Traveling is one of the most dangerous things anyone can do but there are simple and effective ways to stay safe and avoid accidents and crime while you travel. In this article, I will outline the most important things one should keep in mind when traveling away from home. There are so many things that can happen and not being vigilant, prepared and knowledgeable can make the difference between life and death. I have a lot of experience with things that can go wrong on a trip. These experiences have helped me to be prepared for what could happen and now I want to help you do the same.
The main danger with travel lies in getting to your destination. Make sure your alarm clock is set the night before and set it early enough so you are not rushing and reduce your chances of sustaining an injury while running to catch a cab, bus or plane.
No matter what method of transportation you are using, once on board, fasten your seatbelt and listen to the safety instructions to familiarize yourself with the emergency procedures.
When waiting in an airport, keep your eyes on your bags at all times. Not only does this prevent airport security from confiscating them, it will deter anyone from slipping anything illegal into your bags.
Once you arrive at your destination, airport transfer shuttles are a good tool as they will take you where you need to go with no fuss. Never take a ride from strangers.
Once at your hotel, familiarize yourself with emergency exits and fire escapes. If possible, book a room close to ground level.
When walking around in a new city, blend in and look like a local. Do not wear clothes with out-of-town logos or anything that makes you stand-out. Instead of an over-the-shoulder purse, wear a bag that crosses the chest and can be worn in the front or back. These bags cause too much fuss for thieves who want to make a quick getaway. When it comes to expensive camera equipment, carry it close to you at all times. Choose camera bags that have no visible logo on them. An expensive logo on the outside usually means expensive equipment inside.
When walking alone, stick with crowds. Do not venture into alleys or parts of the city that are known to be dangerous and never take shortcuts! If you have a cell phone, keep it charged and with you at all times. A good thing to have on you is a list of emergency telephone numbers.
If you plan on renting a car on your trip, be sure to print off some maps of the area. Most rental cars now come with optional GPS systems for a small fee. Before you get behind the wheel, familiarize yourself with the vehicle and do a self check of the tires and fluids. It’s also good to know how to change a flat and cool a radiator if you break down somewhere. Make sure you have lots of water, food, clothing and emergency supplies before hitting the road and let someone know where you are going and when you will be back. When leaving your car unattended, lock the doors, hide anything of value and park somewhere well-lit and close to where you will be.
When it comes to wild animals, always stay far away! Do not attempt to feed or pet them. Do research before you travel and learn about the native plants and animals that could be dangerous. If you come across a wild animal, stay calm, do not make any sudden movements and slowly back away and seek shelter in your car or nearest building. Do not climb a tree! Bear spray and noise makers are useful to have if you will be venturing into areas where there will be dangerous wildlife.
To conclude, the best two pieces of advice I can give to anyone planning a trip is to research the destination thoroughly before departure and make sure you have adequate travel insurance!