09 Oct Safety First! - Tips on How to be Safe when Traveling
Safety tips while traveling abroad
Having fun while being safe should be your goal!
Contributed by: Chelsea Garcia
Updated 02/28/2017 by: Anna Whetzle
Your trip abroad is planned and set in stone! Exploring the city, soaking up the culture, and making memories to last a lifetime is all you can think about. But it is also important to think about your safety and the safety of others. Enjoying your time and being safe should be your number one priority. Here are a few safety tips to think about before and during your trip abroad.
1. Share your Location: Luckily, on most smart phones like on the iPhone, they have the Find Friends app where your family and friends and can know where your exact location is. Contact your cellphone carrier and upgrade on an International Plan so you can have cell phone service to make calls, send texts, and so your location services app can constantly update where you are. Programs like PINC provide students with international SIM cards with data as part of your welcome pack! Also, it's worth investing in a portable charger so your phone doesn’t die! Update your family and friends about what cities and hotels you’ll be staying at before the trip. You should constantly let your loved ones know that you are safe and it will help them feel more at ease.
2. Be ready: In case of any emergency, it is a good idea to plug in the police and ambulance numbers for the local area wherever you are traveling or staying. Hopefully nothing will happen, but it can ease your mind, just knowing they are there. Below is a quick link to the emergency reference for the US Embassy in Madrid. The emergency number in Madrid is 112. Furthermore, write down the address and phone number of the hostel or hotel where you are staying. Make sure everyone should has a copy in case you do get seperated. There is almost always someone at the front desks at hostels or hotels, so if you get lost or uncomfortable they can guide you back or call you a cab. If you are traveling or do not have an international plan, politely ask a restaurant or another nearby hotel. Remember exploring is one of the best parts of traveling!
3. Plan, plan, plan: A smart girl like yourself knows that planning ahead of time is the key to success. Before heading out, know exactly where you’re going, who you’re going with, when you’re going, and how you are going to get there. Start a travel planner to have all of your tickets, maps, and planned destinations all in one place. When entering a new area or building, know where your exits are and plan an escape route just in case. Once you have everything organized, your travel destinations will go much smoother and be more enjoyable.
4. The Buddy System: If you are able to bring a friend or a few along for a trip can increase your safety. If you’re studying/interning abroad and you’re rooming with people, it’s a chance for you to make new adventure buddies. You’ll have each other’s backs while exploring and can take care of each other. The people you spend time with during your trip make the memories unforgettable. Also remember the buddy system isn't just for traveling. Keeping an eye on each other and checking in with the buddy system is a great way to make sure you and your friends stay safe in Madrid, Barcelona, and around the world.
5. Keep Track of Your Stuff: To prevent lost or stolen items, keep track of your personal belongings at all times. If possible, try to leave your most prized possessions at home. If bringing them along, lock them up in the hotel safe if avaiable or bring your own locks with you. Try not to flash your nice things when touring around the city and keep your bags closed and close to you. Keep your money, credit cards, identification and any important documents in a few places instead of just one place, so all of it won’t be lost or stolen at once. For example, don´t leave any items lying around or walk away from them. This can be an invitation for someone with a case of the sticky fingers. You can wrap the strap of your backpack around your foot when you sit at an outdoor cafe so you can use both hands to check your instagram. When you are out and about, be sure to keep your hand on your purse or jacket pocket. Little tricks like these make you less vulnerable, which means you can enjoy your trip more.
6. Be Alert: Traveling is an exciting time and with so much going on we sometimes forget to always pay attention and to stay alert. Pay attention to the environment you are in and the people around you. If you don’t feel good about a situation, trust your instincts and leave the setting. You can always speak with management in a hostel or a hotel if you feel uncomfortable. But remember, you get more bees with honey than vinegar, so be patient. Explain your concerns and wait for management to help accordingly. What's interesting about traveling is that it does heighten your natural instincts as women. Now it's time to listen to them. Traveling should not make one scared, but make one aware of what’s going on in order to be safe!
Be cautious and be aware, but have fun! This will be the best time of your life and don’t let anything stop you from it.
If you want more tips on how you can be safe while traveling, read this article.