Traveling, whether for business or pleasure, is exciting. It’s an opportunity to get out of your routine and see new sights, try different foods and meet interesting people. However, it’s important to keep yourself safe on your journey. Whether you’re far from home or just a short drive away, you don’t want your trip ruined by a preventable hazard. Here are five ways you can stay safe the next time you travel.
1. Research Your Destination
It’s easier than ever now to research the location to which you’re traveling. An online search can quickly bring up reviews, hospital addresses, high-crime areas and local weather. You can find out the cleanest hotels and safest places to walk around after dark. While it’s good information for anyone, people with medical conditions may especially want to take note of nearby hospitals and medical facilities in the event of an illness or emergency.
Residents can provide you with more in-depth information, so as you do your research, pay attention to the opinions of those who live in the area.
2. Tell Friends and Family Your Plans
Whether you’re only packing an overnight bag or leaving home for a month, it’s a good idea to let your loved ones know when and where you’re going. If you’re planning a Panama Canal cruise, for example, send a copy of your itinerary to a couple of family members or a close friend. It may not be necessary to give them an hourly schedule. However, if they know your estimated departure and arrival dates and your ports of destination, they can stay alert for changes.
Check in occasionally to let your trusted contacts know that you are on schedule or notify them of any modifications. If you’re comfortable doing so, asking them to check on your residence while you’re gone provides you peace of mind that everything is well at home.
3. Make Your Health a Priority
Traveling can expose you to bacteria and viruses you’re not usually around, especially if you travel abroad. Allow yourself enough time before your trip to make sure you know what rules and travel restrictions, if any, exist in the place you’re going. Make sure you receive any required vaccinations or perform the necessary testing.
Don’t travel if you are sick. Postpone or reschedule your plans if possible. To stay healthy during your trip, wash your hands frequently, especially before eating and after using the bathroom. Avoid touching your face and consider wearing a mask if you’re in a crowded space. Be sure to cover your sneezes and coughs.
4. Secure Your Hotel Room
Most hotels go to great lengths to help you stay safe. Be sure to lock and deadbolt the door when you are in your room. If you’re traveling with valuables, such as jewelry or cash, store them in the provided safe. Take a few minutes to check the exits, making yourself aware of the elevator and stair locations. Keep your blinds closed at night so that passersby cannot peek in.
Don’t let strangers in your room. If people knock on your door and say they are hotel employees, call the front desk to verify if they sent someone to your room. This step is critical if you are not expecting anyone.
5. Stay Aware of Your Surroundings
It’s exciting to meet new people and visit unique places when traveling, but it’s vital not to get too careless. Keep your belongings close to you and avoid carrying valuables if you can help it. If someone seems to be acting suspicious, trust your instincts. Leave the area and report the incident if you think the situation warrants it. Enjoy the sights and sounds around you, but don’t do anything careless, such as setting down your bag and walking away to take a photo.
Traveling can be educational, fun and relaxing. If you take a few precautions to keep yourself safe while you’re away from home, you can enjoy your trip with peace of mind.