Traveling the world is no small feat, and even though you’ve been anxiously awaiting this trip for a while now, it’s normal to have a few last-minute jitters.
Let’s calm a few of those, shall we? Here are 10 tricks to traveling safely that you’ll want to keep in mind on your adventures ahead:
1. Take a walking tour on day one.
The flight lands, you make it to the hotel, you’re exhausted — but it’s only 10 am in Europe so you’re gonna get that power nap in and get to gettin’, right? Take a deep breath with us. In…and out. Well done.
There’s no need to make your first day giant. Start by getting to know your temporary home with a walking tour. There are tons of free and donation-based walking tours you can check out online. You can even find different themes. For example, you could sign up for tours centered around the arts or history, if that is of interest to you.
Perhaps the biggest reason to do this is to get to know the streets and get some insights from your guide on the ins and outs of your new location. This’ll add to your confidence when you hit the road on day two.
2. Bring a physical map.
Phones and laptops die. Not all places you travel will have a Starbucks outlet to charge-up on. Always carry a physical map with you.
Lay out pins and marks on your map after your walking tour — this will help you out big time in case you need to use it for reference points.
3. Don’t draw attention to yourself.
Keep it low-key. Carrying a giant open bag around might not scream: “I know what I’m doing.” Store your stuff when you can, don’t announce yourself as a tourist, and keep your cameras in a bag. Which brings us to another point: have a couple padlocks with you. You’ll never know when they’ll come in handy.
4. Make sure you’re insured.
It’s important that when you’re hundreds or thousands of miles away from home, you could get medical attention if something were to come up. Make sure you call your insurance before you leave to check on your plan and make sure that you’re covered on your trip. If not — it’s a good thing you called. Now’s the time to start making arrangements. There is such a thing as travel medical insurance. Better safe than sorry.
5. When hiking, know your trail time.
And make sure someone else does, too. Set out your trail maps and let somebody know where you’ll be and how long you’ll be gone for. Make a plan to get back in contact with that person once you’re back. All in the name of safety.
6. Let someone know where you are.
All hiking aside, safety first. Setting out a travel itinerary for friends and family is incredibly important — and sometimes, lifesaving. Send letters, keep in touch, and let people know how often they should expect to hear from you. This way people will know if anything is out of the ordinary.
For international travel, purchase a sim card. This will allow you not only to check in with people on your whereabouts, but it will also give you peace of mind when tracking your location and researching anything you need.
7. Do your research.
Before you get in the sky, doing your research on the country you’re heading to is incredibly important. There is a plethora of resources out there, so don’t just stick to a quick Wikipedia search. Dive into more technical books and check out travel blogs for insider tips.
Write important information down so that you can refer back to it later.
8. Bring snacks, water, and money. Everywhere.
Always keep extra snacks and H2O on hand — it’ll save you in times where it takes a bit longer to get where you’re going. Fruit and nut bars, jerky, dried fruit, dried edamame, and other closer-to-nonperishable, portable foods are great travel snacks. Try to stay away from foods with high sugar or salt content, as they can dehydrate you (extra reason to bring water) and make you crash.
9. Be aware and be prepared, mentally.
Look around. Be aware. Observe. Put your phone or camera down to look people in the eyes. Maybe don’t smile at every person you meet. It’s not worrisome — it’s practical.
10. You did good, Kid.
Don’t let worry outweigh the fun. Take precautions so that you can truly just enjoy the time you have abroad. You’re going to love it.