“Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.”
That statement rings lots of truth, especially when traveling. Any opportunity for trouble to brew, it certainly will. When traveling abroad, there are even greater opportunities. But things don’t have to go wrong. Putting a plan into place is your best ammunition against trouble. You have to arm yourself with as much preparation as possible so you’re ready.
- First things first: identify the top 3-5 important people in your phone and print them on a sheet of paper. If you’re like most people, you don’t know anybody’s phone number from memory. You merely press their name and your Smartphone dials away. Just imagine the frantic feeling of losing your phone. Your ability to recall anything pertinent will be greatly impaired even if you know folk’s number. You may not lose your phone but you could end up with a dead battery at an inopportune time or a damaged phone or some other reason that may create an inability to retrieve information from your device. Having a sheet with their names and numbers will be helpful when you are unable to access your phone.
- If you’re one of those who like to travel alone, no harm in that. Just don’t be a loner on your trip. People who move about by themselves are much more likely to become victimized than those who travel in a party of two or more. Get to know the people in your hotel or hostel. You don’t have to travel everywhere with them. But if they are planning to go to XYZ tourist attraction 30 miles away and you’re planning to go to that same attraction, why not travel together? There is strength in numbers, and more importantly, you can share the cost of the ride, possibly saving yourself some money.
- Pay attention to your surroundings at all times. Situational awareness is key. When you’re in the comfort of the neighborhood where you live, staring at your Smartphone as you walk from place to place may be ok. In a foreign country, you don’t want to take any chances. If you need to use your phone, do so for specific purposes while you’re stationary and put your phone away when you are done.
- Try to use credit cards for your purchases. But, if you must use cash, plan ahead. Don’t keep all your cash in the same pocket. Keep small amounts in different pockets. You’ll stand out like a sore thumb if you’re always whipping out a big wad of cash. You can bet the seedy characters are always lurking around watching for cash-carrying tourists they can rob or deceive to get their hands on it.
- Don’t take everything with you on your daily tours. Take only the minimum amount. Leave everything else in your hotel. If there’s a hotel safe, use it for extra credit cards, tickets, and cash.
- Be sure to leave your expensive jewelry at home. You don’t need to look like wealthy as you’re meandering through foreign lands. If you must wear some jewelry, keep it low key and keep any excess in the hotel safe. If a save isn’t in your room, the front desk is sure to have one. Even if you have to pay for it, it’s a worthwhile expense. But it’s best to leave all that stuff at home.
- Find out the location of the nearest US Embassy for the place you’re visiting. Chances are, you’ll never need it. Think of it like your car insurance. Many people have car insurance for years and never file a claim, but it’s a relief having it if something happens. You can use the US Department of State Embassy locator here: Embassy Locator to find the embassy. In fact, you should go one step further and register your trip with the State Department, so in the event you’ll need them, they will be in a better position to assist you. You can do that here: Smart Traveler Program
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. I know that’s kind of corny but it’s very true. A little preparation can save you tons of grief and aggravation and ensure you have a fabulous time on your trip. As they say: if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Bon voyage.