance whenever possible, so you don’t end up stranded on remote bus stops with no transport in sight. If you are hiring local taxis, agree upon the fare in advance in case the vehicle doesn’t have a meter. Also, carry a map with you to avoid getting lost.

5. Keep your belongings safe. Avoid carrying too many luggage pieces and invest in a small sturdy lock for your luggage. Try to choose one that doesn’t stand out, so it doesn’t appear as if you have something really valuable inside. If you have a hand-carry with you, never leave it unattended. Buy wallets that have RFID protection to avoid identity theft.

10 travel safety tips for all travellers
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6. Get travel insurance. Regardless of whether you are a natural worrier or not, don’t hesitate to take out travel insurance. Not only will insurance cover any unexpected injuries and trips to the hospital, it can also protect you from theft or loss of personal belongings.

7. Have emergency info at hand. This should entail contact numbers for the local emergency services (police, fire department and ambulance) and for your country’s embassy (if there is one in the place you’re visiting).

8. Manage your money. If you plan on using your debit and credit cards, make sure to notify your bank in advance that you’ll be abroad, or you may find your card blocked for suspicious activity. Research beforehand where are the best spots to exchange your money into local currency as ATMs might be scarce in certain places. When out and about, always carry a small amount of cash with you.

9. Keep track of your health. Make sure to have a supply of any over-the-counter essentials like motion sickness pills, probiotics, pain killers and bug repellants. Consult your doctor and get the proper vaccines before traveling. Ensure that any prescription pills are filled for some days extra than the intended length of your travel.

10. Know how to communicate. Learn the basic emergency phrases like “I need help”, “Where is the nearest hospital/police station/embassy?” etc. in the local language.

Make your final checklist

Before traveling, it is always good to make that last check before you head through the door. Here’s a quick list to help you dot the i’s and cross the t’s.

  • Travel essentials: passport, visas, travel insurance documents, money, credit cards, tickets
  • Copies of all important documents, kept in a different spot than the actual documents
  • Travel itinerary and maps or guide books of all the places you will be visiting
  • A list of all the pertinent contact information, including emergency services, embassies and consulates
  • Accommodation information and reservations
  • Comfortable clothes that are weather and culture appropriate
  • Painkillers, sunscreen, probiotics, insect repellant and other medical must-haves, including any prescription medicines
  • Tech essentials: phone, charger, adapter, headphones etc 
  • Hand-sanitizer, wipes, diapers or other hygiene essentials
  • Female hygiene products if needed

Make sure all of these are safely packed in your suitcases and backpacks, and you can rest assured your travels will be made easier and more enjoyable. 

Regardless of whether you’re traveling on your own, among friends, with your partner or children, these practical tips and tricks will help give you peace of mind and allow you to fully surrender yourself to the joy and excitement of traveling. Now, hit the road!

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  • Katrina Cao
    Katrina Cao
    Travel Expert in South Korea & Japan
  • Cameron Kangaroo
    Cameron Kangaroo
    Travel Expert in Australia
  • Danilo Catania
    Danilo Catania
    Travel Expert in Italy
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6 Comments We welcome your questions or comments to this article. Our travel experts will respond within 48 hours.
Travel Expert in South Korea & Japan
Katrina Cao Travel Expert in South Korea & Japan
Travel Expert in Australia
Cameron Kangaroo Travel Expert in Australia
  1. Add Comment
  1. Kevin Jul 30, 2018 Reply

    I think there is one thing missing in the list. Something for munching! When I was travelling with my friend and he carried snacks, I was making fun of him but later on it was very helpful indeed to kill time, maintain energy and satisfy immediate cravings.

  2. J
    JamesDJones Nov 14, 2018 Reply

    Great article, some points is really helpful. Also, whenever I travel I make sure that the hotel I book has safes in their rooms. It's very important as there is an increase in hotel thefts and you can't leave your valuables in hotel without safes. While traveling solo, safety is the most important thing.

  3. Nosey Jan 29, 2019 Reply

    Essentials gathered into one list. I'd add a passport photo to the final checklist, because if your passport gets stolen while you are abroad, replacing it can turn into a big deal. But having a photo or at least a possibility to just print it will certainly make things easier.

  4. K
    Katie Stanton Mar 10, 2019 Reply

    This is a great post. I am backpacking through Europe this Summer with two of my good girl friends. We want to be prepared for each country and town in order to remain safe and unscathed and your tips and checklist are great points of reference. But aside from the normal pre-trip paranoia, we are concerned about traveling as a female-only group. Do you have any additional advice that mainly apply to women? Also, I have heard mixed reviews about carrying your passport with you at all times. Do you recommend keeping your passport on you while you are out and about or do you feel it is safer to leave in a safe place where you are staying?

    1. Marie Storm Bookmundi Staff Mar 11, 2019 Reply

      Hi Katie!
      Great to know that you are going on an all-girls trip! The article already has a section for women travelers. Do let us know if you have further queries on that. As for passports, we suggest you leave it in your hotel room safe or locked inside your luggage. Carry a copy of it in your day bag instead may you be asked to show it. While on the road, the passport is safer in a money bag that can be worn around your waist. As an extra measure, make two or more copies of the passport ID page and keep it in various places (think luggage, handbag) and with a few people like emergency contact or friends at home. It is also wise to save a PDF copy in your Google Drive or on your phone so that you can access it anywhere. :)

  5. T
    Tofik Charoliya Jul 12, 2019 Reply

    Before start traveling understand the legal and cultural differences of your travel destination. Knowing if your planned destination has gender specific regulations or local customs prior to departure will allow you to pack accordingly and enhance your safety awareness once you reach your destination.