7 Safety Tips when Traveling to a New Location

During my consulting career, I often found myself in new locations where the language that was spoken wasn’t one I knew. There are quite a few more elements that come into account when traveling in foreign lands. Over the years, I ensure the following to help me navigate and get around in the new location.

1 – Since I didn’t always travel with a cell phone, I knew I had to rely on other ways to get around. I always print my itinerary, hotel reservation confirmation, and hotel map. Yes, printed those items on actual paper! Granted that one can usually use the phone to have this information at hand, I recognize that not all countries have adequate internet capabilities.

passport credit cards2 – In case of theft of my passport or credit and debit cards, I always arrange for someone I trust to have a copy of all my cards, with the bank number and account information. I forgot my purse in a taxi once and was not in a position to start calling the banks to cancel my cards, therefore I was able to ask my trusted contact to do this for me, from my home base. Also, having a copy that can be faxed or sent to someone (such as an embassy etc) helped me get a temporary passport to get myself back home.

3 – When I check into a hotel, I make sure to ask the concierge or doorman about local restaurants, local sights to see, and if any, which section of town are safer than others. Don’t be shy to ask which areas are not ideal for night walks or visits. Most hotels or B&B have local maps to give out to visitors; leverage those maps.

4 – Get a few business cards of the hotel to show your drivers. If you are in a city where your spoken languages are not common, it’s important you get the local information about your hotel. Also, when I was traveling on my own and going out for the evening, I often arranged for someone from the hotel to know of my plans. When possible, I asked the same driver who drove me from the hotel to come and pick me up at a designated time. Doormen and concierge and hotel staff can often recommend trusty drivers they know.

5 – I typically keep a large paper bill between one of my shoe and its sole. Enough to ensure I could pay a taxi, meal etc. If something happens to my purse, backpack or wallet, I am secure knowing I have enough to get me back to my apartment, hotel room, or B&B.

6 – When I did use my phone while traveling, I ensured to send out the details of my trip along with any updates to at least one or two people back home. I always make sure I have my main contacts’ name and phone number printed somewhere, in case my phone cannot connect. If you don’t have access to a phone, leverage local internet cafes to send updates back to your contacts when possible. Libraries typically allow visitors to use their computers and internet connection as a free service, or a low fee.

7 – Find large local points of interest to help situation yourself when traveling by foot. Given the street names may not be easy to remember (especially when written in a foreign language), selecting a few points of interest such as a bridge, a church or high rise that can serve as a focal point for your return.

What are some of the ways you ensure you are safe while you travel?

apptraveler

Retired exec consultant who traveled for more than 4 decades, both corporate and leisure. I appreciate my travel experience and want to share tips, photos and stories with readers! I live in Ottawa Canada and have traveled to 31 countries.

52 thoughts on “7 Safety Tips when Traveling to a New Location

  • August 28, 2017 at 11:07 am
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    I like to use the landmarks to keep myself oriented too. Plenty of sound advice here.

    My mantra for keeping myself as safe as possible is to stay alert and aware of my surroundings, and to trust my intuition. If something’s making me uneasy, I’ll move on.

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    • August 29, 2017 at 12:49 am
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      Hi Bernadette, Thanks for your great comments. Ah yes – our friend, intuition! Too many travelers are worried about offending anyone, but when I feel that “I shouldn’t be here” feeling in my gutt, I up and leave… I’d rather be seen as rude than end up in a bad situation. Thanks for adding this tip!

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  • August 28, 2017 at 5:50 pm
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    Great tips, the one about the landmarks really makes sense too! It’s something I do all the time, thanks for sharing!

    Krystin

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    • August 29, 2017 at 12:48 am
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      Hi Krystin, Thanks for your comments. They are appreciated! Safe travels!

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  • August 28, 2017 at 5:55 pm
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    Great tips! Thanks for this useful post 🙂

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    • August 29, 2017 at 12:47 am
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      Hi Jenn, I hope these tips help other travelers. Thanks for your comments!

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  • August 28, 2017 at 6:11 pm
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    Number 4 is a great idea if you don’t speak the language. I have used 7 in the past, especially tall buildings when walking. Thanks for sharing!

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    • August 29, 2017 at 12:46 am
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      Hi Kristin, thanks for your comments. I am terrible when it comes to directions, so for me, visual is where it’s at!

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    • August 29, 2017 at 12:45 am
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      Hi Taylor, thanks for your comments. I hope this helps at least one traveler!

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  • August 28, 2017 at 8:58 pm
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    I make sure to stay alert and to keep a list of common phrases so I can point to them. Knowing how to ask for the bathroom is essential! Also do the money in the shoe thing. 😀

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    • August 29, 2017 at 12:45 am
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      Hi and thanks for your comments – the list of phrases is also a really good one. I typically use my phone and translator, but wifi is not always available!

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  • August 29, 2017 at 1:35 pm
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    Love these tips, thank you!! I printed out all the info I’d need for one of my most recent trips & it was so useful as we walked around with no phone service!

    Something I learned after taking a taxi from Queretaro to San Miguel de Allende- also print a map to your hotel or destination if you can! Our driver didn’t know where our exact Air B&B was and we couldn’t pull up google maps so he ended up just stopping multiple people to ask for directions. We did find it eventually but it would have been so much easier & quicker if we had just been able to hand him a map.

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    • August 30, 2017 at 4:26 pm
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      Eryn,
      Thanks for your comments. Great tip about the map – especially for B&B and apartments!

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  • August 29, 2017 at 1:49 pm
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    Interesting tips. Just wondering… how does papermoney survive sweaty feet?

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    • August 30, 2017 at 4:25 pm
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      Hi Jerry – Good question – because I put it between the sole and the shoe, it never got wet. Damp at times when it rained, but it dried with the shoes. Thanks for your comment! Otherwise, Ièd likely suggest to put it in the smallest little plastic bags that are used to hold craft beads and such.

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  • August 30, 2017 at 2:05 am
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    So many good tips!!! Especially that keeping a bill in your shoe!

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  • August 31, 2017 at 11:51 am
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    Safety is so important, especially when traveling abroad. Thank you for the article!

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  • September 3, 2017 at 7:24 pm
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    Great tips – I always take the hotel business cards out with me, it’s been so helpful when you don’t speak the same language as the taxi driver!

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    • September 6, 2017 at 2:03 am
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      Thanks for your comments Lorna – the hotel business cards have helped me more than once!

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  • December 27, 2017 at 8:38 pm
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    I especially appreciate 4 and 5! I’m hoping to do some more traveling, especially in 2019 when I get more time off from my job. This was very helpful!

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    • January 4, 2018 at 2:34 am
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      Hi Ray, Thanks for your comments. I am glad that they were helpful to you. Happy traveling!

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  • December 27, 2017 at 9:36 pm
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    I travel frequently, so these are all great tips! I definitely use different landmarks or focal points to keep me oriented in new places.

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    • January 4, 2018 at 2:34 am
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      Hi Angela, thanks for your comments. I also use different landmarks to keep me oriented – I’ve never been a “go west for two blocks, go north for 6”, I’m more of a “turn left at the big church and right at the big neon sign! works for me!

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  • December 27, 2017 at 9:40 pm
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    Even though I tend to always travel with my cellphone I still like to have paper copies of everything. Especially because you never know if you are going to have service! I have never thought of having someone trusted to have all my information in case it went missing, that’s a fantastic idea that I definitely need to do!

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    • January 4, 2018 at 2:32 am
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      Hi Angela, thanks for your comments. The tip about having someone back home with your info is one of my favorite tips, because it happened to me. I left my purse in a cab and my husband was able to quickly cancel all cards because he had a list of them with him.

      Reply
  • December 27, 2017 at 11:55 pm
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    I am soon traveling outside of the country, so this is such a timely post! Each of your tips is so helpful – especially the one about keeping money in your shoe!

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    • January 4, 2018 at 2:30 am
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      Hi April, thanks for your comments, I’m very happy that those tips will come in handy. Enjoy your travel abroad!

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  • December 28, 2017 at 12:13 am
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    These are all great tips for traveler and I have definitely used them all to ensure a pleasant and safe trip. It really doesn’t hurt brushing up on some key words and phrases before you go, and you can even use that time on the plane to help memorize it all, like you said an app or a phone can even fail and it doesn’t hurt to have a back up. That bill in the shoe thing is great, there are now socks and even shoes with a compartment already built in.

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    • January 4, 2018 at 2:31 am
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      Hi Tracy, thanks for your comments. Key phrases are a great tip! and they can be very useful, especially abroad.

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  • December 28, 2017 at 2:04 am
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    Very helpful tips. I always print my itinerary and hotel reservation confirmation. It’s more convenient for me than using a phone. Thanks for sharing it.

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    • January 4, 2018 at 2:29 am
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      Thanks Alice for your comments. I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who still prints things… as you mentioned, more convenient than having it on the phone, and especially when the internet is wonky or such.

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  • December 28, 2017 at 2:10 am
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    These are some great tips! I will be traveling for the first time out of country this summer and will definitely use these thanks!!

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    • January 4, 2018 at 2:28 am
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      Thanks Nikki for your comments. First time out of the country? how exciting! Glad you will be able to use some of the tips. Happy travels!

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  • December 28, 2017 at 6:31 am
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    I have been traveling so much, sometimes I feel like a nomad :p. Your tips are very useful indeed.

    XOXO
    Prajakta

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    • January 4, 2018 at 2:27 am
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      Thanks Prajakta for your comments. I traveled with work for 15 years, almost every week or so. I felt like a nomad all the time! I totally understand!

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  • December 28, 2017 at 2:50 pm
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    These are all awesome tips and ones that I have done when traveling. Although I’ve never traveled alone, I can see how some of these are even more important when you don’t have someone with you.

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    • January 4, 2018 at 2:26 am
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      Hi Stephanie, Thanks for your comments. S9ome of these tips are handy even if you travel as a couple, or in pairs!

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  • December 29, 2017 at 1:28 am
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    Great advice for international travel! We are so used to keeping all the info and confirmation numbers in our phones, it’s so important to remember we may not be able to do that when in another country!

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    • January 4, 2018 at 2:26 am
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      Hi Caitlin, thanks for your comments. You are so right, now with the phones, everything goes in there, and then if you get THAT stolen, well… not only is it a risk for identity theft, but it’s where many keep all their own info.

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  • December 29, 2017 at 1:04 pm
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    The business card tip is brilliant. My son is interning in Germany next year. I’ll have to mention this to him and remember for myself when we go to visit.

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    • January 4, 2018 at 2:25 am
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      Hi Jill, thanks for your comments, and I’m happy that something resonated with you. Germany! that will be an exciting internship!

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  • December 30, 2017 at 4:13 am
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    Great tips! I have a friend who is traveling solo but read a ton of similar articles to stay safe 🙂

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    • January 4, 2018 at 2:24 am
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      Hi Mike, Thanks for your comments. I say, there’s never too much information when it comes to safety! the more, the better!

      Reply
  • December 30, 2017 at 6:09 am
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    The money between shoe and sole is a great idea and i didnt think to make copies of passports and cards. Ill have to do these before we plan another vacation

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    • January 4, 2018 at 2:23 am
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      Thanks Jenny for your comments. The copy of the passport would have come in very handy when my passport was stolen years ago… it was hellish to try to get out of the Bahamas and back into my country. I learned!

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  • December 30, 2017 at 12:15 pm
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    These are such great tips. I will definitely apply them if I have chance to travel to other places. Thanks for your sharing.

    Reply
    • December 30, 2017 at 4:29 pm
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      Thanks for your comments – Glad that these tips resonate with you.

      Reply

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