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9 Ways To Travel More Safely

Lee Huffman

Lee is a freelance travel writer and podcast host based in Nashville, Tennessee. He loves to travel with his wife and two children using miles and points. Lee has held the Southwest Companion Pass since 2007 and enjoys being spoiled thanks to his Kimpton Inner Circle status.

Kevin Berry

Kevin Berry works as the content lead for multimedia production at NerdWallet including YouTube, podcasts and social media videos across all financial topics. Previously, he was the Lead Editor for the Travel Rewards team. Prior to NerdWallet, Kevin managed the content and social media teams at NBC Sports in Portland for eight years. His prior experience also includes time as a financial analyst (Comcast) and business system analyst (Nike).

best travel safety tips

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money .

Whether you're traveling within the U.S. or to a foreign country, you should take extra precautions to stay safe. Distractions born of travel — such as taking in the sights, eating delectable food and exploring new cities — can increase your risk.

But it doesn't have to be this way.

These international and domestic travel safety tips will help you reduce your risk so you can enjoy your vacation and avoid trouble as much as feasible. Here's how to travel safely — ranging from actions that can be implemented on the fly and ones that require a bit more preparation.

1. Digitize important documents

Your wallet or purse is filled with important documents that criminals can exploit. Leave unnecessary items at home (like your Social Security card) and make copies of everything else you would need in an emergency, like prescriptions, a backup credit card (so you can at least make a digital purchase in a pinch) and your passport.

Take a picture and upload them to a secure folder on the web. This way, if anything is stolen, you can easily take steps to reduce the damage that criminals can cause. You can easily call the bank to cancel debit and credit cards and request a new ID from the embassy. You can also use a secure digital vault system like 1Password or LastPass to store these documents.

2. Minimize how much cash you carry

It is important to have a little cash when traveling, but most retailers accept credit cards, even abroad. Not having cash minimizes your wallet's value to a thief, and you can dispute unknown charges from a card. Just make sure to carry a card that has no foreign transaction fees when traveling internationally.

3. Look less like a tourist

The more you dress and act like a local, the less risk there is from criminals targeting you as a tourist. Adapting your style to that of the locals, walking with confidence and keeping maps hidden can help you blend in. When using directions on your phone, only look at it briefly while walking.

Further, familiarize yourself with the city and your route before leaving the hotel. If you do need to look up directions for an extended period of time, consider stepping into a store or cafe to do so, rather than staying outside.

4. Share your itinerary with someone you trust

Whether you're traveling alone or with others, share your itinerary with someone you trust back home. Check in once a day to let them know that you've made it to your next destination or back to your hotel. These small steps increase your safety during travel.

It's also wise to create and share a safe word so that family or friends would know if you're in trouble, even if the conversation seems normal to someone else who may be listening. You can take this a step further and consider sharing your live location with a trusted friend or family member via your smartphone.

5. Research travel advisories for destinations

According to the U.S. Department of State, "conditions can change rapidly in a country at any time." Its website keeps a continuous list of travel advisories in destinations around the world. While these advisories don't always mean that you shouldn't travel, they do help make you aware of the potential conditions you'll find when you arrive, or areas to avoid.

Check the State Department website before making travel plans, and again before you depart. Somewhere that may have been safe when you booked your trip may have deteriorated since then.

6. Sign up for Smart Traveler Enrollment Program

The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program , or STEP, is a free service from the State Department that allows citizens traveling or living abroad to receive the latest security updates. The information that you provide also makes it easier for the nearest U.S. Embassy or consulate to contact you in an emergency.

7. Notify credit card companies of your travel plans

Because you may be traveling to cities outside your normal spending patterns, let your bank know your dates and destinations of travel. Many banks allow you to notify them via your online banking portal.

This will minimize the potential of the bank locking your account due to perceived fraudulent transactions, which could leave you stranded.

Additionally, consider bringing a backup credit card.

8. Be careful with public Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi can open your devices and sensitive information to hackers. Using a VPN service is one of the best ways we know of to stay safe in an airport, when exploring your destination or at your hotel. VPN services create a secure connection to protect your personal information when browsing the internet or using web-connected apps on an open connection.

Security.org , a security product review site, conducted a study in June 2020 and found that just 31% of U.S. internet users use a VPN service for public Wi-Fi connections. That means almost 70% of public Wi-Fi users are at risk of being hacked.

9. Get travel insurance

To improve both your physical and financial safety, consider purchasing a travel insurance policy ahead of your trip. This safety net is helpful in avoiding out-of-pocket expenses for emergency medical treatment, trip delays, cancellations or interruptions, lost luggage or evacuations.

Most policies will reimburse travelers for unused accommodations, transit or activities that were nonrefundable but had to be canceled for a covered reason. Similarly, if your luggage is lost by an airline or train company, you’ll likely get reimbursed through the baggage protection on your policy. Plus, if your policy has emergency medical coverage, you won’t be hit with a huge bill for medical attention overseas (where your U.S.-based health insurance is likely not useful).

Some credit cards come with built-in protections, whereas others don’t — in the case of the latter, you will need to purchase a stand-alone policy .

If finding ways to travel safely is your goal …

Now that we've shared some tips on how to travel safely, you can travel with more confidence and less risk. Though implementing most of these tips has little or no cost, they may take time to set up. Investing the time to increase your travel safety will be well worth it if you can avoid dangerous situations that can interrupt or ruin your next trip.

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best travel safety tips

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Home » Budget Travel » travel safety tips

36 Crucial Travel Safety Tips (from Years of Getting into Trouble)

Backpacking the world is one hell of a rollercoaster. 99% of the time, backpackers are able to stay safe while traveling the world. But every now and again, something goes wrong.

Again, it’s nearly always possible to avoid disaster if you think smart and act fast. Safety while traveling is often taken for granted but it really is pretty simple to keep yourself safe on the road.

One of my  top travel safety tips  is simple:  prepare yo’ ass.

So, how do you prepare yo’ ass for worst case scenarios?  Arm yourself with knowledge,  my friends.

Using my experiences, I can help you travel the world safely. I’ve assembled a comprehensive list of 36 of the best safety tips for traveling so that you may avoid the worst.

I have been on the road for over ten years and, over the course of my travels, I have been a part of more than a few misadventures. Broken bones, horrible infections, natural disasters, political fallouts; you name one, and I have probably been a part of.

Learn from my mistakes everyone – these tips for traveling safely could possibly save your life.

best travel safety tips

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36 Top Travel Safety Tips

Bonus: how to build a kick-ass first aid kit, how to travel safely, faq about the best travel safety tips, final travel safety tips and thoughts.

Follow these essential travel safety tips to ensure that your trip is a smooth one!

1. Wear your fucking helmet

a girl taking a selfie wearing a helmet as she rides on the back of a scooter.

The Broke Backpacker is supported by you . Clicking through our links may earn us a small affiliate commission, and that's what allows us to keep producing free content 🙂 Learn more .

I’m actually not going to tell you to not drink and drive; because if you do drink and drive, you won’t listen to me anyway.

I’m gonna keep this real simple – protect yourself and protect your trip of a lifetime by wearing a helmet, especially when you have been drinking.

I’m a good driver. I’ve driven in lots of crazy countries around the world. It doesn’t matter how good you are; if you ride or drive everywhere, you will eventually have an accident.

I’ve come off a motorbike three times. On two occasions, I was absolutely fine. On the only occasion when I wasn’t wearing a helmet in Thailand, I cut my face up and had to get nine stitches above my eye.

Yes, some ways to travel safely include things you should be doing at home, too. Wear your helmet, it could save your life. Traffic accidents are still the number one killer of backpackers.

2. Beware the mixing of intoxicants and water

people diving into water

The number two cause of death for backpackers? Drowning .

Every year, on every continent, some backpacker will get drunk or stoned out of their mind and then decide it’s a fantastic idea to go swimming.

I get it and I’ve done it, being in the sea whilst smashed is great fun but you have to take some precautions. I don’t go deep or swim off beaches that might have currents I don’t know about. Be aware of the added risk when you are drunk and avoid swimming.

3. Stop using back pockets

This is probably the first vacation safety tip that I ever learned because it’s kinda true. Most pickpockets have the easiest time lifting your wallet from your back pocket. It’s convenient for them because your back is turned and you probably won’t even feel them doing it.

Just keep your wallet and any valuables in your front pockets. They’re more within your field of view and hug your legs more closely. Pickpockets will have a much harder time getting into these.

4. Pack appropriately

Amazon Basics Packing Cubes and Eastpak Small bags - hand luggage only

Don’t take what you pack for granted – bringing the right gear is a serious safety tip for travelers. You need to make sure that you have the proper equipment for whatever it is you’re doing on your backpacking trip.

If you’re going trekking in Nepal, you should probably bring a good quality warm jacket and a solid pair of boots , at the very least. If you’re going to Colombia for a holiday, our personal travel safety tip would be to pack lightly and to avoid bringing anything overly valuable with you.

Pack for what you intend to do on any given adventure. Make sure you have everything you need and that the gear will serve you well. Don’t bring an ice ax to Indonesia – bring flip flops and a surfboard.

Be sure to check our complete backpacking list before venturing out yourself.

best travel safety tips

Wanna know how to pack like a pro? Well for a start you need the right gear….

These are packing cubes for the globetrotters and compression sacks for the  real adventurers – these babies are a traveller’s best kept secret. They organise yo’ packing and minimise volume too so you can pack MORE.

Or, y’know… you can stick to just chucking it all in your backpack…

5. Know the exit

I picked this up from a Bourne film but it’s still a top travel safety tip – know your way out of a building.

When I do feel like I’m in a dodgy situation, I’ve already mapped out a retreat plan. When I sleep in a new room, I make sure I know the options for getting out of that room in case I awaken to find the building besieged by zombies.

6. Invest in a good backpack

Girl smiles for a photo in the streets of Tokyo.

When you’re on the road, your backpack is your house – it holds all of your personal belongings and maybe even a secret or two. Thus, you should treat it just like a regular home.

Your backpack needs to strong and secure. It needs to be able to withstand the elements and protect your valuables from invaders.

Would you leave the front to your house wide open? For that matter, would you live in a house that is falling apart? If you want to travel safely, make sure you renovate your travel house.

Buy a quality backpack for traveling . Make sure the zippers are strong or if they can be locked; check to see if the material is tough and if it’ll resist attacks; see if there are hidden pockets for stashing stuff. A backpack will be one of the best investments that you can make in your backpacking career. For the past while Nomatic has been one of the best backpack companies, they are at the forfront of the new generation of travel packs.

7. Hide your cash

How to hide money header image

This is one of my biggest tips for backpacking in countries with a high crime rate.

I’ve hidden money in all kinds of different places on my travels. Once, I sewed hidden pockets into my jeans. Another time, I hid money in between two photos laminated together within a photo book.

My favorite method to hide money is a simple belt with a plastic buckle, that can go through Airport scanners without setting them off, and a zip on the inside of the belt.

Usually, when you do encounter problems traveling, it is going to be focused around one thing – money . Yep, money is the root of all evil.

Travel safety and money go hand in hand. Avoid flashing your cash and as well as hiding the bulk of your money in a special security belt, keep your wallet light so that if you do have to give it up you aren’t going to lose out on too much.

8. Beware the sudden appearance of beautiful strangers…

Or even average-looking strangers.

The world is full of truly lovely people but every now and again you meet someone who is just too damn nice. And sometimes these ‘too damn nice’ people are looking to make money out of you somehow. Part of The Broke Backpacker Manifesto is to be kind to strangers, but don’t compromise your strength either.

They may simply try to sell you something. Or, they may rob you. Keep your wits about you, especially if you are drinking, and keep an eye on your stuff.

9. Do you really want to drive?

Will with a car on the beach in New Zealand

In some countries, it’s just not worth the extra effort to have your own car. God knows places like South Korea would be totally safe if it wasn’t for the maniacal drivers on the road. Don’t even get me started on driving somewhere hectic like the Dominican Republic either.

Whilst we love a good road trip, sometimes the best road safety tip when traveling is to just avoid it altogether. It’s just not worth the hassle and the stress will probably shave years off your lifespan.

Besides, most countries worth visiting have decent public transport that can get you to where you need to go. For all other instances, hitchhiking is totally safe and actually very effective!

10. Keep your stuff locked up

keeping your stuff safe locks

When I was younger and traveling around the tropics, I didn’t give a fuck where I put my stuff or if it was safe. I just threw everything under my bed and went straight to the bars. It’s no wonder that I barely returned with anything besides my backpack and the tattered clothes on my back.

Shit gets knicked all of the time. It can be as vital as a mobile phone or as insignificant as a t-shirt. I’ve had more than 3 phones and countless articles of clothing stolen before.

As you travel more, you need to invest in more security measures. This could mean buying a more secure backpack or possibly a money belt .

One of the best international travel safety tips I can give is to invest in a solid padlock. Most hostels and other forms of accommodation have lockers these days, which are great places to put your stuff. A simple travel padlock is often strong enough to deter petty thieves. These are very inexpensive, too.

11. Or keep it on your person

When you need to leave the hostel with your shit, you obviously can’t lock it up (unless you chain it to yourself like Jacob Marley).

Don’t worry – it’s not like you’re going to be suddenly jumped the moment you step outside. This just means you need to keep everything in your clutches.

Most bags are stolen when the owner is unaware. Thieves lift bags from under tables, from the bus while you’re sleeping, and even from the person himself following a scam. In more extreme situations, someone may even do a drive-by on a scooter and snatch your bag that way (like they do in Cambodia).

When you’re carrying valuables with you, keep that shit on you at all times. Keep bags on your person itself and don’t let it out of your sight. Unless they are put in a safe hold or something, they are fair game.

Personally, I always have a leg through a backpack strap when it’s not on my back. That way, if someone does try to steal it, they’ll either alert me or face too much difficulty in the act.

12. Be aware of gender issues

Girl in a dress and headscarf petting two white camels

As much as I hate to admit it, gender inequality is still a problem in the modern world. Women are treated differently than men, for good and bad, and are subject to different problems. Depending on what country you’re in and how the feminine genome is treated there, these problems could be minor or magnified.

Outside of the aggressive Spaniard or drunken German, traveling in Europe may not be a huge ordeal for solo women. But visit somewhere like Morocco or Guatemala though, and being a girl could suddenly be much more difficult.

Traveling as a woman requires extra attention and street smarts . You’ll need to be more cautious and use your instincts to avoid being put into a potentially dangerous situation. Listen to as many tips for solo female travelers as you can and read up on gender dynamics in individual nations.

We would like to take a moment to remind our female readers that no country should be off-limits to them. Yes, it takes more effort to travel as a girl but that is no reason to not travel at all. Lots of women travel on their own and have a great time – you should too.

13. Have smart digital habits

a girl working on her laptop in a cafe with a view of rice fields in Bali behind her

You should be just as protective of your data as your physical items when traveling. This isn’t so much for personal safety as security for your most important data. If you’re going to be creating a lot of digital files – say you’re taking pictures or writing wherever you go – a computer accident could be disastrous. If you’re a digital nomad or freelance photographer , this could lead to the loss of work.

Be sure to backup all of your vital data when traveling. Hard drives are a great accessory to have and the solid state ones are, in particular, hearty. Consider investing in some Cloud storage while you’re at it as this type can’t actually break (it’s all online). Google Drive offers online storage for good prices.

Online and digital fraud is a little less common. Regardless though, be sure to establish secure internet access while traveling and to avoid shady “free WiFi” spots. Use the wrong connection and someone could steal vital information while you’re browsing the web. If you’re traveling somewhere like China, have a VPN installed on your computer.

14. When in Rome, do as the Romans

mubarak village pakistan

One of the best international travel safety tips I can give you is to blend in . Act local, look local, be local…

This is of course sometimes laughably impossible, but when I am traveling in countries like Pakistan or Venezuela I will dress like a local. If you decide to don the national dress, this can often work as a pretty good icebreaker.

Sometimes, I pretend I am ‘007 on a top-secret mission to rescue a Norwegian (I like blondes) princess from a far-flung land. All I have to do is avoid detection…

In all seriousness though, blending in will help you be culturally sensitive and you will attract less attention as well. If you’re visiting a country that dresses conservatively even in the worst humidity and heat, then suck it up. You need to respect the local customs and dress that way too.

Wandering through the streets of Laos topless or in a bikini is disrespectful and you will stand out like a sore thumb. Doing this in somewhere like India (Goa ain’t India folks!) is just plain stupid.

15. Pack a first aid kit

best travel safety tips

When you’re in the mountains, it can be tough to find decent medical supplies. Having a well-stocked first aid kit complete with bandages, medicine, and antiseptic wash is a safety tip worth investing in.

I’ve always traveled with a first aid kit and although I only end up using it a couple of times a year – usually for just minor cuts and bruises – it is well worth having in an emergency. For example, my little first aid kit has…

  • Defeated a thousand blisters
  • Made a sling for a friend who broke their arm in a rock fall, we then had to evacuate him
  • Stitched up my own arm when I couldn’t get to a hospital
  • Cleaned and dressed ten or more friends who have come off motorbikes (on separate occasions)

Honestly, a proper first aid kit is well worth investing in. You can buy a pre-assembled first aid kit – but be sure to pimp it out. There’s a full list of everything you should include further down.

packable travel medical kit

Things go wrong on the road ALL THE TIME. Be prepared for what life throws at you.

Buy an AMK Travel Medical Kit before you head out on your next adventure – don’t be daft!

16. Leave with only what you need

When you’re going out exploring for the day, or out for a crazy night, you should only take what you need with you. Anything you have on yourself is going to have the potential of getting stolen. So, why put extra valuables at risk when you don’t need to?

This means taking out only a certain amount of money or credit cards with you and leaving the rest at home. That way, if you are robbed, you won’t have to worry about losing everything . It’s like the old saying goes: “don’t put all of your eggs in the same basket.”

Not having valuables might even keep you safer too! Another added benefit of doing this is that you’ll be setting a budget for yourself. When the cash runs out, time to head back home.

17. Be careful of shady ATMs

shady atms while traveling safety tips

ATM fraud is one of the oldest tricks in the book. It goes like this:

  • “Ah shit man, I’m outta cash. You think I can use that ATM over there?” (Points to a wreck of an ATM outside of convenience store.)
  • “I dunno man, but the girls want beers soon.” (They walk over to use it.)
  • “What’s the worst that could happen?” (Uses said ATM.”

Next morning, our heroic duo wake up to find there have been several unauthorized transactions on their cards as the machine they used was jerry-rigged to steal customer information. Tough break fellas.

The other problem with this hypothetical situation is that these two guys probably used the ATM in the middle of the night. If they were alone on the streets, they could be asking for trouble. Muggers love to hang around ATMs and rob unwitting withdrawers because, hey, the cash is coming straight from the source.

Only use ATMs at established branches and banks. Try to use the ones that are actually inside the buildings as these usually have cameras.

18. Check in

backpacking colorado rocky mountains roaming ralph photography

You remember that movie – 127 Hours ? The one about the guy who had various delicious drinks stored in the boot of his car and then got his arm stuck under a rock. Yeah, that guy lost his arm.

You remember that other movie, Into The Wild ? The cult backpacker movie about a guy starving to death in a van in Alaska.

Both of those movies have one thing in common; neither of the heroes opted to tell anybody where they are going.

I get it – it’s romantic, it’s mysterious, they are brave mountain men walking paths nobody knows or could possibly understand. Except, it’s also fucking stupid.

If you are going on a trek or off on an adventure, tell somebody where you are going and when you expect to be back. That way, if you are several days (or weeks) overdue, somebody will eventually come looking for you. This travel safety tip might just save your life…check in when you’re on the road.

Yes, we fully appreciate that when you’re having such a great time it can be quite hard to remember to check in. Well, thankfully technology has come to the rescue. There are now, awesome apps that do the checking in for you by automatically tracking your travels so your loved ones back home know exactly where you are.

19. Use rideshares

An American flag and yellow NYC taxi cab

Taxis fucking suck sometimes – the drivers are mad, the cars sometimes look like they came from a warzone, and fairs can be ridiculous. I could give you heaps of road safety tips for traveling with these nightmares but don’t really have the time to do so.

Much easier is suggesting that you just stick to rideshares . They’re convenient, affordable, and, best of all, provide safety measures like tracking, registration, and customer support. Gone are the days where you had to get the driver’s information before jumping in the car. Hello to the future!

Using rideshares is also one of my top tips for solo female travelers. With these services, you can avoid creepy male drivers altogether and even have a way of reporting sexual harassment. Honestly, once you start using apps like Uber or Lyft, it’s hard to go back.

20. Don’t eat everything

Octopus being fried on the street in Thailand (asian food)

It can be tempting to gorge on all the delicious and exotic food you’re about to be presented, especially in places like Vietnam or Spain. Before jumping in the deep end though and eating without inhibition, you may want to consider if the food is safe at all.

Some countries don’t follow the same health codes as Western ones do. In these instances, foodborne illnesses are much more common and these can really ruin your time abroad.

Granted, not every restaurant is going to make you sick but our best travel safety advice would be to pay attention to hygiene . If a place looks dirty, the chances of you getting ill are higher. If food appears to have been left out all day, God knows what germs it’s picked up.

Pay attention to what you’re eating and double check to see if it’s clean. Trust us when we say Delhi Belly is never fun.

21. Know Critical Diet Information in the Local Language

Prague restaurants

For those traveling with a serious allergy or a restriction like celiac disease (where even crumbs of gluten can make them sick for days), taking care ahead of time is really important.

In those cases, I suggest picking up a translation card. There are many on the web, but for gluten-free travelers, I recommend fellow travel blogger Jodi Ettenberg’s gluten-free restaurant cards . She has traveled with celiac disease for over a decade, and has really detailed restaurant cards using local food names, and making sure to communicate the issue with cross-contamination. They’re the most detailed cards I’ve seen on the web and you have your pick of a dozen languages (so far).

For other allergies, there are options at Select Wisely. They’ve got nut allergy cards , and milk and dairy allergy cards , among others.

22. Party Safely

A group of friends smiles for a photo in a Tokyo club.

There is a party to be had in every country. It’s hard not to get lured in with cheap local beer and depending on the country, some pretty cheap drugs. Before you know it, the room is swaying and you probably should have stopped drinking two Chang’s ago.

Alcohol, drugs and staying safe while traveling do not mix well. Know your limits, when to stop, and when to go home. If you are on a mission to get smashed then do it with someone you trust. Your new friends you just met at the bar probably aren’t gonna be reliable when you are wasted.

23. Don’t assume that water is ok to drink

Water is the giver of life, the holiest of substances, the stuff that supposedly gets you high according to Mad Max . Drink from the wrong source though, and your life could be in very real danger.

While backpacking in Malaysia , a friend of mine drank from a hose that appeared to perfectly normal. 4 hours later he was puking his guts up in the streets and was helpless in bed for 36 hours. Another mate drank from a tap that was purportedly fine according to some locals at a Nepalese guest house he was staying at. He had giardia for 4 months afterward.

Moral of the story: know where the water comes from and if it’s TRULY clean. Better yet, have a Grayl Geopress with you so you can purify it, no matter how clean it supposedly is (that’s what I do).

Whilst drinking water from plastic bottles is unavoidable sometimes, I really don’t like using them. They create unnecessary waste and expenses.

Try using water purification and carry around a travel water bottle when traveling. These aren’t essential vacation safety tips per se, but the Earth will be a better place without the extra plastic (that’s just as important).

backpacker drinking using grayl geopress filter bottle

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Single-use plastic bottles are a MASSIVE threat to marine life. Be a part of the solution and travel with a filter water bottle. Save money and the environment!

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24. Be observant

a cow walks past a colourful shop selling prints in pushkar, india

Keep that head on a swivel! Lots of bad situations can be seen coming and can be avoided simply by looking around.

If you’re walking around a dangerous city, like Cape Town, and the area is starting to look dodgy, it very well could be. If you’re travelling in Nicaragua and the streets to get crowded with angry mobs, the revolution may be starting.

Moments like could turn out really bad for an innocent bystander but they can also be easily avoided. Just keep your head up and actually pay attention to what’s going on around you. Honestly, this is one of the best travel safety tips that there is.

25. Be with other people during high-risk situations`

hiking safely while traveling cape town

Those situations that we just mentioned in the previous section – a lot of those can be pointed out by a concerned friend. Traveling with multiple people means you’ll have more eyes, more balanced opinions, and more overall awareness. (Unless you’re a stag party, in which case, you’re just fucked.)

Larger groups also appear more intimidating to possible assailants. Thieves are much less likely to target larger groups for fear of getting caught. Like the wilds of the savannah, no lone predator wants to take on an entire herd.

Not everyone travels with a group though, some people prefer the lone wolf style. It’s totally understandable. But when you’re in a potentially high-risk situation, like partying at night or going on a big trek, having friends can be a good thing.

A good tip for traveling alone for the first time is to join a group when needed. It may not sound ideal, but they may save your ass.

26. Know about local scams

Every country has their own favorite scams and tricks to rob visitors. Argentina loves the “ketchup on the backpack” trick” Italian thugs play the “you have to pay to get into this church” card. The list goes on. There are tons of country-specific safety travel tips that we can’t all mention here.

It would definitely pay to learn about the most notorious scams whenever you enter a new country. Doing so will allow you to recognize and obviously avoid them.

Do some research online or ask the staff at your lodge. They’ll usually be more than happy to share some holiday travel safety tips. They hate scammers just as much anyone else.

27. Don’t advertise valuables

Nic taking a photo on Mam Tor mountain in the peak district, UK

Walking around with a shiny watch, a dazzling necklace, or a brand new camera is like having a spotlight on yourself. These items shout “look at how awesome and rich I am!” For thieves, it’s practically an invitation.

Listen. I understand that some of these things may feel mandatory – maybe you want to show off that new wedding ring on Instagram while visiting Spain. Others may actually be necessary – photojournalists have to use their camera for work, eventually. Just try not to show off things like these irrationally.

Keep your valuables hidden until you absolutely need them. Only have your camera out if you intend to use it. Travel with a group of people so you guys can watch each other’s backs.

On that note, we mentioned blending in earlier. If you don’t see the locals wearing expensive stuff, then you shouldn’t either.

28. Have copies of important documents

One of the absolute worst things that could happen to you while traveling is losing a passport. You’ll be unable to do a lot of things without one, like booking some accommodations or even leaving the country, for that matter. God forbid you’re in a country where crooked police officers ask to see your passport constantly, the absence of which usually leads to a solicited bribe.

Whilst you can receive a replacement passport from your nearest embassy, it pays to have some copies handy . With copies of your passport and other vital documents, you’ll still be able to go about your business. Travel safety tips abound but this is one of the classics.

Carrying a copy of your passport also allows leaving the original safely back in your hotel room. Best to keep it there away from potential thieves.

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29. Be confident but not cocky

Joe on a scooter with a surfboard and Osprey Farpoint 40 - Hand lugagge only

Predators almost always target the meek first; the timid travelers, the shakey tourists, the ones who look lost and helpless. They prey upon weakness and, as opportunists, will take every advantage if it means a payday.

One of the most spouted travel safety tips is to always look confident and like you know what you’re doing. This makes you look more intimidating and less like a potential victim. When it comes to staying safe while traveling alone, looking assured is even more important.

Here’s the thing – just because you act like you own the place doesn’t mean you do. A bloated sense of invulnerability can be just as dangerous as a complete lack thereof.

A friend of mine was walking through Johannesburg, South Africa, in the middle of the day, with his camera. He thought he was being smart, by traveling before dark, and was walking without a care in the world. He was jumped by six guys who eventually made of with his wallet and phone.

In conclusion, don’t be blinded by too much confidence. Remember to be vigilant and smart.

30. Listen to your gut

At the end of the say, no amount of tips for traveling safely can match the power that is your intuition. Humans have been using this for years to sniff out potentially dangerous situations – some people are just more in touch with it than others.

When it comes to staying safe while traveling, alone or with a group, you need to be able to listen to your instincts. If something feels funny, then there’s a good chance it probably is .

So if that street food looks like it’ll make you sick, it’s ok to avoid it. If that guy seems a little too friendly, then he may not have the best intentions. Even if you think you may be overreacting, it’s still better to be safe than sorry.

31. Study the immediate geography

man standing in front of graffiti sign in brazil

Getting lost sucks, be it on the way back to your hostel or in the woods somewhere. If you’re in a really precarious situation, like the wilderness or a dodgy part of town, things could go south quick.

To avoid getting lost, study your immediate surroundings . Become familiar with nearby landmarks, like a tower, a mountain, or a museum, and use them as reference points. Know possible routes and where the nearest public transport lines are.

Knowing where you’re going also makes you look more confident and like a local. You’ll glide right past any thieves as they’ll be looking for people who look more helpless.

For people who frequently move around for work, this is a really useful business travel safety tip. Work trips tend to be short, which means you never really know any given area well. Take the time to actually study your surroundings and you’ll be more secure.

32. Talk to people

will laughing with hunzair women in hunza valley

We can only learn so much by surfing the web. If we’re being honest, pulling information directly from the internet may actually be painting an exaggerated picture of certain countries. (Wait, fake news ? )

When it comes to getting a real feeling for a place, sometimes you just need to go there and ask. Talking to actual people of a country is sometimes the best way of really knowing if somewhere is safe or not.

Case and point – Pakistan. Most Western media outlets paint this country as a hellhole that only harbors terrorist groups. If you were to ask anyone who’s actually been to Pakistan though, you’d probably be surprised to hear that it’s actually a very safe country.

In these situations, it also pays to know a bit of the local lingo. People will be much more receptive to if actually try to communicate with them using their language. Even if it’s super broken, they will still appreciate you and open up more easily.

33. Know the local emergency number

We all learned how to call the police or ambulance as a child. It was 911 if you grew up in the USA/ Canada, 999 in the UK, or 000 in Australia.

As you’ve probably already gathered, those are all different numbers. Yes, every country has its own emergency number . So if you’re caught in a sticky situation in Belize , dialing 911 isn’t going to help you much.

When you enter a new country, learn the local emergency contact number . Dial the number and actually check to see if your phone can call it. You may need to use it in the future.

34. Know before you go

guy with a rain jacket on in south east asia

Knowledge is power.

Planning a trip is exciting and it’s well worth throwing a quick bit of research into any specific risks you might encounter in the region you are traveling to. Don’t be a fool in thinking no research is a good idea. There are lots of safety travel tips that you’ll only discover on your own.

I guess it’s cool to rock up somewhere new and be constantly amazed by new shit because you haven’t done any research and don’t know what to expect. The thing is though, arriving in a new country totally naïve or oblivious to the culture, religion, language, and customs is just plain risky.

Before setting off on your adventure, hop on your country’s foreign office page and check out the travel safety tips for whatever country you’re off to. Every country has different safety concerns.

In South America , for example, a lot of robberies happen on buses. In Thailand, on the other hand, one of the bigger problems is corrupt police planting drugs on backpackers.

Knowing the scams and dangers before you arrive in the country will make you more confident to decline an offer that sounds too good to be true.

35. Be mindful of your health

Backpacker helping an old man to harvest some vegetables.

Not all of us are as young we used to be. Hell, there was a time when I could drink all day and eat as much fatty food as I wanted without fear of repercussions.

As we once-spry backpackers become older though, we need to be more mindful of our health. This means exercising more often, being conscious of what we eat, and not overdoing it at the bars.

There are some issues that every traveler, regardless of their age, should be aware of as well. A big one is disease . Some countries suffer from some major ones, like yellow fever in Peru, HIV in South Africa, and malaria in India. Two-stepping with any of these could lead to a major derailment in your plans and life.

Before you do hit the road, be sure to check in with a travel nurse to find out if you need any vaccinations . It’s also worth familiarising yourself with some of the most common travel illnesses faced by backpackers.

36. Buy some god-damn insurance

I’ve had to claim on my insurance a few times – once for $17,000 worth of medical bills – and every time it has been a lifesaver. My number one safety tip is, do not travel without insurance.

One of the best travel insurance providers is  SafetyWing  Insurance. These guys act like international health care providers and offer a subscription service that can cover the time you’re abroad.

Month to month payments, no lock-in contracts, and no itineraries required: that’s the exact kind of insurance digital nomads and long-term traveller types need. Cover yo’ pretty little self while you live the DREAM!

best travel safety tips

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From bloody wounds to horrific hangovers, a first aid kit should be in every traveler’s packing list. Investing in a decent first aid kit is well worth doing and when you get your first blister hiking, you’ll be thankful you packed a first aid kit.

If you’re not wandering into the wilderness it’s likely you’ll get by on a basic traveler’s first aid kit, or what I like to call my ultimate first aid kit. Not sure what to put in your ULTIMATE first aid kit?

Never fear amigos I’ve put together a list, for what to pack in your ultimate first aid kit!

best travel tips

First Aid Essentials

  • Tape – for blisters
  • Band-aids – for minor cuts
  • Steristrips – to close up open wounds
  • Gauze Dressing Pads – endlessly useful
  • Gauze roll bandage – for broken arms
  • Rehydration sachets – for heat stroke and dehydration
  • Painkillers – Ibuprofen is best for reducing swelling
  • Imodium – for the cursed traveler’s diarrhea
  • Antiseptic cleaning wipes – get clean
  • Antiseptic gel – keep clean
  • Mosquito repellent – aim for 40% DEET
  • Antibiotics – I carry Amoxicillin
  • Scissors, needle, and thread – always helpful

My advice for traveling safely – buy a travel first aid kit that comes with pretty much everything you need. You just need to pimp it out with the pills, mosquito repellent, and rehydration sachets .

Besides a first aid kit, the smartest thing you can pack to keep yourself safe traveling is a head torch . I’ve been carrying my head torch for years now and it’s saved my life on more than one occasion. Being lost in the dark is not fun and phone batteries die when you’re in the mountains.

I recommend a good quality LED Headlamp . If you pay less than $15 expect poor battery and it to break fast. Spend a bit of cash (around $20) and you can find one that is tough, bright and last’s forever.

Travel safety can be broken down into two areas – protecting yourself and protecting your gear. Let me run you through some of my best travel safety tips for keeping yourself, and your stuff, safe.

How to Protect Yourself

hitchike in moalboal

Use your common sense:

Keeping yourself safe while traveling is largely using your common sense. When you’re liquored up with a bunch of new mates it is so easy to be convinced to do something stupid – like climbing scaffolding, smoking outside a police station or swimming in a fast-moving river in the dark.

I’ve found myself in all of those situations whilst traveling and on those occasions, I’ve known that it is a bad idea. If you know it’s a bad idea, don’t do it – screw the peer pressure and just walk away.

Self Defence:

If you get attacked by someone fight back, hard. Your life could depend on it. Once you have them down, run somewhere public and get the heck out of dodge. If you’re touched inappropriately or feel threatened in public, make a scene and draw attention.

Someone will always come to help or stand up for you. This is commonplace in many cultures such as India and the Middle East. If you have to fight, go for the throat and eyes.

The best way to minimize the risk while traveling is to plan. If you’re hiking in the hills for the day take your head-torch – if it gets dark you will need it. If you get lost hiking; stop, sit and wait. Someone will find you or cross your path eventually.

Decided to head out partying? Arrange a place and a time to meet your friends if you get lost. If you are taking drugs or getting drunk, write the address of your hostel on your hand or, even better, take a business card from the hostel front desk.

Trust me, there is nothing fun about wandering around late at night (or early in the morning) looking for your hostel when you have no idea where it is or what it’s even called…

How to Protect Your Stuff

backpacker wearing a helmet smiles on a rental bike ready for adventure

Pack smart:

Packing is one of those things you’re gonna get good at when you start traveling. It doesn’t mean that is easy to figure out what you should bring and what you shouldn’t. I mean, you probably don’t need your birth certificate and that family treasured ring passed down to you- those should probably stay at home.

Do not take anything you cannot afford to lose. If you are mugged, you should not have anything on you that is worth ‘fighting to the death’ for.

Protecting valuables:

If you’re bringing valuables with you (cameras, phones, laptops etc) keep these on you while in transit as much as possible. Don’t leave your laptop bag to ‘save your seat’ while you run to the toilet on your overnight train – this might be fine nine times out of ten but eventually, your stuff will get stolen.

If you are heading on a trip where you might be taking to the ocean or rivers, I recommend getting hold of a dry-bag . Keep your electronics in this at all times whilst you are on the water.

Prepare for the worst, ensure your stuff:

A lot of backpackers these days take laptops, cameras, and other valuables on their travels. My biggest piece of travel safety advice for you guys is to properly insure your stuff. If you do get robbed, it is crucial that you get a police report – this will make your insurance claim quick and painless rather than a massive pain in the ass. Make sure your travel insurance covers for your gadgets.

Still have some questions? No problem! We’ve listed and answered the most commonly asked questions below. Here’s what people usually want to know:

What is the best travel tip?

Prepare your trip! Spontaneity is great, but if you’re in a foreign country it’s essential to plan your trip ahead to stay safe.

How do I keep my belongings safe on my travels?

Investing in a moneybelt will keep your emergency cash safe, but for everything that you’ll leave behind, make sure to bring a good padlock to keep your stuff safe from thieves while you’re out exploring.

How do females stay safe during travel?

Female solo travel comes with extra dangers. Make sure to listen to your gut, keep your friends and family informed about your plans, and don’t walk around at night by yourself.

What is a safety tip that most travellers forget about?

Carrying a first-aid kit with you! You might not think you’ll need it on the road, or there will always be someone near to help you, but playing it safe is better than being sorry.

And so there you have it, amigos! Hopefully, my travel safety tips will arm you with the info you need to stay safe while traveling.

Backpacking around the world is an incredible experience and you will have the trip of a lifetime. Don’t jeopardize it with foolish decisions – get yourself back from your adventures in one piece, take necessary precautions to keep yourself safe, and remember you have people who love you waiting for you back home.

The world is a constantly changing place and some of our advice for traveling safely may be more or less necessary at a given moment. If we missed some valuable bits, please share your own tips for traveling safely! We’d love to hear how you travel and what you’ve learned from your experiences.

Otherwise…peace, love, and happy traveling guys!

Disclaimer: Safety conditions change all over the world on a daily basis. We do our best to advise but this info may already be out of date. Do your own research. Enjoy your travels!

best travel safety tips

Elina Mattila

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28 Comments

Great tips for safe travels! Wearing a helmet is a no-brainer for motorbike adventures, and the personal story about the importance of helmets in Thailand really drives the point home. The reminder about the dangers of mixing intoxicants and water is crucial, especially when it comes to swimming. The advice on securing belongings, from using front pockets to investing in a quality backpack with hidden compartments, is practical and thoughtful. And hiding cash in creative ways adds an extra layer of security. Overall, these tips provide a comprehensive guide to staying safe on the road. Safe travels, everyone!

“Learn before you go” is literally the best advice! So many people just wanted to go “insert name of the country” without knowing ANYTHING about it.

Those are beneficial suggestions In this regard! Although you may stand out as a foreigner in certain nations, I Agree; it is preferable to seem like a savvy ex-pat or abroad worker rather than a lost tourist.

Hi, my self mridul. I am from India. I had that Auto that you have pictured. Believe me, the safety was ZERO but it was fun to ride in my village.

Sounds like a wild ride, Mridul.

Regarding bad water when I hike I carry a filled prescription labeled of Flagel to treat giardia. Just get it filled prior to travel and gave it available if needed anytime.

I’m from South Africa and it’s my first time travelling to Europe. Pretty handy tips you got there. Thanks a lot!

You’re welcome! Hope you enjoy Europe!

nice job, thanks a lot 🙂

Thanks for visiting!

Great read! Thank you for sharing this, very helpful and informative! 🙂

Hello! New to the travel community and hopefully soon to be starting my own blog while I backpack the world full time. I am curious, is there any way to pay for travel insurance month by month? All of the upfront all at once cost is a bit large for me.

Safety Wings offers month-to-month payment but the insurance is a bit limited compared to others. It mostly covers medical expenses.

Safety Wings offers month-to-month payment plans!

These are detailed tips and they are very helpful. Perhaps some are often taken for granted. We do not know what the future holds and I agree that we must invest in insurance.

So great to hear stories like this. Hope more anxious travellers can be inspired by your experience!

Something to think about.. if you’re ever forced to fight for your life and you do come out on the winning side it might behoove you to get the hell out of town and not give the local cops the whole story..I had a few times when I had to use my hunting knife and didn’t stick around to see if my attacker was ok.. Once you reach that point your attacker’s problems are the least of your problems.. To be perfectly honest I don’t know if one of my attackers lived to attack anyone else or not and I don’t particularly care anymore. That was over 30 years ago and I am never ever, under any circumstances going back to do any sort of follow up to check on his well being.. Sometimes it’s just better to let sleeping dogs lie.. This happened when I too was drunk out of my mind, but I certainly remember why I had to defend myself. If I hadn’t done what I did when I did it I probably wouldn’t be around to tell anyone about it.. I’ve never been back to the town and have gone 1000 miles out of my way to avoid said town just on the off chance that it was an unsolved mystery and a still open case. I’m not quite prepared to be made to account for that day. 😉

Marty just killed a guy.

Great tips from an experienced backpacker! First aid kit, insurance, and common sense will definitely help if not save you! 🙂 Thanks, Will.

First aid kit is very important, but be sure that your medicine in other country are legal. One time I had problems in U.S. customs with my first aid kit. Will, thanks for interesting and usefull article!

Amazing post – very thorough! When I’m in the US, I generally carry a knife for self defense purposes (years of Filipino martial arts training makes me feel naked without it). Would you ever carry something like that abroad, though? I’m in Thailand now, and don’t carry anything for fear of having serious legal trouble…

I always have a leatherman multitool on me and that has a pretty good knife 🙂

Got it. Seems innocuous, too. Checking local laws would be a pain in the butt.

I went to my first hike unprepared. Thankfully nothing serious happened. Thanks for posting the things I should put in my first aid kit on my next hike! Cheers!

And consult a doctor to get vaccinated before the trip. You can go here for more information : https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/

Nice tips Will and I agree about blending in. In some countries, you will stand out – but it’s far better to look like a clued up expat or overseas worker than a clueless tourist that got lost.

Thanks Barry! Totally agree that standing out is usually not a good idea!

All good tips! Especially the one about knowing your way out of a building – I’ve needed to use that before :/

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Solo Traveler

Solo travel tips, destinations, stories... the source for those who travel alone.

best travel safety tips

Solo Travel Safety: 50+ Proven Tips to Keep You Safe

Janice Waugh

July 26, 2022 by Janice Waugh

keep money safe

Traveling alone requires some special attention to safety. Whether you're a beginner or experienced, everyone can benefit from some solid solo travel safety tips.

After all, you alone must:

  • prevent problems from arising
  • be aware when they could or do arise
  • decide how to manage them if they arise

When it comes to travel safety, prevention comes first.

In all my travels, I have encountered remarkably few problems. I believe it's mostly because I think in terms of prevention. I set myself up for safety.

True, no amount of prevention is a guarantee of safety. Things happen! Still, prevention is an important start and a significant aspect of these 50 solo travel safety tips.

travel planning with safety in mind

Table of Contents

10 Steps to Plan for Safe Solo Travel

  • Safety begins before you leave . Research is important. Knowledge protects you from the danger of misinformation, unsavory individuals, and/or naively wandering into an unsafe area. Imagine how you can be taken advantage of if you don't understand the currency. Or the health problems you could face if you don't know the necessary vaccinations for your destination. Or the potential loss of money, documents, and more if you don't know the unsafe areas at your destination. Understanding your destination before you go is key to your safety when you're there.
  • Know your strengths and weaknesses . If you are new to travel, you likely have a lot to learn. If you've traveled a lot but have never traveled solo, you have different issues to resolve. We have a lot on the site for solo travel newbies. Read  Travel Solo for the First Time: Complete Guide for Newbies .
  • Choose your destination carefully . We all have different ideas of safety. Some would never consider certain destinations for safety reasons while others would. Make sure the safety level of your destination meets your personal travel safety needs. Read Destinations for First-Time Solo Travelers: North America & International, check our Destinations section, which features posts written by solo travelers who've been there, and use guide books and your government's travel site.
  • Check your government’s travel site.  Your government likely has information on the travel documents you require for travel as well as any warnings for your destination. Here are links for travel alerts for the  United Kingdom ,  United States , and  Canada .
  • Buy travel insurance before you go. I have World Nomads insurance. They are the only company I know that lets you buy insurance after you leave your country. However, it's certainly not after you need to make a claim. It keeps life simple and safe to buy insurance before you go. Read  Going Alone? A Complete Guide to Travel Insurance for Solo Travelers or Best Travel Insurance for Seniors: How to Find What’s Right for You .
  • Register with your government. I certainly don't do this every time I travel but if you're going for a few weeks, registering as a citizen traveling abroad is a good idea. Use the links above.
  • Schedule your arrival during daylight. The first stop for most travelers in a new destination is their hotel or hostel.   I suggest that you arrive in the mid-afternoon so that you can really see what kind of area you're staying in. A safe area will always look better in daylight. An unsafe area is more obviously so in daylight. But there are more very practical reasons to arrive during daylight. You will be able to find your accommodation more easily and if you don't like it, you will have time to make other arrangements.
  • Know how you will get to your first accommodation . Your arrival in any new country, especially one where you don't know the language or the local transit system, is important. Research how you'll get from the airport to your hotel or hostel (I use Rome2Rio ) and give yourself lots of time. You will need it as you learn how their transit system works. If your flight arrives late in the day, you may want to avoid the transit system and splurge on a taxi to be on the safe side.
  • Study a map before you leave.  I'm one who loves maps so this is an obvious step for me. But even those who do not love maps are advised to look at one and get the lay of the land. For example, if you were to look at a map of Toronto you'd note that the lake is south no matter where you are in the city and the CN Tower stands high near the lake. If you get turned around look for the tower. If you can't see it, ask someone which way the lake is. Not everyone knows north and south but locals know where the lake is. The same logic can be applied in New York City and many other cities based on major landmarks.
  • Develop your navigation skills . Before leaving home you can wander into a different town or part of town and practice your navigation skills. Read How to Navigate a New City Solo: Stay Safe and Don’t Get Lost .

travel safety during pandemic

Travel Safety Gear to Pack

I'm not really a “prepare for the worst and hope for the best” kind of person, even when it comes to solo travel safety. That said, when I buy products for travel, I try to buy ones that will increase my personal safety and the security of my things. Necessary, they have rarely been. But it's great to know that they are there.

  • An extra place to stash cash . This silk bra stash is a handy way of hiding a bit of extra cash. Available on Amazon . You can also consider a  money belt  or a  neck stash .
  • Pickpocket-proof clothing . Pants and jackets with extra, hidden pockets offer additional places to keep cash.  Here's a link to Amazon's many pickpocket proof items .
  • Anti theft day pack . The  Loctote  AntiTheft Sack is a safe and it's a backpack. Take it with you or leave it in your room locked to an immovable object with your valuables inside and everything will be safe. It's also great for the beach.
  • Water purifier . Stay healthy and save plastic water bottles with the  Grayl Ultralight Water Purifier .
  • hand sanitizer in travel-sized bottles
  • Basic Band-Aids  or more colorful bandages, if you prefer. They're essential.
  • NEOSPORIN® NEO TO GO!® First Aid Antiseptic/Pain Relieving Spray is a compact antibiotic spray. It's perfect for travel.
  • For blisters, I carry  Dr. Frederick's blister plasters.
  • Acetaminophen
  • BENADRYL® Itch Relief Spray for insect bites. I used to use calamine lotion but it makes such a mess and stains everything. This spray is far easier to use and just as, if not more, effective.
  • DEET-free Insect Repellent from Repel .
  • Instant Cold Packs
  • Any medications recommended by my travel clinic
  • The right wallet . Identity theft is a real thing. RFID skimming is where, with the right technology, a person near you can gather data from your credit cards without your knowledge. There's little evidence that it constitutes a huge threat but there's no harm erring on the side of safety. RFID-blocking products are available in the form of  hard-shell card holders  and  leather wallets . Here's some more information about RFID-blocking from NordVPN.
  • A doorstop.  Small and light, these can be very handy in smaller hotels off the beaten track where card keys and deadbolts are not common. Simply squeeze the doorstop under your door.
  • Whistle . A whistle attached to your day bag can be handy if you feel the need to draw attention to yourself and scare away any unwanted attention.
  • A VPN on all your devices . A VPN is mentioned below in the tech section but it can't be emphasized enough. Read:  Best VPN for Travel: What, Why and Feature-Price Comparison .

best travel safety tips

How to Keep Your Money and Documents Safe as You Travel

  • Protect yourself from pickpockets . Pickpockets target travelers. Fortunately, there are things you can do to prevent them from pickpocketing you. Get all the details by reading Protect Yourself from Pickpockets: Keep Cards & Cash Safe .
  • Use credit and debit cards wisely. How you manage your money as you travel is very important. For example, to save money, walk past those money exchange kiosks at airports and use an ATM in the city.
  • Don't carry more than you need. If you have a card that does not charge you for taking funds from international ATMs, it's best to take out small amounts frequently rather than carrying large amounts of cash. The exceptions are when ATMs are hard to find or you will need more money than normal for a particular reason.
  • Get a credit card that doesn't charge foreign transaction fees.  The Chase credit cards are known for being good for this in the US.
  • Carry a spare credit card. Not every card works everywhere. Carry a spare for such a situation or in case you lose your card.
  • Keep emergency cash hidden . You can carry it on your body and have some tucked away in your suitcase or backpack.
  • Don't take unnecessary documents with you . For travel, you likely need your passport, driver's license, visa (if the country you're visiting requires one), travel insurance, and possibly proof of vaccination. You don't need your social insurance card, checkbook, and the like. Leave the latter documents at home.
  • Have multiple copies of your documents.  I carry my original documents with me as I travel. I like the security of knowing where they are at any given moment. I have scanned copies in my Lastpass vault. You can do the same with Nordpass . I also have photocopies of my documents in my suitcase or backpack which is, on a typical travel day, in the hotel or hostel. Finally, I leave copies of these documents with my husband at home. Read about using Lastpass and Nordpass for documents here: Best VPN for Travel: What, Why and Feature-Price Comparison .

best travel safety tips

Technology for Travel Safety

  • Use a VPN. Before you use a credit card online or check your bank balance or, basically, go into any website that requires a password, make sure you turn on a VPN. It's almost impossible to travel and not use public Wi-Fi whether it's in the hotel or a café. Read:  Best VPN for Travel: What, Why and Feature-Price Comparison .
  • Pre-program numbers into your phone, like your accommodation phone number, your government’s consulate office, and 911 if you are in North America.
  • Make use of digital safety tools. There are hundreds of safety apps and tools on the market. From basic apps that come pre-installed on phones to a few specially designed for travel safety, we share our recommendations in 10 Solo Travel Safety Apps: Technology for Peace of Mind .

Solo travel safety

Solo Travel Safety Tips for While You're On the Road

Remember all those rules your mother taught you to ensure that you stayed safe as a child? They also make great solo travel safety tips. Apply them rigorously when you're traveling.

  • Trust your intuition . If it doesn’t feel right, leave. Whether it's a bar or a park or a hostel, if you don't feel good in the situation, if your spidey senses are tingling, it's best to get out of there.
  • Know the typical con games of your destination . If someone wants to give you something for free it may be a good idea to decline. A rose is often offered on the streets of Barcelona to draw travelers in for a con. A ring apparently found on the ground and offered to you as the person who possibly lost it, is another ruse to turn away from. Familiarize yourself with the common con games travelers encounter. Here's a list of 40 tourist scams .
  • Stay in public.  I learned this lesson the hard way. I was caught in a con game and, fortunately, I did not leave a public place. Had I done so my life would likely have been much different.
  • Where you're staying is personal information. Don’t tell strangers where you’re staying either in words or actions. Your accommodation should be your safe haven.
  • Going out at night? Read this post on Night Safety for Solo Travelers: 17 Tips .
  • Stay alert. Sleep well. Stay sober . While it's wonderful to sink into a destination, luxuriating in its culture, it's also important to stay safe. Being well rested and sober is key to being alert and exercising good judgment, both of which are key to your safety. If you are not one, the other, or both, recognize that fact and be extra careful.
  • Walk with confidence.  In tourist areas such as around the Eiffel Tower, meandering as a tourist makes sense. However, there are other circumstances where you want to walk like a local, as if you know exactly what you're doing and where you're going. You don't want to look like a tourist. That requires that you walk with confidence. Read Solo Travel Confidence: How to Be Strong, Capable, and Safe
  • Blend in as well as possible . Blending in requires more than just walking with confidence. Be aware of cultural differences and blend in if possible. Read  12 Ways to Blend In When You Travel Alone .
  • Be polite. Be impolite. Being impolite can definitely get you into trouble. If people take offence at your behavior it's hard to know what can happen. So, definitely be polite under most circumstances. But if a person is bothering you, being polite can get you into trouble too. Know when and how to make a lot of noise and attract attention to yourself and the person bothering you.
  • Pack right . You're more mobile and have less to lose when you pack light. Read:  Bare Minimum Packing . Use a distinctive mark on your luggage other than a name and address tag. Keep your luggage tags with your flight ticket. It's important to be able to confirm that the luggage is indeed yours. You may also want to keep your name and address inside your bag for proper identification if needed.
  • Don’t flash wealth.  Leave expensive things at home. Don't wear jewelry or flashy clothes and accessories that will attract attention to yourself. Even if they don't go after your jewelry, they may target you and pick your pocket.
  • Keep your belongings close . Hold your wallet, camera, and phone close to you. Never keep your wallet in your back pocket. Keep the number of things you're most concerned about to a minimum. For me, it's my wallet, phone, and passport. Having just three things makes them easy to carry and keep track of.
  • Take special care of your documents . I keep my passport on me. I keep my plane ticket on my phone plus paper copies in my bag. I keep extra money in a couple of places and an extra credit card separate from the one I regularly use. Read:  Protect Yourself from Pickpockets: Keep Cards & Cash Safe .
  • Carry the business card of your hotel or hostel.  Getting back to your hotel or hostel is pretty important but it can be a challenge if you're in a country where you don't speak the language. When you check in, get a business card from the establishment and carry it with you.
  • Don't automatically jump in to help . If you see someone suddenly in need of help, get someone else to go to their aid with you. A local is better able to help and having someone else involved will protect you should the incident be a con game.
  • Always carry a map. While walking around with a map in your hands may make you look like a vulnerable tourist, having one on you can be very helpful. If you're lost, stop into a shop to look at it and get assistance. They are especially helpful when you don't know the language. You can point to your destination, making communication easier.
  • Understand the city transit system. Riding public transit is a great way to get to know a city and its culture. But, before you go, know how safe it is, how much the fares are and how they are paid, whether a pass is a good idea, and the basic routes you'll be taking.
  • Take a break once in a while.  This goes along with staying aware of your surroundings. If you're experiencing travelers fatigue, join a day tour or cooking class or something that will make for a simple, interesting, and relaxing day.
  • Ask for a room on an upper floor.
  • If you are a woman, ask if there is a women-only floor and get a room there, if possible.
  • Be aware of the alternative exits.
  • Before you go out, ask about safety.
  • When you return at night, ask for an escort to your room if you are nervous.
  • Use the security lock.
  • Lock important items in the room safe.
  • When you leave your room, leave the TV and a light on, if possible. Put out the “do not disturb” sign to suggest that there is someone in the room.
  • Check TripAdvisor.com for a review of your accommodation in case travel safety is highlighted as an issue.

woman taking travel photo safe solo travel

Is Solo Travel Safe?

I believe that solo travel is as safe as traveling with a companion. Follow the advice above, use your smarts, and you should be okay.

There's more you can read about safety on Solo Traveler:

  • Solo Female Travel Safety: Answering a Stranger’s Question-Or Not
  • Solo Travel Over 50: Reasons, Benefits, Destinations & Safety
  • A Road Trip Alone: Top 10 Tips to Prepare

Sharing is caring!

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Editor Tracey: tracey @ solotravelerworld.com

Sales Simon: simon @ solotravelerworld.com

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The content of Solo Traveler and any resources published by Solo Traveler are meant for entertainment and inspiration only. Please note that while we have advertising clients promoting destinations, products, services, trips and tours on Solo Traveler and that we endeavour to only work with companies in which we have confidence, we are not responsible for the delivery or quality of their products or services. Every person and every travel situation is different. Your safety, satisfaction and fun traveling solo are your responsibility alone and not that of Solo Traveler, its publisher, editor and/or writers.

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Your Survival Guide to Safe and Healthy Travel

couple looking at map

Before You Go

Take these steps to prepare for your travels aboard and anticipate issues that might arise.

Check your destination for country-specific health risks and safety concerns . You should also know your health status before you make travel plans. When you are sick, you can spread diseases to others. Postpone your travel and stay home when you are sick.

Make an appointment  with your health care provider to get destination-specific vaccines, medicines, and advice at least a month before you leave. Discuss your itinerary and any planned activities with your provider so that he or she can make customized recommendations to ensure a healthy and safe journey.

Make sure you are up-to-date on all of your routine vaccines,  including measles-mumps-rubella (MMR). Measles and other infectious diseases can spread quickly in a large group of unvaccinated people.

Plan for unexpected health and travel issues. Find out if your health insurance covers medical care abroad—many plans don’t! Make sure you have a plan to  get care overseas , in case you need it. Consider buying travel insurance that covers health care and emergency evacuation, especially if you will be traveling to remote areas.

Prepare for emergencies. Leave copies of important travel documents (e.g. itinerary, contact information, credit cards, passport, proof of school enrollment) with someone at home, in case you lose them during travel. Make sure someone at home knows how to reach you in an emergency and carry your emergency contacts with you at all times.

Enroll with the Department of State’s  Smart Traveler Enrollment Program  (STEP) . Monitor travel warnings for your destination. Enrolling also ensures that the US Department of State knows where you are if you have serious legal, medical, or financial difficulties while traveling. In the event of an emergency at home, STEP can also help friends and family contact you.

Pack smart. Prepare a  travel health kit  with items you may need, especially those that are difficult to find on your trip.

  • Fill your travel health kit with your prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines (enough to last your whole trip, plus a little extra), a first aid kit, insect repellent , sunscreen (SPF15 or higher), aloe, alcohol-based hand sanitizer, water disinfection tablets, and your health insurance card.
  • Please visit the Traveling Abroad with Medicine for more information.

During Your Trip

Choose safe transportation. Always wear a seat belt, and children should ride in car seats. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among healthy travelers. Be alert when crossing the street, especially in countries where people drive on the left side of the road. Find out other steps you can take to stay safe on the roads.

Avoid bug bites. Use insect repellent and take other steps to avoid bug bites. Bugs, including mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, and flies, can spread diseases such as malaria, yellow fever, Zika, dengue, chikungunya, and Lyme. These bugs are typically more active during warm weather.

If you or a travel companion gets an injury or sickness that can’t be helped with basic first aid or an over-the-counter medicine, seek medical attention right away. Visit  Getting Health Care During Travel  to learn how to connect with a doctor or medical services during your trip.

Choose safe food and drink. Contaminated food or drinks can cause travelers’ diarrhea and other diseases and disrupt your travel. Travelers to low or middle income destinations are especially at risk. Generally, foods served hot are usually safe to eat as well as dry and packaged foods. Bottled, canned, and hot drinks are usually safe to drink. Learn more about how to choose safer  food and drinks  to prevent getting sick.

Protect yourself from the sun. Apply sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher when traveling. Protecting yourself from the sun isn’t just for tropical beaches—you can get a sunburn even if it’s cloudy or cold. You are at the highest risk for UV exposure when you are traveling during summer months, near the equator, at high altitudes, or between 10 am to 4 pm.

Wash your hands. Regular handwashing is one of the best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick, and prevent the spread of germs to others. Wash your hands with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol. 

Be safe around animals. Avoid animals , including pets, local farm animals, and wild animals. In addition to the risk of rabies, all animal bites carry a risk of bacterial infection.

Be careful during water activities. Drowning is a major cause of death when traveling. Follow water safety recommendations , which includes swimming, boating and diving, especially in countries where emergency services may not be quickly available.

After Travel

stethoscope

If you traveled and feel sick, particularly if you have a fever, talk to a healthcare provider and tell them about any areas you recently traveled to. 

If you need medical care abroad, see Getting Health Care During Travel .

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10 ways to stay safe no matter where you’re traveling

Sponsored by

Mar 31, 2023 • 4 min read

best travel safety tips

Safety and adventure aren’t mutually exclusive. These 10 tips can help you avoid almost any setback © AnemStyle / Shutterstock

Travel always involves a bit of uncertainty. And there will always be location-specific warnings to observe depending on where you’re going. The good news is there are several proven precautions you can take ahead of time and while traveling to stay safe and navigate any unexpected catastrophes when away from home.

Here are 10 tried-and-true methods to dodge danger and maximize your enjoyment of practically any destination. Remember, safety and adventure aren’t mutually exclusive. And feeling anxious is totally natural. Either way, you got this!

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Before you leave

  • Check local advisories. Traveling to Iowa comes with a different set of risks than, say, traveling to Africa. The same is true when traveling to Europe, Latin America, Asia, or to any specific country within every continent, let alone specific regions that demand their own precautions. For the latest information, if you’re traveling from the US check the State Dept website , as well as local news reports, and travel guides to your specific destination.
  • Get your shots (where needed). Not every location demands special immunizations before visiting. But many of them do, especially less developed countries and continents. What’s more, the pandemic made things a lot more complicated, as certain countries drop or maintain proof of vaccination before entering. Either way, if you’re in the US check with the CDC for any destination-specific shots you might need before boarding your flight.
  • Share your plans with emergency contacts. Doing so can be a simple but life-saving act, especially when traveling off-grid, on high adventure trips, or in more dangerous destinations. Tell your friends and loved ones when and where you’re going, what you’re doing, where you’re staying, how you’re traveling, and how they can get in touch with you should anything come up.

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  • Know common scams. In many countries, individuals might feign assistance and incessantly follow you, only to later demand payment for their unsolicited help. Others might wow you with offers that are too good to be true, work in teams to distract you and take your goods, or worse. Many travel advisories will include this information, but some extra online searches can go a long way to expose and help you avoid any harm to your wallet and/or your safety.
  • Get travel insurance. If you really want to cover your bases while abroad, you’ll want travel insurance, such as that offered by Seven Corners . Doing so can help recoup your money if you need to cancel a trip (or your flight is delayed) and cover the cost of treating medical emergencies while traveling, including care at foreign hospitals and medical evacuation, lost bags, early returns home, and many other unexpected mishaps.

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While traveling

  • Know your limits. Feeling nervous before traveling somewhere new is normal. But if you’re feeling downright sick about your plans, you’ve probably bitten off more than you can chew. The best pre-test of an experience is whether you’re still excited about it, even if it’s something you’ve never done before. After you arrive, however, be sure to listen to your mind and body and back out of anything you’re not comfortable with.
  • Eat and drink like your life depends on it. This is especially true on high adventure trips. Dehydration is easily preventable but amazingly one of the leading causes of illness while traveling abroad. So, drink more water than you think, plan for regular bathroom breaks, and stay away from street vendors unless you’re certain they’re free from food poison.

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  • Secure your valuables. It’s always important to protect your personal property, be it in parked rental cars, beach bags, or wallets and phones in your usually secure pockets. Again, travel advisories will often alert you to higher areas of petty theft but be on the extra lookout when traveling someplace new.
  • Avoid getting too close to wildlife (or the edge of a cliff). Many years ago, an American college student was sadly (but unsurprisingly) eaten by a lion after sticking her head out of a car window while at Lion Park in Johannesburg, South Africa. Others become seriously sick after licking psychedelic toads in Sonora. And far too many tourists have fallen to their deaths while snapping selfies at the ends of a cliff. Don’t do it. No photo is worth your life or good health.
  • Stay alert. Be on the lookout. If you’re not sure about something, step inside a public building, follow the crowd, and trust your gut, especially if you find yourself in unfamiliar surroundings or cultures. Although you may be tempted to “travel like a local,” don’t do it. You’re probably not as experienced as they are and that’s okay. Instead, travel like a respectful tourist and accept that you don’t know everything. Doing so will keep you safe.

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Despite what the news will sometimes have you believe, the world is a safer than it has ever been. Yes, there are risks. But when traveling, these 10 tips can help you avoid almost any setback. Bon voyage!

Sponsored by Seven Corners

As a travel entertainment and inspirational media outlet, we sometimes incorporate brand sponsors into our efforts. This activity is clearly labeled across our platforms.

This story was crafted collaboratively between Seven Corners and Lonely Planet. Both parties provided research and curated content to produce this story. We disclose when information isn’t ours.

With sponsored content, both Lonely Planet and our brand partners have specific responsibilities:

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Determines the concept, provides briefing, research material, and may provide feedback.

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12 Travel Safety Tips for Travelers in 2023

Safety tips for travelers

No matter where you’re headed on your next vacation, keeping these travel safety tips in mind will help ensure you have a safe trip.

For frequent travelers, you know that travel also comes with risks. If you’ve traveled often enough, you’ve had something stolen, lost something, or gotten lost.

While sometimes these things are out of our control, there are may ways we can prepare ourselves to minimize the chances these things will happen to us.  A little planning ahead is all you need. 

Here are 12 travel safety tips to help you prepare for your next trip and keep both you and your valuables safe. 

Table of Contents

Travel Safety Tips for Travelers

Flagstaff to Sedona

In this post I’m sharing my best travel safety tips for travelers to help you plan a safe and fun vacation.

While we can’t always prevent mishaps or accidents, being prepared for the unexpected is never a bad idea.

1. Research your destination in advance

Travel safety tips

This is one of the most important travel safety tips, and it’s why I mention it first.

When you begin making arrangements to visit a new destination, make sure to read about the general safety concerns in the area.

Become familiar with where your hotel is in relation to the places you will visit. Spend time looking into transportation options and figure out how you will get around from place to place.

I also recommend doing a little reading about travel scams that are common at your destination and how to avoid them. 

2. Make a copy of your passport and take it with you

How to plan an international trip - ultimate guide lonely planet

Traveling abroad can be an exciting adventure, but an important travel safety tip often overlooked is to always have a copy of your passport with you when you travel.

Whether it’s in digital or paper form, bring an extra copy along just in case the unexpected happens and you lose or passport and you find yourself needing proof of identity.

Whether you’re taking a day trip or jetting off to a distant paradise, it’s best to be prepared for unexpected scenarios. With a copy of your passport in hand, you never have to worry about misplacing your identifying documents and can easily access them at moment’s notice.

Even if travel goes as smooth as possible, it’s always better to be over-prepared than under-prepared. So before packing for your next trip, don’t forget to pack a photocopy of your passport.

3. Try to blend in

Tips for traveling safely

If you want to avoid becoming the victim of a theft or robbery, you’ll want to put a little effort into blending in with the locals.

Don’t wear flashy clothes and jewelry if you plan to visit areas with a high level of poverty, don’t dress in revealing clothing if you’re visiting a conservative country, and please don’t wear clothing with American flags on it, ever.

Nothing says “I’m a tourist” like a USA t-shirt. Do as the locals do, and you should be just fine. 

4. Tell someone where you’re going

trips for traveling without your dog

Always make sure a friend or family member knows where you’re headed before you travel.

It’s important to have someone who knows you’ll be away and can follow up during your trip to make sure you’re safe or offer assistance when needed.

5. Trust your instincts

Two Days in Prague Czech Republic

As with most things in life, always trust your instincts, especially when you’re traveling.

Whether it’s avoiding a certain spot or taking an alternate route – honor your intuition when you travel, and see what amazing adventures await.

6. Act like you know where you’re going

Travel safety tips

No matter where you’re going, or what time of day, do not act like you have no idea where you are. It’s your body language that gives this away, so don’t look so confused.

If you act lost, you’re inviting someone to help you. While many times this may be a friendly local, but it can also draw the attention of those looking to take advantage of you.

If you really need directions, walk into a local business and ask someone who works there. 

7. Use caution with alcohol

Best Bars in Bergen

When you travel, it’s important to always be aware of your surroundings to ensure your safety. That being said, it’s especially important to be mindful when you’re drinking alcohol in a new city in unfamiliar places.

It can be very easy (and tempting) to let loose and celebrate being in a new place, however drinking excessively when traveling can put you at risk for becoming disoriented or making poor choices.

Help keep yourself safe during travel by keeping an eye on your alcohol consumption and never leaving your drinks unattended.

8. Don’t flash your money

best travel safety tips

When you get ready to go out for the day, try to prepare to carry only the minimum amount of cash on you.

Leave any extra cash and valuables in a safe place back in your room. If it’s necessary to carry a large amount of cash on you, spread it out to carry it in different places.

I typically keep some in my wallet, some in my backpack, and give some to my travel partner to hold.

When you retrieve your cash to make a purchase, don’t flash it around in crowded places, try to be discreet. 

9. Buy travel insurance before your trip

Plaza Grande Merida

Traveling is an essential part of life, and travel insurance has become an important travel safety tip.

Not only can travel insurance help you on a financial level, should the worst happen and your travel plans have to be cancelled or delayed, it can also give you greater peace of mind while abroad.

Whether it’s lost baggage, medical emergencies, or travel delays, having travel insurance means that you’ll be secure knowing that you won’t have to bear the brunt of any unexpected costs.

So make sure you check out the different travel insurance packages available before booking your next holiday, it could save you from a world of stress.

10. Know how to call for help if necessary

NYC fire trucks

This travel safety tip is often overlooked, but it’s an important one.

Whenever you’re traveling to a new place, become familiar with the emergency response system in your destination.

Make sure you know if emergency services like police and fire are available, and how to contact them.

If you’re visiting a region with minimal services or no emergency response system, identify the nearest government building and U.S. Embassy.

Be sure to write down the address and phone numbers as well. You should also identify where the nearest hospital is, especially if you’re accident-prone or have health issues. 

11. Avoid protests and political events

protest in Paris

Before you depart for your next destination, be sure to read up on the local news at least a few days before you leave.

This is the easiest way to get a sense of what the political climate is like. When there is political tension in an area you plan to visit, figure out if it’s still safe to go there.

If you encounter a political event or protest unexpectedly when traveling, do your best to avoid the area.

When tensions are high, these events can become dangerous and violent without notice. If you are traveling to attend a political protest or event, use caution, and common sense.

Try to stay near the outer areas of the protest, and identify streets and sidewalks that you can use to get away from the area quickly if necessary. 

12. Carry your bag in front of you

How to travel safely

Whenever you’re entering a train station or other crowded space, move your purse or backpack to the front of your body.

Train stations and crowded touristy areas are perfect for thieves looking for an easy target.

If your backpack or purse is behind you, it’s contents are much easier to steal. Keep your bag zipped at all times, and secured to your body. 

If you’re planning a trip to Europe, be sure to also check out my travel tips for Europe before your visit.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these 12 travel safety tips and that I’ve inspired you to plan your next trip abroad. As always, thanks for reading.

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Key travel tips you need to know — whether you’re a first-time or frequent traveler

Clint Henderson

The holiday travel season is fully upon us. The Transportation Security Administration expects to screen a record number of passengers this Christmas, and the TSA already broke a daily record. They screened a whopping 2.9 million travelers on Nov. 26, 2023, alone ... the most passengers ever screened in a single day.

As millions of travelers take trips by plane , cruise ship or road , we've gathered some essential travel tips on how best to book and enjoy your journeys.

Whether you're an occasional road-tripper or a frequent globe-trotter, these TPG-backed top travel tips can help you avoid unnecessary headaches when you spend time away from home.

How to find travel deals

best travel safety tips

Flexibility is key when it comes to finding cheap airfare any time of year.

Changing your arrival or departure date by a single day can save you hundreds of dollars on airfare. If you don't mind altering your family's plans slightly, consider booking travel directly on major holidays like the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving and Christmas for cheaper prices and thinner airport crowds.

One of our favorite tools at TPG for finding deals is Google Flights . You can use the search field to find the cheapest (or best) flights. Google will also give you a historical view of how prices have ranged and will even send you email alerts if fares jump or drop on specific routes you've selected.

It also has some fun tools you can use to find a cheap destination. By clicking the "Explore" button on the sidebar and putting your departure airport, Google will give you a map or list view of the most wallet-friendly destinations.

best travel safety tips

However, Google isn't the only place to find deals: TPG publishes regular deal alerts. You can sign up for Twitter alerts and subscribe to our daily newsletter for the latest deals news.

Don't sleep on mileage awards, either. If you've been hoarding miles during the pandemic, it's time to spend them. Cash prices are high, so it can be a good time to burn those miles.

No matter how much you think you know about redeeming miles for flights , there are always new tips and tricks for turning those earnings into dream trips. Turn to TPG for guidance on sweet spots for redemptions. Sites like ExpertFlyer (part of Red Ventures, like TPG) supply additional redemption ideas or even business class upgrade inventory.

You may even want to consult a travel agent to get access to special deals that aren't available anywhere else. Travel agents can sometimes get you extra perks at hotels or even cheaper business-class airfare to your dream destination.

Be your own best advocate

Since there are still air traffic controller shortages and little room for error in the system these days, travelers have to be their own best advocates.

There are ways to get ahead of any possible travel nightmares.

First, be smart when booking. Try to find a nonstop flight rather than one with connections, even if it costs a little more. You'll eliminate the risk of missing connections and lessen the chance of having your luggage go in a different direction than you during a transfer.

You could also take one of the first flights of the day, as those are least likely to face afternoon thunderstorms and most likely to depart on time. Read our article 5 reasons to book the first flight of the day for all the data.

Related: Your flight is canceled or delayed – here's what you should do next

Download your airline's mobile app to keep track of potential flight delays in real time. The airline app is a secret weapon in case things go wrong. Not only will you know when boarding starts, but you'll also learn of any delays first. Some airlines allow you to even rebook yourself in the app.

If your flight is canceled, you'll want to beat everyone else on your flight who is also looking to get rebooked.

We recommend heading for the customer service desk (or lounge desk if you have access). You could also get on the phone with the airline or contact them via social media if there's a delay . Sometimes, an airline's Twitter representative will help you faster than a phone or in-person agent can. You have to use every tool at your disposal when things go south.

Many airlines also now have live chat capabilities to help navigate delays and cancellations.

I always have an alternate plan (or two) in the back of my mind in case a flight gets canceled or delayed. I also look to see what other airlines are flying the route I'm booked in case something goes awry. This way, I'll know what to ask for if I need to be rebooked.

Also, save all the receipts for the expenses you incur during delays or cancellations. You'll want excellent documentation in the case of meltdowns like the one Southwest passengers experienced during the holidays .

If you're stuck at an airport for an extended period, seek out your airport's secret quiet spaces for a brief escape from the travel chaos.

Get Global Entry and/or TSA PreCheck

best travel safety tips

One of our favorite ways to speed through the airport and avoid those summertime mega lines is via Trusted Traveler programs like TSA PreCheck and Global Entry .

Essentially, the government pre-screens you for security and thus you save a bit of time during your travels. You'll need to apply ahead of time and pay a fee. The great news, however, is that many credit cards will give you a statement credit for these fees. TSA PreCheck is a $78 application fee for five years, and Global Entry is $100.

Related: 7 ways to get Global Entry, TSA PreCheck and/or Clear for free

TSA PreCheck allows you to speed through airport security without removing your shoes, laptops or liquids. With Global Entry , you can breeze through customs when you return from an international trip.

If you have the time, going for Global Entry rather than simply TSA PreCheck makes sense. Global Entry requires an interview with Customs and Border Patrol ahead of time, but once you're approved, TSA PreCheck will be included.

Get Clear for the ultimate security trifecta

best travel safety tips

The other security tool we recommend you have in your travel toolbelt is Clear .

Related: Why you should get TSA PreCheck and Clear

The expedited security program allows you to bypass long security lines by using a separate lane at many airports. You'll approach a kiosk where your identity is confirmed via an iris scan or fingerprint. A Clear employee will then escort you to the front of the security screening line.

A Clear membership combined with TSA PreCheck will enable you to go to even shorter lines at some airports with designated Clear/PreCheck lines. Clear isn't perfect at all airports where it's so popular, and there are now long lines (cough, Atlanta). However, it will still generally lead to shorter lines overall.

Related: Guide to using the Amex Platinum Clear benefit

Make copies of your important documents

Make digital and hard copies of all your important travel-related documents. Start by photographing your driver's license, your state ID and/or your passport.

You should have copies of your IDs in your phone's library in case you get separated from the actual document. Sometimes, it also helps in a pinch if you are asked for ID, and you didn't bring the hard copy. For example, I was recently asked for my ID to enter One Vanderbilt to have dinner at the new American Express Centurion Lounge in New York. The receptionist would have accepted a photograph of the ID if I didn't have the physical document.

TPG also recommends having an actual photocopy in a separate place. Editor Kristy Tolley says she stores a hard copy in a separate place from where she keeps her passport in case she loses a bag. "I also leave a copy of it at home if I'm traveling alone," she said.

Check expiration dates

best travel safety tips

If you aren't 100% certain of the expiration date of your passport and other travel documents, go check them now. Renewing passports takes time, and some countries require six months of future passport validity to allow entry. Remember that child passports expire every five years, which can sneak up on you.

Related: How and when to renew your passport

Double-checking the expiration dates for your driver's licenses and state IDs is also a good idea. Remember that TSA checks the expiration dates on your documents when they screen you for security. Don't forget to check the expiration dates for your Trusted Traveler programs like Global Entry, Clear and TSA PreCheck, too. It can take a while to get a Global Entry interview appointment if you need one to renew.

Few things are worse than getting to the front of the security line and realizing the PreCheck mark is gone from your boarding pass.

Finally, check the entry requirements if you are traveling internationally. Some countries require visas that you must acquire before arrival.

Consider travel protection

When booking your travel, try to use a credit card that offers some built-in travel protection . Many credit cards, including TPG favorites like the Chase Sapphire Reserve or The Platinum Card® from American Express , offer this when you use those cards to purchase your airfare and similar.

Related: Best credit cards for trip delays and cancellations

If the coverage offered by your credit card isn't enough, you might also want to purchase travel insurance . These policies can sometimes go beyond trip cancellations to cover things like medical evacuations. Warning: Read the fine print on any extra policies very carefully to ensure it covers the situations that matter the most to you.

Those who frequently travel abroad may want to consider purchasing an annual travel insurance policy instead of buying one on a trip-by-trip basis. Some TPG staffers purchase annual policies because of the cost savings for multiple trips. Some will find having an annual policy is easier than juggling separate policies or various credit card coverage terms and conditions.

Tips for your luggage

best travel safety tips

TPG has a ton of tips when it comes to luggage.

First and foremost, try to be on "team carry-on" whenever possible. If you don't check baggage, you are much less likely to become separated from it. Many of us at TPG refuse to check luggage except under extreme circumstances.

Of course, other folks with families or those embarking on long journeys may still want to check bags. If that's the case for you, you can still do many things to lessen the chance you get separated from your stuff. For example, make sure your luggage is in good working order, your contact info is attached, the bag is within the weight limits, you get to the airport early (but not too early) to check it and confirm your luggage is tagged to the right destination or connection.

Related: 7 tips to keep the airline from losing your luggage

After last year's baggage delays and luggage disasters , we strongly suggest you put Apple AirTags (or the Android equivalent ) into your luggage so you can track your items if they go missing .

If you check a bag, keep extra medicine or medical supplies in your carry-on bag in case your luggage goes missing or gets delayed. "As a diabetic, I keep a tiny emergency kit in my backpack with enough supplies to keep me going in an emergency," TPG writer Tanner Saunders said.

Former TPG credit card writer Ryan Smith also offered words of advice regarding luggage. "The last items you pack in your carry-on will be most accessible, so use this for your passport, ID, ticket, headphones or whatever else you need during the trip," he said. By making sure those items you'll use most are easiest to reach, you'll save yourself the hassle of having to dig around (or partially unpack) your bag to grab what you need.

Finally, be sure and get compensated if your bags are late or lost. Many airlines will give you points or even cash for delayed bags, and the government has rules on compensation if your bags are lost.

Staying safe on your journeys

best travel safety tips

From potentially getting robbed while on the road to experiencing bad weather or natural disasters while traveling, there are many scenarios that could arise when you're away from home.

To mitigate those risks, pay attention to U.S. Department of State warnings about a destination you plan to visit and check local sources for the latest news from that country or region for additional context. Although the State Department tends to err on the side of caution with its warnings, it's still best to be aware of what you may face during your trip.

Also, know the local number in case of emergencies. In many places, including Mexico and much of Europe, if you dial 9-1-1 on your cellphone, you will be connected to emergency services just like in the U.S. However, you should know the local emergency numbers of whichever country you visit.

Let people at home know your itinerary and stay in touch with them throughout your trip. If something goes amiss, at least someone will know where you're supposed to be or the last place you visited.

If you're arriving at night, contact your hotel or home-share host to ask about the best way to get there at the time you're arriving and the safest ways to travel at night in that area.

Also, be strategic about how you check into a hotel. Some solo travelers request two keycards to imply someone else is on the trip. Giving thought to the hotel room's security swing bar can also make sense, with some taking steps like placing a hand towel over it to make it harder to dislodge from the outside.

Some final tips

best travel safety tips

  • For cruisers, TPG principal cruise writer Gene Sloan suggests arriving in port at least a day in advance (if not several days ahead of time). This will eliminate the risk of missing your ship's departure time and help you get acclimated to the local time zone.
  • When taking road trips to out-of-the-way destinations, go old school and bring paper maps with you or download offline maps from Google. Using a paper map or an offline version means you always have a way to navigate around your chosen destination, even if you lose cellular service.
  • One other note, you should reserve airport parking ahead of time during peak travel times. Some airport parking areas fill up fast around holidays, so reserving your spot ahead of time will save you from wasting time looking for a space when you need to catch a flight. You can also sometimes save by booking online in advance, too.

Bottom line

best travel safety tips

Whether you're fresh to the world of traveling or a seasoned expert, you can always learn new tips to maximize your time away from home. The more research and preparation you do before your trip, the better your experience will be — especially if things go wrong, as they sometimes do.

Some of our favorite tools are deal alerts, Google Flights , sign-up bonuses and credit card rewards . Learn those tools and use them for better travel every time.

Remember that these days when things go wrong, you have to be your own best advocate. For more travel tips and tricks, read the stories below.

Related reading:

  • Your flight is delayed or canceled: Here's what to do next
  • The best travel credit cards
  • The 18 best places to travel in 2023
  • 6 real-life strategies you can use when your flight is canceled or delayed
  • 8 of the best credit cards for general travel purchases
  • Here's how to get through airport security faster

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TSA's Top Travel Tips

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TSA partnered with Stars and Stripes News for special military guide

The special guide for service members and their families includes travel tips, such as how to prepare, pack and declare a firearm, checkpoint dos and don’ts, and an inside look at some of TSA’s programs and employees, with a special military emphasis.

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Kids rule the airport!

Traveling with children. Those words can strike fear in the hearts of even seasoned travelers. How does one prepare for the ‘excitement’ of bringing young travelers to the airport? We have the answer to three of the most common issues.

Strollers, car seats, breastmilk, oh my!

It can be stressful traveling with baby gear any time of year. Check out this video for tips on navigating through the security screening process with these items. And don’t forget, if you need assistance – just ask – we’re happy to help!

Refresh your memory on the liquid rules

We all know by now that a turkey sandwich is not a liquid, but it can still be confusing when you’re figuring out how to pack your liquids. Watch this video and it will all be crystal clear.

TSA PreCheck® = game changer

Who doesn’t want to get through security faster? TSA PreCheck® allows you to do just that. It’s quick and easy security screening for travelers we know more about – and have earned the esteemed title of “Trusted Traveler.” Applying is easy and once you’re a member- you’ll never want to go back.

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How not to be “That Guy” at the airport checkpoint

If you’re like most travelers, you likely don’t like to hear the sound of tapping feet and heavy sighs as your fellow travelers wait for you to prepare your items for security. Want to get through security as fast as possible, while still being safe? Check out these tips for domestic travel from your friends at TSA.

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Can you pack your meds in a pill case and more questions answered

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How to know you’ve forgotten something at the checkpoint

Ever gotten on a plane and felt like you were missing something? Here’s a list of the most common items left behind at the security checkpoint. Take note, so it doesn’t happen to you!

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Taking your human on a plane: what every pet needs to know

Hey, down here! Are we going to the airport again? No big deal… we’re in this together, and that means we both have to go through security screening.

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Get Ready for Game Day

Ah, fall! A time for falling leaves, cooling temperatures, and pumpkin spice flavored everything. But for sports fans, fall means the return of football. Players at all levels, from pee wee to the pros, will be taking the field once again. And if you’re traveling to see the Tide roll or the Eagles soar, we have some tips to help you avoid a penalty flag during your airport screening experience.

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Travel Tips that Your Mama Will Love

Everyone knows that there’s no sweeter gift for mom than a visit from you! But if you must bring along a gift, we have a few dos and don’ts to make sure your screening experience is a smooth one.

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Fashion dos and don’ts while going through the checkpoint!

Avoid a fashion faux pas by forgetting to do this on your next airport visit.

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Keep the Change

Pennies, nickels and dimes don’t seem like much… just a jiggling in your pockets, right? Every day, thousands of people leave their loose change at TSA security checkpoints across America. You may think that a few pennies don’t add up to very much. Just wait until you find out how much passengers leave in those checkpoint bins!

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You’ll kick yourself if you forget these travel tips!

Millions of people from all over the world are tuning in to this year’s World Cup. Summer travel season is in full swing so be sure to be ahead of the game when traveling. Shoot and score with these helpful tips that will help you dribble through security with ease.

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Going GREEN while traveling through airport security!

Earth Day is every day for TSA. You can do your part to help our planet with these green-friendly travel tips.

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Feel like a Superhero with these ASTONISHING travel tips!

Dust off your comic books and cosplay outfits and make room on your shelves for even more cool collectibles! The Granddaddy of annual comic conventions is HERE! Here are 4 helpful tips for all the fanboys and fangirls out there!

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Traveling at any time can be stressful, but it can be even more challenging when you’re pregnant.

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Too cool for school

The time has come for students to head back to class. If you’ll be flying off to school, we have some tips to make your back-to-school travels as stress-free as possible. After all, nothing should cause you stress other than your first exams and textbook costs!

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Two Carry-on Bags in Paradise: A Love Story

If loving a safe flight is wrong, then we don’t want to be right! Valentine’s Day is almost here and many of us will be traveling with gifts for the one we love. Check out some of the most common items screened at security checkpoints nationwide during this romantic time of year.

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When flying on a broom just won’t do

Hello all you ghouls and ghosts! It’s almost that bewitching time which means you’re probably itching to hop onto your brooms and fly to a Halloween adventure from your local airports. Here are the tips to make sure your trick-or-treating in the airports is just as sweet as your bucket of candy (without all of the cavities).

Summer Blockbuster -- Automated Screening Lanes coming to an airport near you

Automated Screening Lanes are a state-of-the-art checkpoint technology that enhances security efficiency while decreasing the amount of time travelers spend during the security screening process. These lanes are currently in airports in New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Dallas, Chicago, Minneapolis, Miami, Houston, Newark, Seattle and Atlanta.

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Turkey trot on your way through the airport

Thanksgiving is a time for joy, a time for family, and of course a time for glorious, sumptuous, food! Traveling with these mouth-watering dishes, can sometimes be tricky, so find out what you can pack and what you should leave behind at home.

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The Spirit of the Season

Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa all begin in December. No matter the religious holiday, TSA has tips for items that you may be traveling with in celebration of the season.

best travel safety tips

Fly Like Rudolph for the Holiday Season

Deck the moving walkways with your jolly selves as you venture off to your cozy destinations this holiday season! Since traveling with festive fare can sometimes be tricky, check out our tips below to make sure you and your fellow elves make it through the security checkpoint in a mistletoe minute.

Travel On The Fly

10 Air Travel Safety Tips (Ultimate Guide For 2023)

Table of Contents

Airline travel is one of the safest methods of transportation on earth. All airlines, including every staff and crew member, will always put safety first and it is the top priority for everyone in the aviation industry. 

I can attest to that as I have worked in the aviation industry as a pilot for over 20 years. I have never once seen safety, not a top priority. 

Air travel safety does not come without its challenges, however. Huge amounts of money and training are involved in certifying aircrew members to ensure your safety as a passenger on board a plane. Sometimes it may not seem that the aircrew has your best interest in mind, but trust me they do!

There are many things that you as a passenger can do to help the safety of yourself and others on board the plane. In this post, I will show you 10 Air Travel Safety Tips that you can use to ensure your flight is more comfortable and safe.

Is Airline Travel Safe?

This is a question that gets asked so often. Everyone who travels is always thinking about it. First-time air travelers often wonder if airline travel is safe ─ and just how safe is it?

The answer is, airline travel is the safest mode of transportation available. If you look at the numbers, flying is much safer than driving. It might feel more dangerous though because plane crashes are more catastrophic, they kill more people, and play into our fears of flying. Car crashes, on the other hand, occur daily and are constantly happening and spread the losses over more time, making their effects much less noticeable.

According to thenational.ae , globally in 2017, 4.1 billion passengers traveled by air, with a total of just 50 fatalities from accidents involving scheduled commercial flights.

Image credit thenational.ae

Also according to IATA , International Air Transport Association, in 2015 there was one commercial jet accident per 4.5 million flights.

So is airline travel safe? Yes, it is. 

Rules For Airplane Travel

There are many rules and regulations that must be followed when traveling by airplane. Not only do the legal rules need to be followed, but each airline will have its own guidelines and safety regulations as well. The policies and procedures could be different from one airline to the next.

My suggestion is to review the specific airlines’ guidelines prior to travel. Most of this information is available online, but you can always contact customer service via telephone.

I recently wrote an article explaining some pre-travel checklist items that will help you prepare. Also, more information regarding baggage limits, first-time flyers tips, and other air travel advice can be found here.

Here are 10 air travel safety tips that you should follow when traveling on all airlines.

#1. Flight Attendant Passenger Briefing – Safety Procedures

best travel safety tips

If you only end up listening to one of my tips on the list, hopefully, it’s this one. I can’t say this enough. It is so important that every passenger on board listens to the flight attendants passenger safety briefing.

I have been witness to thousands of passengers completely ignoring the safety briefings, despite the announcements that require you to do so. This briefing is something that only takes a few minutes of your time and could be critical in a life and death situation. Besides, what else are you doing anyway while sitting on the plane waiting to take off?

If you are sitting in the emergency exit row, the flight attendants will give you a special briefing on how to operate the door in the event of an emergency. They will only allow passengers who are willing and capable of accepting this responsibility to sit in this row.

Paying attention to the briefing and reading the safety card in the seat pouch just may save your life or someone else’s in the event of an emergency. As an airline pilot, I know the crew members will appreciate you paying attention. Avoid sleeping, playing games, reading the paper or talking during the briefing. Your life may depend on it!

#2. Keep Your Seat Belt Fastened At All Times

If you listen to the safety briefing, you will notice that you must keep your seat belt on at all times. Yes even when the seat belt sign is turned off, which only the pilots can do .

It is possible that the aircraft could experience turbulence unexpectedly, and serious injury could result if your belt is not fastened. Not only that, but serious injury to others is possible if you are not secure.

#3. Dress Properly

Not many people think of this but it is important to dress properly while traveling on an airplane. Being comfortable will help you move easier if needed, and also certain materials like cotton are known to protect your skin.

Also avoid high heel shoes, for obvious reasons. Not a great idea to be running from an airplane or going down an evacuation slide in high heels!

Here are 10 things you should never wear on board a plane .

#4. Be Aware Of Your Location On The Plane

best travel safety tips

As part of the safety briefing mentioned earlier, you should always know where your seat is located in relation to the aircraft doors. Most large airliners will have emergency exits at the front, middle and back of the plane. Have a look to see which exit is closest to you in the event of an evacuation.

Also, know that the aircraft floor has illuminated lighting directions to point you in the direction of an exit if the visibility is reduced.

#5. Avoid Alcohol

It is very easy to become dehydrated on an aircraft. The longer the flight, the worse it can be. Make sure to drink lots of liquids. Water is hands down the best choice. If you can, try to avoid coffee, tea and fruit juices.

Alcoholic drinks are a poor choice when flying for many reasons. They don’t help combat dehydration. They also have a stronger effect in the thinner air of an aircraft at altitude. I have seen it far too many times, someone will have a few drinks in the air and it leads to a bad situation.

Alcohol also makes it tougher when trying to avoid jet lag.

#6. Have Respect For The Crew Members

I honestly can’t believe how many times I have seen aircrew members being treated poorly by passengers. Some people just have no respect for the people in charge of looking after them and saving their life when called upon.

Being rude, incompliant with rules, offensive, or harmful has no place on board an airplane. The airlines have strict policies in place to deal with passengers who behave badly. Most times it ends up in an arrest from police. This type of behavior is not acceptable; it has huge safety implications and won’t be tolerated in any way.

#7. Keep Heavy Objects Out Of The Overhead Bins

best travel safety tips

This is something to be aware of in the event of turbulence, that the overhead bins may accidentally open. This could cause injury to you or others around you. The overhead bins are for storing carry on items, not large heavy items. Larger items should be placed in the aircraft as checked luggage.

#8. Wear Air Compression Socks

If you are traveling on a long flight, you can periodically get up and move around to stretch. This is good for your health. It’s normal for your body to struggle with good blood circulation on longer flights. Walk up and down the aisles. Walk to the bathroom and back. You can even just stand in the aisle next to your row for a period of time. Even just doing some stretching or twisting movements in your seat will help. All these will reduce discomfort from swollen legs and feet and help prevents poor circulation problems and deep vein thrombosis.

Additionally, to help to prevent this, I highly recommend a pair of air travel compression socks . These will help prevent swelling and blood clotting on a long flight. They will help keep your circulation going. Perfect for swollen calves and ankles. Taking a little extra time to walk around the airport on your layovers or between flights just to get some extra exercise even if you don’t feel a need to do it can pay off towards the end of a really long journey.

#9. Oxygen Masks

Properly knowing how to use your oxygen mask is crucial. Every seat on board the plane should have an oxygen mask available above your head. This mask will automatically fall down in the event of an unequal pressure inside the aircraft cabin.

The first step is to always secure your own mask first before helping other people around you. This is very important due to the fact that you will not be able to help anyone if you are incapacitated. This will be demonstrated during the safety briefing as well.

#10 Emergency Evacuations

In the unlikely event of an emergency evacuation, it is very important to follow the procedures that are outlined by the crew members. This includes leaving behind your personal belongings like luggage.

Trying to get your carry-on baggage from under the seat or the overhead bin delays the evacuation. This puts yourself and others at risk.

As you can see, there are many things that you can do in order to stay safe on board the airplane. Following some basic rules will go along way in keeping yourself and others safe. I recommend following these 10 air travel safety tips for all flights you might travel on. The rules apply to everyone.

Hopefully, you enjoyed this guide and found it helpful.

Thanks for reading!

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Research Your Destination

Customs and norms in other countries can be very different from those in the United States. Check out our Country Information pages to find specific information for every country in the world. You'll get info on visa requirements, safety and security conditions, crime, health and medical considerations, local laws, areas to avoid, and more. Enroll in our Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to get information about health and safety in your destination country. Enrolling in STEP also allows the U.S. embassy and/or consulate to contact you in an emergency.

Be Aware of Local Customs and Norms

Some countries have rules or norms that differ from the United States. For example, in some countries, tight-fitting clothes, sleeveless shirts, and shorts are not acceptable. Pack essential items that will help you blend in with the local culture. Review our Country Information pages to learn about norms and customs in your destination.

Freedom of Speech

Some countries have laws protecting free speech and peaceful assembly, including protesting, in a way that is similar to the United States. But other countries have more restrictive laws. In some countries, talking openly or posting on social media about sensitive subjects can lead to fines or arrest. For more information, check out the State Department's Human Rights reports for specific country information.

Prohibited Items

Review our Customs and Import Restrictions page to find out what items may not be allowed into or out of your destination country. These restrictions may include items such as over-the-counter medications, drugs, alcohol, contraceptives, religious items, and literature. Items allowed in the United States might not be permitted in other countries.

Public Transport

The safety of public transportation varies from country to country. In many places, informal taxis or minibuses can be dangerous. This may especially affect those traveling alone. Find out what is and is not safe from reliable sources, such as local authorities or tourism officials.

Consider these transport tips:

  • Arrange transport to and from the airport before you arrive, from a licensed and reputable company.
  • Do not hitchhike.
  • Research taxi and other ride share companies before you go. Make sure they are licensed and reputable.
  • Consider using app-based transportation companies, which offer a record of your ride. This is unlike hailing a ride on the street. Some companies also allow a rider to share their real-time ride record to another phone. This record is useful to identify the vehicle and driver later.
  • Avoid traveling in busy sections of train cars or on crowded buses. Public transportation can make pickpocketing easier.

Travel Accommodations

Review our Lodging Safety page and do the following:

  • Research accommodations carefully and read their reviews for safety concerns. Additionally, have backup accommodations.
  • Arrange your accommodation before you travel. You are more likely to be vulnerable when you first land in a country with unfamiliar surroundings.
  • Don't tell strangers where you are staying.
  • Secure room keys, IDs, and other personal items.
  • Lock windows and doors when inside your room.
  • Bring a door wedge or portable door jammer to use at night.

Be Aware of Risks

  • To prevent theft, avoid carrying or wearing anything expensive.
  • Use your best judgement to avoid unsafe situations. Think ahead and come up with a safety plan to deal with unsafe situations, in the event you end up in one. Consider bringing personal safety whistles/alarms and taking self-defense courses before you travel.
  • Find out where emergency services like police stations and hospitals are located nearby in case of an emergency.
  • Don't share detailed travel information on social media until you return.
  • Make sure your phone and other personal devices have a "find my phone" or similar GPS tracker for emergencies. Consider sharing your location with a trusted contact back home in case of an emergency.
  • Download map applications that work with GPS instead of data to ensure you have access to local maps and routes. Keep your mobile device charged.
  • Tell someone you trust back home about your travel plans. Include where you'll stay, any far-away destinations from your accommodation, and an emergency contact.

Watch Your Drink

U.S. citizens can be targeted by criminals who seek to drug them in order to sexually assault or steal from them. Typically, the drugs are added to the victim's drink without their knowledge. Victims usually cannot tell that their drink has been drugged, and substances like Rohypnol, ketamine, and scopolamine can make a person unconscious and defenseless. Always watch your drink, and physically cover it with your hand if you can.

  • If meeting with a stranger, you should strongly consider meeting only in public places and avoiding isolated locations, such as residences or hotel rooms, where crimes are most likely to occur.
  • Do not accept drinks from strangers.
  • Be aware of how much alcohol you are drinking. Notice any unusual physical symptoms outside of intoxication.
  • If you start to feel strange or sick, tell a trusted friend if you can, and call emergency authorities right away. You can call the local police or the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate . If you are assaulted, get medical care and resources from the nearest hospital or medical center. Contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate for information on getting help and medical care in the country you are in.

Other Useful inks

  • SaferTravel.org provides travel safety tips and information for travelers to over 350 destinations.

If you have safety and security concerns, contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Reach out to the American Citizens Services unit.

You can also reach out to the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs in Washington, D.C. at 888-407-4747 or 202-501-4444. Officers are available to help you in an emergency.

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12 Top Safety Tips for International Travel

Safety advice for international trips.

safety tips

Few things are more exciting than traveling internationally. When going abroad, you experience all the beautiful cultures that make up our world. Many people are wary of international travel, fearing that it is dangerous. For the most part, traveling throughout the world is very safe. This being said, there are safety precautions that every traveler should employ to ensure that their trip remains a joyous one. Here are 12 top safety tips for international travel .

  • Get a Checkup and the Appropriate Vaccines: Always have a physical before your trip to ensure that you are healthy enough to travel abroad, and make sure that you understand the health concerns of the country you are planning to visit. Numerous worldwide travel destinations require vaccinations before your arrival, so make sure that you know the immunizations you need and that you are immunized before your trip.
  • Make Electronic Copies of Your Documents: You’ll be carrying the necessary documentation with you when traveling abroad. Create an electronic backup of your immunization record, itinerary, medical insurance card, passport, plane tickets, travel insurance , and visas before you leave. Email the file to yourself and keep it in your inbox so you can access the information from your smartphone should the paperwork be lost or damaged.
  • Don’t Carry Everything Together: It might be tempting to keep your cash, credit cards, identification, and traveler’s checks in your wallet, but don’t do it. Keep any money, credit cards, IDs, and checks you won’t be using locked in your hotel room safe. Separate the monetary and identifying items you must carry on you and carry them in different spots on your person. This safety tip prevents you from losing everything should somebody steal your wallet.
  • Don’t Carry Things in Your Back Pocket: Speaking of theft, pickpocketing is common in specific areas around the world, and yes, pickpockets have been known to target tourists. Do not keep anything in your back pocket, including your wallet, a small purse, your hotel room keys… anything! Doing so opens you up to becoming an easy target for the swift hand of a pickpocket.

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Ways to Stay Safe When Traveling Abroad

  • Keep Items to Your Front: Another thing you might be tempted to do is hang your purse on the back of your chair on a sidewalk or set your bags down at your feet. This isn’t a good idea, either, because your attention will be attracted to the new sights around you. Keep your bags in your lap or at the front of your feet under the table, with the straps wrapped around your leg.
  • Look Back When Leaving: The previous tip often helps prevent leaving things behind; after all, if you have your purse strap wrapped around your leg, you’ll trip over it if you don’t remove it. People do, however, leave personal items behind all the time when they’re ready to move on to their next destination. Look back at where you were sitting as you’re leaving to make sure you didn’t forget your purse, shopping bags, or anything else of importance.
  • Leave the “Bling” at Home: It might be tempting to wear your favorite jewelry throughout your trip or take pictures with that new, costly camera, but in the interest of your safety, don’t. If you tour your international destination dressed to the nines and wearing expensive jewelry, you are announcing to potential thieves that you are a worthy mugging target. Keep it simple and appropriate for the place you are visiting, and hide your camera in a case when you aren’t using it.
  • Don’t Talk to Strangers: Of course, you’ll be talking to the people of the land you are visiting – that’s the best part of traveling, meeting new people! Don’t get carried away, however, and begin to trust strangers with your life story or personal information. Think about what you say to your children and stick to your advice. Don’t talk to strangers who don’t look trustworthy, do not accept food or drink from them, and do not go somewhere with them unless they are your licensed tour guide and you’re on your booked tour.
  • Don’t Solicit Panhandlers: Many nations have areas that suffer from poverty just as we do here in the U.S. It is crucial not to traverse these areas without the proper guides. It is even more important not to give beggars cash or any of your belongings. Of course, you want to help them out, but if you are genuinely interested in finding ways to aid the poverty-stricken in the land you are visiting, research local charities and donate that way.
  • Don’t Try to Be a Hero: The flip side of the previous tip is don’t try to be a hero if you, unfortunately, become the victim of a mugging. Rather than attempt to fight the perpetrator, give your belongings up. Cash, credit cards, identification, and traveler’s checks are not worth injury or death. Give the items up quickly, and once you’re out of danger, proceed to the nearest U.S. Consulate or appropriate authority to report the incident.
  • Avoid Using Your Credit Card at Internet Cafes: With the advent of the Internet, criminals have found a new way to commit identity theft. Internet cafes are trendy among travelers. They are a quick and easy way to grab a cup of coffee while emailing the latest details of your adventure to your family and friends. Criminals keep a wary eye and use key logger software on the computers in Internet cafes to obtain your credit card information, so pay for the computer use with cash.
  • Be Properly Insured: Many people think they do not need travel insurance , and nothing could be further from the truth. Your health insurance might offer you some international coverage. Still, the chances are good that it doesn’t fully cover potential illness, injury, or even death when you are on foreign soil. Your belongings must also be insured for the simple reason that anything might happen to them. Make sure that you, your fellow travelers, and everything you are taking on the trip is properly insured before leaving. If you are traveling for work, check with HR to see if they have a business travel insurance plan for employees.
Terrorism We have created a couple of relevant articles to help you plan your trip : Terrorism and Travel Abroad and Tips and Advice: When Terror Happens on your International Trip to help you prepare for and stay safe in a terrorist attack.

I sincerely hope this list of travel safety tips doesn’t discourage you from traveling abroad. Instead, I hope this list encourages you. Traveling worldwide is one of the most rewarding experiences; it doesn’t have to be dangerous. If you employ precautionary measures before and during your trip, you will have a wonderful and unforgettable time on your international vacation.

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Author: Joe Cronin , Founder and President of International Citizens Insurance . Mr. Cronin, a former expat, is an authority in the areas of international travel, and global health, life, and travel insurance, with expertise in advising individuals and groups on benefits for today's global workforce. Follow him on LinkedIn or Twitter .

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20 Best Travel safety tips: How to stay safe while traveling

Looking for ways to stay safe while traveling? Here are the best international travel safety tips that will guide you.

Have you booked for your long-awaited trip to your bucket list destination? Or just visiting a new city that was recommended by fellow travelers?

With all the excitement that comes with visiting a new place, you might forget to take into consideration the country’s or city’s safety. 

Even though you can’t guarantee your safety 100%, there are some safety tips for traveling to follow to make sure you’re at least safe at all times. But before you go for a trip of a lifetime, here are some of the travel safety tips that you should know.

Pro tip about safety while traveling

The world and media have tried to paint a negative picture of safety while traveling. But let’s face it, bad things can happen from anywhere, whether abroad or your home town.

I’ve personally been robbed a lot from my home city than when traveling abroad but you just need to be a little careful and apply the general safety tips anywhere you go.

This post is not about showing you how unsafe the world is when you travel, but to show you that sometimes things go wrong and when they do, its better to know what to do and also be more aware of them so that you don’t fall a victim.

But to make sure you stay safe while traveling, here are some of the travel essentials not to leave behind.

Travel essentials to help you travel safely. – An Anti-theft money belt : To keep your money safe while walking around the city, I recommend buying this  anti-theft money belt . – A  Pacsafe  is a must-have in order to keep your expensive travel items safe within the hotel. – A travel neck Pouch:  To keep all your most important documents safe, including your passport,  buy this travel neck pouch  that you can even wear around your neck. It has different compartments to keep everything safe and organized. Other travel essentials not to leave behind when traveling – A universal travel adapter : Since different countries use different adapters, I’d advise you to buy one universal travel adapter to cater for all regions. You can  buy one from here  if you don’t have it yet. – A power Bank: One of the things you should never leave behind while traveling is the Powerbank! Phones have now become a great deal of our lives that we need to use them for so many important things. So take a power bank with you so that you don’t run out of battery. This power bank is small, light, and has the capability to charge your phone and other devices multiple times. – Microfibre travel towel:  I always opt for  this microfibre travel towel   because it is super lightweight, easy to wash, and dries easily. – First Aid kit : Regardless of where you’re traveling to, you’ll need to pack a First Aid kit for emergencies that might arise while traveling. Remember it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Just make sure that the one you pack has all the essentials and that it is small and light enough to fit in any kind of suitcase/ backpack.  This first aid kit   actually fits all the qualities mentioned above plus it is really cheap for what it offers. – Collapsible water bottle: I always prefer carrying a water bottle while traveling so that I can just refill it when I run out of water. It also helps to be a responsible traveler since you won’t have to use tons of disposable plastic bottles which are not great for our environment. Any water bottle can work but I prefer  this collapsible one  as it doesn’t take a lot of space in my bag.

International travel safety tips you should know as a traveler

how to stay safe while traveling abroad

1. Stay street smart as you travel.

The major common safety threat in almost all major cities in the world is the street robbery. This ranges from pickpocketing to using cunning methods to take away your belongings without your knowledge.

If you’re traveling through crowded places, it’s better to keep your belongings in a place that is visible to you at all times.

And it’s better to wear your  daypack  in front instead of the behind to avoid someone picking your stuff without realizing it. You can also wear a  money belt  that makes it absolutely impossible for anyone to steal your money.

Also, instead of carrying credit cards, carry cash as it’s hard to have any major problems when using cash. Another way to stay safe on the streets is by not carrying expensive items.

Related post: Big mistakes to avoid while traveling

2. Check the political and security conditions of the country you’re visiting.

You don’t want to end up in a war zone because you didn’t research the country’s or city’s stability in terms of security.

However much you were excited about the trip, if there is instability in that area, cancel it immediately; Your security is more important than a day’s adventure.

3. Be aware of the extreme weather conditions of the country you’re visiting.

Staying safe while traveling is not only about wars and political instability in the country you plan to visit, but also the weather conditions.

Some countries experience extreme weather conditions and traveling to such places during those times might be dangerous to your safety.

Always try to follow the weather forecast on AccuWeather or Google weather to find out whether the weather conditions are favorable to you.

For example, for your safety, I wouldn’t advise you to visit areas that are likely to be hit by floods, hurricanes, mudslides, or even earthquakes.

4. Inform your friends and families about your travel plans.

Regardless of whether you’re traveling with someone or solo, it’s important to share your travel plans with a few trusted friends and family members.

It is a smart safety travel tip to ensure that someone is aware of your whereabouts, God forbid if something were to happen to you.

I don’t want to seem like I am scaring you but letting someone know where you are is important- let them know which hotel/hostel you’re staying at plus their contact details so they can easily get in touch with you in cases where they can’t reach you on your personal contacts.

Related post: Mistakes to avoid while hiking

5. Move with copies of your travel documents and identification.

This might seem like a known fact but you’ll be surprised by how many travelers overlook this. Always carry a photocopy of your passport. On top of that, note down the location of your hotel/hostel on a piece of paper in case you were to lose your phone.

On the same note, include details of emergency / next of kin contacts that can easily be contacted in case you’re in trouble.

Again I don’t mean to scare you, but since staying safe while traveling is paramount, it is better to take precautions- better safe than sorry, right?

international travel safety tips

6. Get travel insurance

For some travelers, travel insurance might seem like a ripoff but the time your $1000 dollars camera gets robbed is when you’ll realize how much important and cheaper travel insurance is.

Having travel insurance doesn’t mean that you’ll be careless with your valuables but it gives you confidence knowing that your items are insured and if anything was to happen, insurance can cover it.

Confused about which travel insurance to opt for,  World nomads insurance  is highly recommended by many travelers and you can easily apply for it online regardless of where you are at that moment.

Insuring your valuables is not enough, make sure you insure yourself as well by obtaining health insurance. In some countries, it might be hard to access health care as a foreigner if you don’t have health insurance.

So, to avoid all that trouble if you, unfortunately, fall sick or get injured, get yourself health insurance before you travel abroad. Get a quote by filling out the form below.

Related post: Things to do before traveling abroad

7. Be aware of the common travel scams

There are some travel scams that are almost everywhere in the world. Even though they are known worldwide, if you don’t know them individually, you’re likely to get taken advantage of.

Here are some of the common travel scams worldwide that you should look out for.

  •  A taxi driver using a longer route to charge you more. To avoid this, make sure you know where you’re going or follow the route using maps.
  • Beggars on the streets. With this, most people stage kids, the lame or a woman carrying a child so that you feel sympathy and give them money. This is very common in  Africa  and some parts of Asia .
  • A friendly local who knows the best and cheapest shops around town. This will start with a local approaching you especially if you’re near a shopping center. He/she will convince you that he knows the best shops with good quality items and he/she can help you bargain for the local price. But instead, he will end up taking you to his own shop where the items might be of poor quality and extremely expensive. How to avoid this is to be able to read between the lines and try to go shopping on your own and use your bargaining skills instead of relying on other people.

Related post: How to plan a trip from scratch

8. Find out the location of your country’s embassy in the country you’re traveling to. (if there’s one)

One of the best ways to stay safe while traveling is to find out where your home embassy is as they’re likely to care more about your safety in a foreign land.

Knowing their location is not enough, note down their phone numbers to easily contact them should you get in any kind of trouble that might require their assistance.

9. Don’t be big-headed; obey the laws of the country you’re visiting.

I’ve heard of some travelers that got in trouble in a foreign country because they refused to follow the laws of the country.

I am sure you wouldn’t want someone to come to your house and start breaking the rules you set.

It’s kinda the same here, even if you don’t believe in some of the laws in that country, obey them not to get on the wrong side of the law. If you’re an obedient and respectful person, this shouldn’t be hard at all.

international travel safety tips

10. Register your travel plans with your government.

This might sound irrelevant to you but it is actually a great tip to stay safe while traveling. This can be helpful in case a tragedy occurs in the area you visiting, your government will try to look for you to make sure you’re safe.

Even if you don’t support the government in leadership, this is mostly to your benefit as you’ll have a bigger organ looking out for you.

Also, if you’re an American national, you can register with the  Smart Travel Enrollment program  which will always update you on all the safety conditions of the destination you’re in and they can easily get in touch with you if there are any disasters arising.

Related post: What to pack for a road trip

11. Trust your instincts.

While traveling, if something doesn’t feel right, just move on. If walking at night in a remote area doesn’t feel right ( which shouldn’t actually) then don’t do it.

Instead of regretting it later on, trust your guard and follow it- the good news is that your guard is always right in most cases.

12. Ask the locals of what they think of their country’s safety.

There is no one that knows that country like the locals. So talk to locals and ask all the necessary questions about security and safety ( of course if they are kind enough to answer). Some of the questions you could ask include;

  • Whether they feel safe in their country.
  • Cases of insecurity reported in the country
  • Whether it’s safe for tourists
  • Best way to skip the country’s travel scams
  • Whether it’s safe to walk at night
  • The safe and unsafe areas ( if any)
  • And finally the general travel tips on how to stay safe in that particular area.

Related post: How to plan an epic road trip

13. Be friendly but not over trusting with strangers.

However friendly a stranger might be, don’t be quick to trust them completely. Let’s face it, it’s hard to completely know someone’s intentions in the shortest amount of time.

So, instead of telling them which hotel you’re staying at, choose to tell them a neighboring hotel in the city.

And if someone asks whether it’s your first time visiting that area, say no or go with the “you’re visiting family and friends” line. If that person was planning to make you a target, he might change his mind and move onto the next target.

how to stay safe while traveling abroad

14. Inform your bank or credit card provider about your travels.

It will be really inconveniencing after taking into account all the tips for traveling safely, only for your bank to freeze your credit/debit cards with the assumption that someone is stealing from you or dealing in credit card fraud.

So, before you travel, make sure you inform your bank about your travels. This is easy as in most cases some online banking services have an option of letting them know that you’ll be traveling so that there are no misunderstandings.

15. Hide emergency cash.

One thing I’ve learned during my travels is to always hide emergency cash. This not only works for international travels but also locally.

Imagine getting mugged and all your money is taken and you’re left with nothing to even take you back to your hotel.

I always advise travelers to keep money in different places- some in your bag, some in your pocket and if you’re a woman, keep some in your bra! Yes, you read it right- in your bra.

Most people laugh when I tell them that but I’ve found it a really great travel safety tip as it’s less likely for anyone to even think that you have money there.

Recently a friend of mine told me that he fell a victim of a pickpocket in Namibia and all his money was taken. He had to walk some good distance at night to even get to his hotel. But if he had some emergency cash hidden somewhere on him, he wouldn’t have walked all that distance at night.

Related post: Airport tips and hacks that will make you a pro traveler

16. Don’t make yourself a target by looking like a tourist.

Most wicked people and scammers target tourists, so if you scream tourist, by all means, you’re likely to be their next target.

Instead of looking scared and lost (however much you might be), try not to show it. Instead, walk up to a place that seems highly established and ask for directions.

17. Don’t flash money and expensive items around.

Even though anyone can be robbed, but travelers that flash money and expensive items around have higher chances of being robbed.

Be the responsible tourist that protects his valuables. Instead of flashing them around, keep them in your Pacsafe at your hotel if the hotel doesn’t provide a safe locker. Don’t own a Pacsafe yet? You can  buy one from here .

18. Don’t leave your valuables unattended to

In addition to not flashing expensive valuables, never leave your property unattended to at all times.

If you’re traveling alone and happen to for example go to a swimming pool, instead of leaving your property alone as you swim, you can ask the pool staff to help look over them. This might sound extra to some people, but better safe than sorry.

19. Don’t walk late at night in unsafe neighborhoods.

I am sure you already know this but I will say it again. Most of the crimes happen late in the night since there is barely anyone to save you.

So, instead of risking your life and property walking alone at night, why not stay indoors but if you choose to go out at night, walk in a group or else call for an Uber to take you back to wherever you’re staying.

20. Stay away from dangerous activities

how to stay safe while traveling

Dangerous activities vary from individual to individual; what I consider dangerous might be absolutely safe for you. If an activity seems unsafe for you, just skip it even if everyone else is doing it.

I know traveling means loosening up, ticking activities off the bucket list , and getting out of your comfort zone, but if something puts your health in danger, forego it.

I know people who are afraid of taking a motorcycle in  Uganda  because they feel unsafe on it but would easily bungee jump in South Africa on the world’s highest bungee. So it all goes back to what activity you think is safe.

With all that in mind, there are obvious security risks while traveling anywhere but that doesn’t mean we will stop traveling.

I mean you could be exposed to the same kind of risks even when you decide to stay in your city. All you have to do is to be a little careful and more aware of your surroundings.

Now that you know all the travel safety tips, it’s time to  book your flight  to that destination you’ve been longing to visit. You can also  book your hotel stay from here  before you go.

Don’t forget to stay safe at all times!!

More posts to help you plan your travels

  • Camping tips for beginners
  • Big mistakes to avoid while camping
  • What to pack for a day hike
  • Mistakes to avoid while backpacking

Was this post of the best international travel safety tips helpful? Then please share it with others

Looking for tips to traveling safely? Read this post to get the top 20 travel safety tips #safetytipsfrotraveling #travelerssafetytips

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Thank you for the tips. Blessing to you, Gail

Traveling is an exhilarating experience, but it’s important to prioritize safety. Your travel safety tips post provides valuable insights for globetrotters like myself. From researching destinations and securing travel insurance to staying vigilant and aware of local customs, these tips are indispensable for a worry-free journey. I particularly appreciate your emphasis on maintaining copies of important documents and staying connected with loved ones during travels.

Thanks for this, Esther! Really helpful tips to cover when travelling! Things everyone should think about whilst planning their travels.

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I've traveled to over 80 countries by myself. Here are 8 things I do to stay safe.

  • After traveling solo since I was 18, I've hit over 80 countries.
  • I've made my fair share of mistakes, but I've learned how to stay safe while traveling alone.
  • Simple measures, like sharing my location, have helped me avoid unwanted situations.

Insider Today

I've been traveling on my own since I was 18. After visiting over 80 countries and 13 years of trial and error, I've learned a few important safety tips.

Although flight prices seem to be rising ahead of the summer surge, they're significantly cheaper than this time last year, so I'm itching to plan my next trip.

I follow these rules everywhere I travel — it doesn't matter how upscale or "safe" the destination is supposed to be.

Although some situations are unavoidable, here's what I do to stay safe and alert while traveling solo.

I always share my location and itinerary with someone close to me.

best travel safety tips

Before a trip, I always share my flight and hotel information with my mom. I've also gotten into the habit of sharing my live location with her (indefinitely).

Other than the fact that it gives her a sense of security, I know that if anything were to happen (or if she doesn't hear from me when expecting to), she would have enough information to make a few calls and confirm I'm safe.

It only takes a few minutes but can make a huge difference in the long run.

Wearing a flat crossbody or belt bag under my clothing is key.

best travel safety tips

I always avoid wearing backpacks and those trendy see-through bags — there's no need to make someone curious. I don't like having my purse and valuables super exposed because it makes me a prime target for pickpockets.

Although it's easier to wear belt bags in colder environments when I'm wearing layers, I can still manage in lighter clothing.

Lululemon's Everywhere Belt Bag, Athleta's Pacesetter Run Belt, and Peak Gear's Travel Money Belt have been my go-to for traveling . They're small and thin enough to wear under my clothing but can hold my essentials (cash, credit cards, a phone, my passport, and copies of my ID).

I don’t wear my expensive bling or designer pieces.

best travel safety tips

I typically want to look good for photos, but wearing expensive clothing and stand-out jewelry always attracts unwanted attention.

Wearing shiny necklaces and a stack of bangles while sporting a Gucci tracksuit makes it look like I have money, which is the opposite of what I want someone to think when I'm traveling alone.

It also means I'm less likely to successfully negotiate or barter a good price on items in markets.

There are basic things I research about each city or town I’ll be staying in.

best travel safety tips

I'm a super spontaneous traveler. Although I usually have a list of places I want to visit, I rarely follow a day-by-day itinerary.

Regardless, once I know where I'm going, I always take time to plan which area to stay in and book hotels in advance . I try to find the best neighborhoods, then I explore a list of hotel options and select them based on reviews, location, and overall vibe.

I also always ask the front desk staff if there are any areas I should avoid once I check in — not everything is online.

Sometimes, I'll even look for female-oriented hotels or ones with mostly female staff members because that makes me feel a little more comfortable.

Looking lost or scared is asking for trouble.

best travel safety tips

How you carry yourself is a big deal. If I'm lost, I typically use the Maps.me app, which allows me to use maps even while offline.

I try to pop into a coffee shop — or even a bathroom stall — to look at the map and get my bearings. If I can't find a place to make a pitstop, I'll walk to a more populated area with lots of traffic.

If worse comes to worse, I'll just hail a taxi to take me back to my hotel.

Looking lost makes it pretty obvious you're a tourist and gives the impression that you're willing to accept help from anyone. Unfortunately, some people take advantage of situations like that.

For the same reasons, I also never walk around looking frightened, even if I'm freaking out on the inside.

There are different transportation apps all over the world, so I make sure I have the right one.

best travel safety tips

Not everywhere has Uber or even many taxis. I always look up popular transportation apps wherever I'm traveling and download them on my phone.

I usually even enter and save my credit card information, so I'm ready to roll and don't find myself stuck when I reach the destination.

I make sure I have enough cash with me.

best travel safety tips

I've traveled to places where credit cards aren't widely accepted, or I can't withdraw cash from ATMs.

To avoid that panic, I always carry cash and exchange it for the local currency at the airport or hotel.

I don't keep it all on me when I'm exploring — I just carry some with me and leave the rest safely locked in my suitcase.

I've learned to not say yes to everything.

best travel safety tips

When I travel alone, I'm bound to meet new people, and sometimes they invite me to parties or for drinks. But I always politely decline.

Nothing good has ever come from drinking with strangers in a foreign place, in my experience. And I always want to be clear-minded enough to pick up on strange or dangerous situations.

I don't even share my plans with strangers I meet, and I never post my real-time locations on social media.

It might seem obvious, but I also don't accept rides from strangers because then they'll know my whereabouts.

best travel safety tips

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20 Steps to Help You Stay Safe this Summer

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As we all head outside to enjoy the sunshine and warm weather this summer, the American Red Cross offers 20 steps you can follow to help keep you safe.

Do your plans include a road trip?

With more people on the roads, it’s important to drive safely.

1.     Be well rested and alert, use your seat belts, observe speed limits and follow the rules of the road.

2.     If you plan on drinking alcohol, designate a driver who won’t drink.

3.     Avoid distractions such as cell phones.

4.     Use caution in work zones. There are lots of construction projects underway.

5.     Turn your headlights on as dusk approaches, or during inclement weather. Don’t overdrive your headlights.

Drowning can happen quickly and silently. Unless rescued, it could take as little as 20 to 60 seconds for a drowning person to submerge.

6.     Prevent unsupervised access to water, provide constant, active adult supervision and know how to swim.

7.     Swim in an area with lifeguards.

8.     Designate a “water watcher” whose sole responsibility is to keep a close eye and constant attention on everyone in and around the water until the next water watcher takes over.

9.     Don’t just pack it, wear your life jacket — always on a boat and if you are in a situation beyond your skill level.

10.  Reach or throw, don't go! In the event of an emergency, reach or throw an object to the person in trouble and tell them to grab on to it. Don’t go in! You could become a victim yourself.

Summer is a great time for a picnic. But be careful grilling, which causes 10,000 home fires every year.

11.  Wash your hands, utensils and workstation before preparing the food.

12.  Separate uncooked meats, poultry and seafood from ready-to-eat foods like salads, fruits, vegetables, cheeses and desserts. Use separate plates and utensils to prevent cross-contamination.

13.  Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use and never grill indoors. Keep the grill out in the open, away from the house, deck, tree branches or anything that could catch fire.

14.  Make sure everyone, including pets, stays away from the grill.

15.  Don’t leave food out in the hot sun. Keep perishable foods in a cooler with plenty of ice or freezer gel packs. 

Camping is one of the most popular outdoor recreational activities in the U.S. But being prepared for emergencies is critical when you’re headed to an area with limited access to phone services and help.

16.  Know the level of ability of the people in your group and the environment around you. Plan accordingly.

17.  Pack a first aid kit to handle insect stings, sprains, cuts and bruises and other injuries that could happen.

18.  Sprains and falls are some of the most common misfortunes travelers may face. Dehydration is also a danger. Take a Red Cross first aid and CPR/AED course and download the free First Aid app so that you will know what to do in case help is delayed.

19.  Share your travel plans and locations with a family member, neighbor or friend.

20.  Bring nutritious food items and water, light-weight clothing to layer and supplies for any pets.

Find more safety information here.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or CruzRojaAmericana.org , or follow us on social media.

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The 16 Best Travel Safety Products of 2024

From door alarms to fake wedding bands, here are your travel safety essentials.

best travel safety tips

In This Article

  • Our Top Picks
  • Tips for Buying
  • Why Trust T+L

Travel & Leisure / Kevin Liang

Ensuring your personal safety and well-being is just as important as making memories and enjoying la dolce vita while traveling (if not more so). Luckily, staying safe while abroad or on a trip across the country doesn’t take much to get right. Simply come prepared with a few travel-focused safety products to give you peace of mind while you’re on the move. 

We’ve rounded up some of the best safety products available, including those which we personally use. We especially love the Birdie Personal Safety Alarm, Monsin Door Stop Alarm, and Raytix RFID Money Belt, which can all help you stay safe in any situation you might encounter while traveling.

Best Door Wedge

Monsin door stop alarm.

This door stop doesn’t just block unwanted visitors — it actually includes a built-in alarm that will sound if someone tries to tamper with your hotel room door.

This alarm is very sensitive and could go off if room service or housekeeping staff attempt to enter your room.

It can be hard to fall asleep in a strange hotel room — even if it’s a plush five-star property. Whether you’re traveling solo or have a travel buddy sharing your room, the Monsin Door Stop Alarm is a great option for giving you peace of mind while you’re sleeping. Just wedge it into the closed hotel room door and it’ll keep unwanted visitors out by acting as a powerful doorstop. This option also comes with a built-in alarm that will ring if anyone tries to tamper with or open your door.

Best Secondary Door Lock

Winonly travel door lock for hotel rooms.

This budget-friendly door-locking system adds another layer of security to your hotel room and is pretty simple to set up.

This option might not fit very well on doors that have weatherproofing or other large seams along the doorframe.

The Winonly Travel Door Lock for Hotel Rooms is a great safety alternative for travelers who don’t want an alarm triggered when hotel staff enter the room for cleaning or turn-down services. Use this portable door lock by attaching it to the hole on the door jam, then inserting the red handle into the lock-in-place. It’s quick and efficient to use and install, and can also be easily removed in the dark for emergencies that require quick evacuation.

Best Personal Alarm

Birdie personal safety alarm.

This personal safety alarm is small, subtle, and can easily be slipped into your pocket or handbag.

Some reviewers note that this alarm should be louder and more offensive, especially for those traveling in big cities.

You never know when a personal safety alarm will come in handy — even in your own hometown or city. This alarm will immediately draw attention to you if your personal safety is threatened, if you encounter a pickpocket, or find yourself in any other unsavory situation.

This small device looks more like a USB drive than a personal safety alarm, and it fits conveniently into your pocket or handbag so you can keep it on you at all times. The compact alarm system sounds when you remove the top pin. To turn it off, just slide the pin back into place. 

Best Motion Detector

Crevant portable mini motion detector alarm.

This compact motion detector is ultra-lightweight and small, so it’s easy to slip into a suitcase or carry-on bag.

The instructions aren’t very clear which makes the initial setup a bit difficult.

This small but mighty portable miniature motion detector alarm is a great alternative (or add-on) to a door wedge or door alarm. The compact safety product is extremely quick to trigger the alarm if it senses movement in the direction it's pointed — making it a great option for larger hotel rooms or suites where you don’t have your eye on the entrance at all times. Make sure to keep the “Do Not Disturb” sign on your door so you don’t set off a false alarm when housekeeping or other hotel staff attempt to enter your room.

Best Retractable Cable Lock

Lewis n clark triple security lock.

This cable lock offers extra strong, triple-security material that ensures it can’t be cut through or tampered with.

The lock itself can sometimes be finicky and may take a few minutes to get open.

Travel safety products range beyond personal safety items — to ensure a safe trip, you’ll also need to think about keeping your belongings secure while en route, and when you’re out and about. That’s where the Lewis N Clark Triple Security Lock comes in. This extra-strength lock can prevent thieves from getting into your handbag or backpack — even your bike bag . It’s also TSA-approved, which means you can use it on your checked luggage without worrying about having it cut off or confiscated while in transit.

Best Luggage Tracker

Eufy smarttrack link.

  • Ease of Setup 5 /5
  • Accuracy 5 /5
  • Functionality 5 /5
  • Design 4.5 /5

This subtle and compact tracker can easily be thrown in your handbag, backpack, or suitcase.

It is only compatible with Apple devices.

Most frequent flyers will tell you to buy a luggage tracker immediately if you plan on checking your luggage or taking a large carry-on on the plane with you. Adding the Eufy SmartTrack Link to your suitcase will allow you to easily track your belongings at all times. So if you do end up losing your luggage while in transit, you can pinpoint where it is — which can actually help the airline crew to expedite the process of getting your luggage back to you. We found the Eufy SmartTrack Link to be easy to use with Apple's Find My app, so you don't waste time learning a new system or downloading additional apps.

Best Portable Safe

Pacsafe travelsafe portable safe.

This portable safe isn’t imposing or heavy like a traditional metal safe — but it’ll keep your valuables just as secure while on the move.

The slim shape and flat bottom make it difficult to fit items like laptops or cameras.

Keeping your gear secure while at the beach can be a challenge — especially for solo travelers who don’t have someone with them to watch their stuff while they take a dip in the water or grab a drink at the pool bar. That’s where the Pacsafe Travelsafe Gii 5 Liter Portable Safe comes in. This unique portable safe isn’t a traditional metal security box — instead it’s lightweight and easily portable for travel. Another key feature is that it can easily be locked to a tree or a pool chair, making it extremely difficult for potential thieves to make a stealthy getaway with your belongings.

Best Money Belt

Raytix rfid money belt.

  • Ease of Use 5 /5
  • Comfort 5 /5
  • Capacity 5 /5
  • Performance 5 /5
  • Quality 5 /5

This money belt fits beneath your clothing without looking bulky or obvious.

The small inside pocket is in the corner of the bag, so it's difficult to actually fit items inside.

If you’re more comfortable keeping your valuables hidden away in a discreet money belt than in a backpack or handbag, then you should absolutely consider the Raytix RFID Money Belt. When tested, we found it especially useful for carrying large amounts of cash or for storing passports on you for long periods of time.

This budget-friendly money belt is ultra-slim, discreet, and features RFID-blocking technology to ensure your cards stay safe from potential thieves. Plus, the two front pockets help keep you organized to access all items easily and quickly.

Best Anti-theft Backpack

Sherpani esprit at.

  • Capacity 3 /5

This backpack features a slash-resistant bottom, zippers that clasp together, and can be worn on your back or front.

The small front pocket is a bit too small for most smart phones.

This anti-theft crossbody backpack is a stylish yet functional option for any adventure. It can easily be worn on your front or back and the shoulder strap is secured with a clip, so you don't need to lift it over your head to put on or take off. It is made from recycled materials and features a slash-resistant bottom, plus other safety features like RFID protection, locking zippers, and a wire-loop chair lock.

This bag is also the perfect size for day trips and features plenty of pockets, including an exterior water bottle pocket and shoulder strap pocket to keep small essentials easily accessible. With seven fun colors and patterns to choose from, the Sherpani Espirit offers something for everyone trying to stay safe on the go.

Best Hidden Stash Spot

Lokistashed 3-pack velvet hair tie scrunchies.

This hidden stash spot doubles as a functional (and stylish) hair scrunchie.

The zipper isn’t easy to hide and is noticeable on the lighter colorways.

Looking for a spot to safely stash a handful of cash without having to bring along your wallet or handbag? LokiStashed 3-pack Velvet Hair Tie Scrunchies are among our personal favorite options when it comes to discreet storage on the go. These velvet scrunchies function the exact same way a regular scrunchie does — but you can easily store at least a few folded-up bills inside without drawing any attention. It’s great for traveling in busy cities, and is a convenient choice if you’re heading out the door at home and don’t want to be weighed down with a handbag.

Best Fake Wedding Band

Thunderfit women breathable air grooves silicone wedding ring.

This affordable and comfortable silicone wedding band will send the desired message without attracting thieves or appearing overly flashy.

These wedding bands run large so you might want to size down at least a full ring size in order to ensure a proper fit.

Depending on where in the world you’re traveling , you may experience unwanted attention — especially if you’re a solo female traveler. If you’re worried about finding yourself in a situation where you feel harassed or unsafe, then wearing a fake wedding band might be a smart idea.

The ThunderFit Women Breathable Air Grooves Silicone Wedding Ring is a great option for this purpose. It isn’t flashy like a diamond engagement ring, so it won’t attract attention from potential thieves, but it’ll still send the right message to those who might otherwise be difficult to shrug off. These rings are waterproof and breathable, so you won’t have to worry about developing an unsightly green line across your finger, either.

Best First Aid Kit

First aid only all-purpose essentials first aid kit.

  • Ease of Use 4 /5
  • Organization 3 /5
  • Quality 4 /5

This kit includes everything you need in a pinch.

At over nine inches long, it's not the most compact first aid kit out there.

This handy first aid kit comes with all the essentials from ibuprofen tablets to tweezers. Whether you're exploring a major city or hiking a new trail, this kit can help in the case of blisters, burns, headaches, cuts, and more. The 298-piece kit is organized with like-items together, so you can quickly access exactly what you need. Plus, it comes in a lightweight and waterproof carrying case so you can leave it in your vehicle or pack in a day bag to ensure that you're fully prepared for health issues on the go.

Best Passport Wallet

Melsbrinna waterproof rfid-blocking travel wallet.

Your passport fits snugly on one side of the wallet, so it's easy to slide out at customs.

There is no space to store coins.

We love a wallet that's large enough to safely store your passport and this Melsbrinna case is the perfect, safe-yet-stylish option that even includes RFID-blocking technology. Your passport sits on one side of this wallet and the other side features four slots for your credit cards, ID, transit cards, and more. There is also a pocket designed to hold your ticket or other important small documents and two pockets made to keep SIM cards safe. Throughout our travels, we loved that this passport wallet kept all of our items secure, but never felt cumbersome and, in fact, easily fits inside any purse or travel backpack.

Best Reflective Layer

Rei co-op active pursuits cycling jacket.

It's light, wind-resistant, and water-repellent, so it will keep you comfortable in any weather.

The hood may not fit over all bike helmets.

For a reflective layer that will guarantee you're seen whether hiking, walking, cycling, or running, this REI jacket in men's and women's sizes is the perfect choice. The neon yellow fabric features 360-degree reflective details to keep you visible even at night and is so light you can wear it year-round. If you're running or cycling in the heat, the underarm vents area breathable addition that also improves mobility. In winter months, this lightweight layer won't add too much weight to your standard set-up, but will keep you safe as the sun sets earlier.

Best Safety Bracelet

Flare smart safety bracelet.

Without touching your phone, the Flare Bracelet can alert your friends and/or emergency services of possible danger.

It is not yet compatible with Androids.

When traveling solo or to a new location, this bracelet helps keep you connected and safe. The discreet bracelet looks like an average stylish accessory, but uses Bluetooth technology to pair with an iOS app, so you can tap the bracelet in different ways depending on your needs. Hold the hidden button down to text your location to your friends, press the button once to get a pre-recorded phone call to offer you an excuse to leave a situation, or press and hold the button for three seconds to send your location to emergency services.

The bracelet works even when you're up to ten feet away from your phone and the battery lasts a full year, so you don't have to worry about charging the device. It can also be used internationally as long as you have Wi-fi or cell services in your location.

Best Drink Tester

Philmedi gcheck date rape drug test sticker.

It's designed so you can stick it on the back of your phone for discreet and handy use wherever you go.

Each sticker can only be used once.

While we hope you would never feel the need to test your drink, it's always important to be prepared, especially if you're traveling alone or notice someone hovering near your beverage. These discreet stickers test for GHB in less than one minute, so you can protect yourself quickly and effectively. They're conveniently designed to be attached to your phone, wallet, or other item you always carry with a micro-film on the outside to be removed if and when you want to test your drink. Then, you simply tap a bit of the beverage on the sticker and wait to see if it changes color.

Tips for Buying Travel Safety Products

Consider every step of your journey.

You’ll want to think about the potential risks you’ll be taking throughout your trip, from getting there to exploring your destination, and while staying at your hotel or Airbnb —a travel-sized carbon monoxide detector , for example, can provide you with added peace of mind. Travel safety products range significantly from items focusing on solo female travelers’ personal safety to items that protect against theft. Think about where you’re going and what makes the most sense for the destination or type of travel you have in mind, and go from there.

Pick the best way and place to secure valuables

This is something to think about before embarking on your adventure — not just to avoid potential theft, but also to make sure you don’t accidentally misplace anything. You’ll want to know where your valuables are at all times, whether they be jewelry, cash and credit cards, or your passport. Keeping your belongings in a personal safe or money belt while traveling can help give you peace of mind while also keeping you organized. 

Why Trust Travel + Leisure

For this article, Kaitlyn McInnis used her experience as a travel writer and solo female traveler to curate the best options to suit most needs.

Love a great deal? Sign up for our T+L Recommends newsletter and we’ll send you our favorite travel products each week.

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The Planet D: Adventure Travel Blog

Is Cancun Safe to Visit in 2024? Travel Warnings And Safety Tips

Written By: The Planet D

Updated On: June 11, 2024

We have been to Cancun many times over the years, and one of the main questions that we always get is, “Is Cancun safe?” Truthfully, the situation has always been fluid, with various safety concerns such as crime and cartel activity. While we have personally felt safe in Cancun, it is important to check your government website warnings, follow basic safety precautions, and be aware of your surroundings. Mexico takes its tourism seriously and they want international visitors to continue to spend their dollars, so they are working hard to keep Cancun safe, especially in the tourist zones and the tourist hotspots.

Table of Contents

Is Cancun Safe to Visit?

As of March 2024, the US State Department updated its travel warnings for Quintana Roo, which is home to Cancun, Playa del Carmen , and Tulum. It removed the warning about an increased risk of kidnapping, but the country is still under a level 2 advisory. There are no travel restrictions for U.S. government employees in Quintana Roo, but they are advised to exercise increased situational awareness.

As of March 2024, the Government of Canada notes that the region of Cancun has high rates of violent crime, such as homicides, kidnappings, carjacking, and assaults. Travelers are advised to exercise increased situational awareness, avoid areas with illicit activities, and promptly leave potentially dangerous situations.

Cancun’s Current Safety Situation

Is cancun safe in 2024?

Cancun is located in the State of Quintana Roo, including Playa Del Carmen, Tulum, Cozumel, and the Riviera Maya. These areas bring in a lot of dollars into Mexico, and this is certainly one of the safer areas in the country, especially compared to other states. However, crime and violence can affect tourists, so it is important to follow safety tips, maintain situational awareness, and avoid dangerous areas.

If you follow these tips and do your own research, you will find that you will feel a lot safer on your next trip should you choose to travel to Cancun. While emergency services are available, it is important to note that local emergency services may be limited outside the state capital or major cities.

Short Summary

Cancun’s security has been under a microscope due to incidents of criminal activity involving tourists. The Mexican government has taken great action to ensure the safety of visitors and citizens in Cancun. According to the US State Department, the Yucatan Peninsula is the safest region in Mexico for Americans in 2024. However, the State Department does have a travel advisory of “ exercise increased caution ” in the state of Quintana Roo.

  • Cancun is generally safe for travelers, but take necessary precautions and take government website travel alerts into consideration.
  • Follow safety tips like avoiding walking alone at night and sticking to well-known establishments.
  • When traveling in Cancun, familiarize yourself with local laws, use reputable transportation services, and opt for filtered water!

Mexico Travel Advisories and Safety Concerns

Is Cancun safe to visit Cancuns current safety situation

For the latest advisory warnings, visit th e US State Department’s Website . Right now, the State Department website warns that ” Violent crime – such as homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery – is widespread and common in Mexico.” However, when you read further, it states, “Exercise Normal Precautions When Traveling To the Yucatan State.

The State Department also notes its limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in certain areas of Mexico.

Update: On February 27, 2024, the U.S. Embassy & Consulates In Mexico Department issued a warning for all U.S. travelers visiting Cancun and the Mexican Caribbean for Spring Break Travel in 2024. Only Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum were mentioned in the warning. You can check out the full message here and what they suggest.

Canada currently has a warning of “High rates of violent crime, such as homicides, kidnappings, carjacking, and assaults, including in popular tourist destinations such as the Mayan Riviera (Cancún, Playa del Carmen, Puerto Morelos and Tulum), and Acapulco.” It states that drug cartels have a presence in tourist areas. There has been intergang fighting at establishments frequented by tourists where innocent bystanders have been killed or injured.

Incidents like this can happen in any large city or tourist destination. To put things into perspective, Cancun currently has a crime index of 56.33. When you look at the crime rate in New Orleans, Cancun is much lower than the rating of 67.92. See the comparison here.

To stay safe, travelers are advised to remain in well-lit pedestrian streets and tourist zones, especially after dark, to exercise increased situational awareness and avoid potentially dangerous situations.

Crime Rates in Cancun

Cancun has a crime rate that is similar to many major cities in the United States, most of which revolve around drug-trafficking turf wars and gang-related violence. Tourists are rarely the target, and if you keep yourself out of trouble. Avoid buying drugs, don’t stay out until the wee hours of the morning, and limit your alcohol consumption off the resort. By following common sense safety measures, you can lower your chances of any incident.

Compared to other Mexican cities, Cancun’s crime rate remains relatively low, meaning vacationers shouldn’t be too concerned about any crimes during their visit. However, they should still exercise a degree of caution.

Mexican Government’s Efforts

The Mexican government has increased security around Cancun International Airport by dispatching extra police forces and protection systems, in order to put a stop to petty crime that mainly targets travelers.

The Mexican government has taken extra security steps to protect Cancun’s standing as a favored tourist spot. These include a greater police presence at popular tourist areas such as resorts within the Hotel Zone , surveillance cameras, and gated entrances for visitors.

Initiatives were also undertaken to reduce corruption among law enforcement in this area, which resulted in the removal of numerous police officers from their posts and several top-level personnel from office due to misconduct. You can read about it here .

Collaboration between local companies and tourism workers also supports a safer atmosphere. Extra tourist police, state police, the National Guard, and even the Navy patrol the beaches.

The Hotel Zone

Is Cancun safe in the Hotel Zone

Staying within the Hotel Zone Cancun is one of the safest areas to stay in Cancun . Police patrols, surveillance cameras, and gated resorts all provide an extra layer of security for guests staying at the numerous high-end accommodations in this area. That doesn’t mean you should let your guard down, but we still recommend that you avoid walking alone at night or in secluded areas. Stick to well lit pedestrian streets to ensure your safety.

Cancun is a popular tourist destination, and efforts have been made to improve safety and security in this vibrant travel spot.

Cancun is a popular destination for Spring Break, and the kids love to party the nights away in the clubs of Playa del Carmen or Downtown Cancun. Our advice is to party responsibly. If you decide to go downtown Cancun to party for the night, exercise increased caution if you are going to local bars, stay in groups, don’t overdrink, and make sure to use an authorized taxi. It is when you drink too much and let your guard down that you become a target.

Best Practices for Staying Safe in Cancun

Best Practices for staying safe in Cancun

When vacationing in Cancun, it is important to remember that even though you are enjoying a vacation in popular tourist destinations, that doesn’t mean you let all common sense go out the window. A lot of people tend to think they are invincible on vacation, but this is when things can go wrong. Visitors to Cancun can have a great experience if they use common sense and exercise safety precautions. When visiting Quintana Roo or any other Mexican State, exercise increased situational awareness, avoid areas with illicit activities, and promptly leave potentially dangerous situations.

Additionally, be aware that local emergency services in Cancun may have limitations, especially outside the state capital or major cities.

Cancun Airport Safety

Landing at the airport can be one of your most vulnerable times. The arrivals area is crowded and confusing, which makes it easy to fall victim to a travel scam. We recommend that you exercise caution and think before you accept any rides, offers, or help from a “good Samaritan.” Despite its relatively low rate of violent offenses, visitors entering through Cancun airport can still fall victim to potential scams such as fake taxi drivers and pickpocketing in crowded locations.

Our safety advice for landing at the airport is to a private transfer in advance to your hotel, keep an eye on your valuables, and don’t leave anything unattended. If you need cash, go directly to the ATM, but we suggest bringing American dollars and small bills with you.

Transportation Safety

Transportation Safety in Cancun

There are many different ways to get around Cancun. If you want more freedom, we recommend renting a car. We have also taken local transportation without incident. However, if you want to have added safety, booking an organized tour is a good option. You can book a night out bar hopping with a local guide, city tours with a guide, and excursions with a guide, making it safer to travel. It is important to exercise increased situational awareness, especially when using local transportation.

Local emergency services in Cancun are available but may be limited outside the city center. Always be aware of your surroundings and take necessary precautions.

Taxis and Ridesharing Services

Travelers in Cancun can enjoy secure and reliable transportation options by utilizing authorized taxis or reliable apps like Uber. When getting into a cab, make sure to ask them to put on the meter. Also, plan your route beforehand, and be aware of the approximate costs before setting off so as not to be scammed.

Ridesharing services such as Uber are available in Cancun. But use caution, as there have been reports of violence between taxi drivers and Uber drivers due to contract disputes. If you are staying in a resort, we recommend using the taxi drivers with whom they have a contract; otherwise, you will have to leave the resort to book an Uber.

Buses and Public Transportation

Cancun’s buses and public transportation are typically reliable, inexpensive, and easy to access for anyone looking to discover the city. Public transportation is generally safe, but it is better not to ride it alone or late at night.

Rental Cars and Driving Tips

Using a rental car in Cancun can be an ideal way to enjoy the sights and attractions at your own pace. Make sure to book with trusted car hire agencies; we use RentalCars.com. You will have to get additional insurance Third Party Liability and Public Liability Insurance are mandatory. And make sure you avoid being on the roads after dark.

By observing these tips, people will reap all the benefits associated with renting cars while feeling safe traveling through Cancun’s streets and reveling in views of its glorious bright blue Caribbean Sea.

Food and Drink Safety in Cancun

Food and Drink Safety in Cancun

Food is generally safe to eat in Mexico, especially in popular destinations. We generally avoid eating raw foods unless they are cooked or can be peeled. When eating at restaurants, we always look for places packed with locals. This is how you know it will be fresh. Think about raw foods that would be washed in tap water. We don’t eat fruits and vegetables unless they are cooked or can be peeled.

Tap Water Safety

Visitors to Cancun should not drink unfiltered tap water, and it is recommended that they stick to bottled water. We like to use a SteriPen so that we don’t contribute to plastic and avoid ice.

Although tests may show local tap water as safe enough for drinking according to regulations, microorganisms can still be present, which could lead to health problems.

Street Food and Restaurant Precautions

We have eaten street food in Mexico, and it is delicious, but tourists should still be cautious when choosing where to eat. Don’t eat salad or vegetables that aren’t cooked, and make sure the meat is freshly cooked in front of you. You don’t want to eat something that has been sitting in the heat for hours. Select freshly prepared meals, steer clear of uncovered dishes, and go for a well-known, busy place to eat.

Health and Medical Safety in Cancun

Is Cancun Safe Health and Medical Safety in Cancun

When visiting Mexico in general we highly recommend having travel insurance. Medical emergencies can happen, and it is a small price to pay for peace of mind. You may also want to look into what medications and vaccines you need. Make sure that your routine vaccines are up to date, and you may consider additional vaccines. Hepatitis A and B are good to get, and you may want to update your tetanus. For up-to-date travel health notices in Mexico, visit the CDC website.

Mosquito-borne illnesses can also be an issue, so pack bug spray and wear lightweight long sleeves if going into the jungle. In case of a medical emergency, there are healthcare services available that tourists can access if required – adding another layer of protection on top of their Mexico travel insurance policy.

Is Cancun Dangerous for Solo Travelers?

Is Cancun Safe for Solo Travelers

Many people travel to Cancun as solo travelers, and it is considered generally safe to visit alone. Before traveling, solo travelers should research the area and let people know where they will be. Check in with family and friends back home frequently by providing them with information about where you’ll be going during each part of your journey so they know your whereabouts. Solo travelers should exercise increased situational awareness, especially in areas classified by the State Department as ‘Exercise Increased Caution,’ such as Quintana Roo. By adhering to these basic guidelines for security, an unforgettable trip awaits any adventurous solo traveler who decides to explore this picturesque Mexican destination.

Local emergency services in Cancun are available but may be limited outside the state capital or major cities.

Many of our recommendations, regardless of the destination, are to not walk alone at night or in secluded areas, so if you are traveling alone, stay in lit areas, don’t stay out too late, and stick with the crowds.

Make sure to choose a safe hotel in a good area, use trustworthy transportation services, and avoid any illegal drugs or areas with high crime. Signing up for local tours can provide additional safety as you’ll be able to go sightseeing in a group with an expert guide. Plus you’ll make friends with some other tourists.

Is Cancun Safe for a Solo Female Traveler?

Solo Female Travelers Safety in Cancun

Cancun is largely considered secure for solo female travelers as well. The same recommendations can be made to avoid deserted areas and walking alone at night, and take taxis. Choose safe accommodation, preferably in the hotel zone, and use common sense and take extra precautions.

Women are more vulnerable than male travelers, and a woman can catch unwanted attention. Don’t go out alone late at night, use trustworthy taxis, don’t wear expensive jewelry, and the hotel room safe for your valuables.

Hurricane Season

Hurricane season in Cancun typically runs from June through November, with the peak period occurring between August and October. Travelers considering Cancun as a destination often wonder about safety during these months. It’s important to note that while the risk of hurricanes exists, Cancun is well-prepared with robust infrastructure and comprehensive emergency plans in place to ensure visitor safety

Here’s the lowdown: yes, hurricanes can whip through, especially from August to October when things tend to peak. But, Cancun is pretty savvy when it comes to dealing with these big storms. The hotels and local officials have got it down to a science with solid buildings and tried-and-true safety plans that kick into gear when needed.

Plus, with all the advanced weather tech these days, everyone gets a heads-up well before a storm hits. So, while it’s smart to keep an eye on the weather, Cancun remains a fab spot for a beach vacation, even during the stormy months. Chill vibes and safety can totally go hand in hand here!

The Mexican Peso is the official currency of Cancun and Mexico, but establishments readily accept the US dollar. Hotel ATMs often dispense US dollar currency instead of Mexican Pesos.

When withdrawing cash, try to use ATMs in secure locations like inside a bank or a busy mall, rather than those on the street, to keep things extra safe. And hey, while it’s tempting to carry a wad of cash to avoid transaction fees, it’s smarter to keep just enough cash for the day and use your credit card when you can. Credit cards are widely accepted and give you that extra layer of fraud protection. By keeping these practical tips in mind, you’ll make sure your financial dealings in Cancun are as smooth as the local tequila.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Cancun Safe to Travel FAQ

Is Cancun safe right now 2024?

The US State Department notes that Cancun has friendly locals and is one of the safest areas in Mexico, with a low crime rate. So you can have an amazing experience by planning your getaway to this destination come 2024! Relax, knowing you will be safe during your stay here. Making it absolutely unforgettable.

How safe is Cancun for American tourists?

The US State Department has assessed Cancun as one of the safest places to visit in Mexico, and thus, it is Safe for tourists making a trip there in 2024. To ensure you enjoy your time while still staying secure, practice caution with regard to where you go and who you talk to, and always be aware of your surroundings.

Is Cancun safe to walk around?

When you visit Cancun, you should always take precautions to remain safe. The Hotel Zone, in particular, offers a secure atmosphere with numerous all-inclusive resorts, international hotels, and beaches for visitors to enjoy without fear of crime rates that are low outside the hotel zone.

Overall it is possible to have an unforgettable trip when exercising caution and keeping safety measures at hand during your time here, which will result in a rewarding experience.

Is Cancun safe at an all-inclusive?

When it comes to booking an all-inclusive holiday in Cancun, you can be confident that the resort is secure. Most properties have measures such as security guards with firearms to make sure visitors feel safe during their stay.

With some planning and investigation beforehand, travelers will be able to enjoy a stress-free break away from home in one of Mexico’s picturesque cities.

Is it still safe to travel to Cancun right now?

With care and knowledge of local customs, Cancun is an excellent, relatively secure destination for travelers. Hence, caution and respect should be exercised to make sure a safe journey is had while visiting the area.

Stick to the Most Popular Tourist Destinations and Tourist Zones

When you’re planning a trip to Mexico and wondering about safety, it’s handy to know which spots are a bit spicier when it comes to risk. Some areas, particularly along certain parts of the northern border and specific regions like parts of Guerrero, have a bit more heat due to higher crime rates and travel advisories. Cities like Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez often make headlines, urging travelers to stay street-smart and keep up with travel advisories.

Some regions, like Colima, Guerrero, Tamaulipas, Zacatecas, Michoacán, and Sinaloa, tend to be hotter on the risk radar due to higher crime rates and consistent travel advisories. While these areas can have their share of challenges, don’t let that put a damper on your whole itinerary.

Mexico is a vast country with safe and serene destinations in the most popular tourist destinations and off the beaten path, far from the troubled spots. By staying sharp and keeping up with the latest travel advisories, you can navigate your way to a smooth and secure Mexican adventure. Remember, a little prep and awareness go a long way in making sure your vacation vibes remain as calm as a seaside sunset!

Our Safety Recommendations For Cancun

Is Cancun Safe to travel to Today

Cancun is an attractive tourist destination to visit, offering a secure holiday when the appropriate steps and precautions are taken. Staying up-to-date on safety updates, bearing in mind some basic security tips, staying up to date on current Mexico travel warnings, and keeping any dangers that may arise at bay will enable travelers to enjoy Cancun fully without worry.

So get ready for your trip by packing all you need (including sunscreen) for what promises to be an unforgettable experience – complete with sand, sunshine, and, of course, memories galore!

Plan Your Next Trip to Cancun with These Resources

  • Mexico City: Best Things to Do in Mexico City for an Epic Trip
  • Cancun: 21 Amazing Things To Do In Cancun
  • Cancun: Where To Stay In Cancun: Best Hotels And Areas For Every Budget
  • Playa Del Carmen: 29 of Best Things to do in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico
  • Yucatan Peninsula: 23 Amazing Things To Do In Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula
  • Tulum: 23 Best Things To Do In Tulum
  • 23 Best Beaches In Mexico
  • Best Mexican Dishes: 27 Most Popular Mexican Foods

Travel Planning Resources

Looking to book your next trip? Why not use these resources that are tried and tested by yours truly.

Book Your Flights: Start planning your trip by finding the best flight deals on Skyscanner. We have used them for years and have found that they have the best flight deals.

Book your Hotel: Find the best prices on hotels with these two providers. If you are located in Europe use Booking.com and if you are anywhere else use TripAdvisor.

Find Apartment Rentals: You will find the cheapest prices on apartment rentals with VRBO . 

Travel Insurance: Don't leave home without it. Here is what we recommend:

  • Safety Wing - Occasional Travelers.
  • Medjet - Global air medical transport and travel security.

Book Your Activities: Looking for walking tours, skip-the-line tickets, private guides, and more? Then we recommend Get Your Guide.

Need more help planning your trip? Make sure to check out our Resources Page where we highlight all the great companies that we trust when we are traveling.

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About The Planet D

Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbeil are the owners and founders of The Planet D. After traveling to 115 countries, on all 7 continents over the past 13 years they have become one of the foremost experts in travel. Being recognized as top travel bloggers and influencers by the likes of Forbes Magazine , the Society of American Travel Writers and USA Today has allowed them to become leaders in their field.

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1 thought on “Is Cancun Safe to Visit in 2024? Travel Warnings And Safety Tips”

We just got back and Cancun is extremely safe. We didn’t stay in resorts but three different locations and took local buses and walked around at night and at no time did we feel even the slightest concern about our safety or security. Using common sense travel, having a reasonable control of your faculties and not engaging in extremely risky behavior with strangers keeps any risk low. Mexican people are hard working, friendly and helpful.

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