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.

24 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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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. ๐Ÿ˜€

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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, Iรจd 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!

      Reply

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