How to Stay Safe During Travel

Asako Maruoka's picture

When you travel, do you worry about staying safe? Of course! And while you should be alert and conscious of your safety at all times, there are definite things you can do to make your travels, home, and personal security as safe as possible. Here are 7.

How to Stay Safe During Travel

How to Stay Safe During Travel

Research where you’re going!

Be sure that you’ve arranged your travels to safe places. You can check the traveler alerts and warnings at Ask around, read as much as you can, and make informed choices. 


Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), which is a free service for US citizens and nationals, to notify the US Embassy where you travel that you’ll be there. The benefits of STEP include your ability to:
• Receive important information from the Embassy about safety conditions in your destination country, helping you make informed decisions about your travel plans.
• Help the U.S. Embassy contact you in an emergency, whether natural disaster, civil unrest, or family emergency.
• Help family and friends get in touch with you in an emergency.

Choose your accommodations wisely

While sometimes we prefer to stay in rented homes or apartments, there is much to be said for researching hotels for their safety records (and, obviously, location). Many hotels are still using old-school techniques to manage their security teams. However, more and more are looking for a smart real time and on-line guard tour and mobile patrol system helping security companies. It's comforting to think that security is finally catching up to the times and adapting smart systems, especially considering the advanced risks travelers are faced with today.  
How to Stay Safe During Travel

Don’t act like a tourist

It’s pretty easy to spot tourists – the clothes don’t blend in, they wear too much jewelry or carry large purses, and are walking around looking at everything (this is normal!). Walk with a purpose, dress down and leave your bling at home, and if you need to read a map, sit down and do it, so that you’re not broadcasting that you’re lost or not familiar with an area. Don't fall for scams, and always pay attention and keep your belongings close.
How to Stay Safe During Travel

Social Media – yes or no?

Both at home and while traveling, broadcasting your every move via social media is fun – but maybe not so smart. Keep your plans, locations, etc. to yourself, so that you aren’t targeted (your home being broken into while you’re away, OR being tracked and mugged while traveling, because you just HAD to share that you’d be in a certain place at a certain time). 
How to Stay Safe During Travel

It’s fun to post, but it’s a good idea to create a private facebook group for your trip, and only post there for your friends and family. Share more widely once you get home, especially those gorgeous beach photos...
How to Stay Safe During Travel


Research health conditions before you go (to avoid Zika areas, for instance), but also get the appropriate health and travel insurance for your journey. That way, if you do have a problem, you can take care of it as easily as possible.

Follow the local laws

Follow local driving regulations, as well as laws – they were designed for your own safety. This is particularly applicable to places where you don’t speak the language (again, do your research before), in case you can’t read the road signs, etc. 
How to Stay Safe During Travel

Also, ask around for advice – for instance, tide charts and the possibilities of riptides, areas to avoid, etc. 
How to Stay Safe During Travel

What are your best tips for staying safe during travel?