Travelling can be scary at times, especially if you are travelling on your own. But there are some little things you can do to make yourself feel more comfortable, as well as accounting for any potentially unforeseen emergencies. Here are a few quick tips I have for staying safe on the road.
1. Make Multiples Copies Of Your Passport
Losing your passport is one of the worst things that could happen while you’re travelling. However, you can get a replacement and possibly even travel on an emergency if you have a backup copy of your passport somewhere. I have two backup copies of my passport, one is a scanned image of the inside that I have saved on Google Drive online, the other is a printed photocopy left in my safety deposit box at home. That way, if I do lose my passport at some point, I can go into a Canadian embassy, give them the copy of my passport and I can get an emergency replacement passport to get home.
2. Make A Digital Copy Of Everything Else
There are lots of documents you will have while travelling, including plane ticket confirmations, hotel bookings, and activity invoices. Some of these you will likely need to print out, but you will also want access to all your travel documents electronically. I store copies of every invoice, booking confirmation, and anything else on Google Drive so I can access them from my phone, tablet, or any computer in the world. Things can get lost or damaged, and having backup copies of everything makes sure you aren’t left without a hotel room or plane ticket.
3. Use A Money Belt And Fake Wallet
When I travel, I still carry my usual back pocket wallet that I always use in my daily life, however, the only thing I carry around in it while travelling is a small amount of spending cash and some random cards. My important cards, ID’s, and majority of my cash is in a different wallet attached to my pant’s belt under my shirt. The wallet attached to my belt isn’t something I access in public, but is there in case I need it. The daily, normal transactions are still done from my normal wallet, but nothing important is in there in case I lose it or it gets stolen. By using a fake wallet in my back pocket, it becomes the target for any potential pickpockets, instead of my actual wallet. Leaving the thief with nothing but old grocery cards, expired student ID’s, and pointless store reward cards, while my real credit cards are safely hidden. This strategy is really only needed for busy cities and ones known for theft and pickpockets, but it is always best to be safe.
4. Know Where Help Is
If you’re going to be in one city or country for an extended time, you should look up where your country’s embassy is and what their phone number is. That embassy will be a safe haven and an important resource if anything goes wrong. Whether for travel documents, emergencies at home, victims of theft, or personal safety, your embassy is there solely for your benefit. For me, being in Norway for 2 months, I will be looking up the Canadian embassy location and phone number in Oslo, and I will probably take a walk down there in the first week I am there, just so I know where it is. You should also register with your government’s travel ministry before you go, as it provides them an easy way to contact you in case of emergency. For Canadians, Registration of Canadians Abroad is here, and for Americans, Smart Traveler Enrollment Program is here.
5. Find A Travel Companion
Once at your destination, the easiest way to feel safe is to not be alone. Especially for female travellers, comfort is in numbers. If you are setting off on a solo trip, there are easy ways to find like-minded travellers to join. If you are staying in hostels during your trip, you can easily find other solo travellers that probably won’t mind joining up. By nature most solo travellers are likely to be very personable and friendly so making friends shouldn’t be too hard. If you feel safe walking around the foreign city, the more likely you are to enjoy it.
6. Use Common Sense
The last part of my travel safety advice is just to use common sense and listen to your gut. You can often detect unsafe situations and you can think about what would be best for you. Something like walking around alone at midnight probably isn’t the smartest thing. The way you act and behave at home may not always be the most practical thing abroad. Something like getting really drunk at a bar by yourself could be a good way to get into trouble. Think things through and don’t put yourself into any risky situations if you can avoid it. The world isn’t nearly as scary as people want you to think it is, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take precautions to stay safe either.