We don’t all have the pleasure of bringing our spouses to work with us. However, last October my husband accompanied me to Greece for the annual TBEX Europe conference. After a heated conversation, I asked him to share his travel security tips with me for the blog. It’s nice to have another voice on here. He is raw, honest, and doesn’t pretend to be a writer. He knows what he knows and I love him for it.
Read below to see what he had to say.
On a recent trip to Greece with my wife, I had a chance to mingle and observe some of her travel writer counterparts. I was amazed to see how nonchalant most of them were about security and their surroundings. Naturally, she said that I overreacted.
When I pointed out a few examples, she huffed and puffed and asked to me share my security advice.
So, here we go: Travel Security Tips to staying safe.
1. Trust Your Instincts
If it doesn’t feel right it isn’t. I know that sounds like a cliché but you’d be surprised how many people try to “MAKE” things ok. Trust your gut. Get in the habit of looking over your shoulder every once in a while.
2. Know Your Surroundings
NO, listen to me! Know. Your. Surroundings. Part of this means: see, hear and smell what is around you. A great way to do this is to take a walk or jog around the area where you’re staying.
It also means:
- Know at least two routes to your hotel/house/apartment.
- Learn where the cameras are in your location (this can save you).
- Identify where you can find the nearest police station and save the number in your phone. You can always delete it when you leave. Make sure you know how to dial it.
- Observe and be familiar with the shops, stores, and people who frequent your area.
3. Plan, Plan, Plan
Know what to do in emergency situations. Run scenarios in your head. No one ever suspects that they’ll have an issue on a vacation but you never know. Here’s what you should think about:
- Where’s the exit if a fire happens?
- What should you do if you see a crime (i.e. how to get away; how do you report it to the police)?
- Where do you go if you get injured? Having travel insurance is also very wise if you’re traveling overseas.
- What should you do if someone is following you?
- What’s your escape plan if you need to get out of somewhere quickly?
4. Protect Important Information
- Don’t carry your official documents with you. Always carry copies of your passport or visa. You can also scan and email important documents to yourself to save on your phone.
- Save the address and phone number of the US Embassy in your contacts or email it to yourself as well.
5. Backpacks Come In Handy
Whenever we went out for the day, I carried my backpack with a few essential items. Note, I did not keep my money in my backpack. Whenever my wife bought something at a store, I stored it in the backpack so that she wasn’t walking around with visible shopping bags in her hand.
You should always have a go-bag prepared so that if you need to leave in a hurry, it will be easy for you to move quickly.
6. Mind Your Money
Keep your money and your wallet in your front pockets. Be sure to pull out only what you need when making a purchase.
- Keep money separated. One pocket should have small bills, another pocket should hold the larger bills. For bigger purchases, opt to use your ATM or a credit card.
- Know how much money you have at all times.
- Look over your shoulder when using cash.
- Never carry all of your bank/credit cards with you when you go out exploring.
7. Be Smart About Communications
I learned this the hard way in Greece, depending on the use of my wife’s global phone. On the last day of my trip we were separated. I had no way to get in touch with her until I was able to connect to wifi at the airport. I walked away learning a valuable lesson:
- No matter what the cost, make sure you have the ability to use a phone. It may cost a little extra but it’s good to have that option should an emergency come up.
- Having communications is important but when you’re walking, don’t keep your face buried in your phone. Twitter and FB can wait.
- Smart phones are targets for thieves. Keep them out of view as much as possible.
8. Remember Faces
Lastly, when you’re talking to people, make sure to look at them closely. It’s common courtesy to look at someone eye-to-eye but you also want to remember what they look like in the event you need to describe them later.
Please keep in mind that these are not the only things that you can do. However, these are a few tips that will definitely help you stay safe.
I really appreciate my husband for taking the time out and providing me with these very useful travel security tips. I love traveling with him because I know he has my back. It seems like a lot to remember but once you train yourself to think about these precautions and do some pre-planning for your vacation, it’ll always be in the back of your mind when you travel.
You’ll be safer for it.
What tip did you find to be particularly useful? I’d love to let him know.