It’s essential to do your homework before going on a trip. Finding ways to stay safe while traveling happens well before your boots hit the ground.
Read a guidebook about your destination or take advantage of so much information available online. If you do a quick search on travel in the area you want to go to, you’ll find lots of travel guides and blog posts with personal accounts that can be really useful.
Also, check out travel forums. Lonely Planet, Fodors, and Tripadvisor are all great ones, and there are many others.
Search for the area you are traveling to and read a few experiences from other travelers. Of course, make sure they are fairly current, and if not, you may want to ask if anything shared is still a concern for people who have traveled more recently.
Check if there are any safety topics listed in the forum and, if not, post something asking if there are any safety recommendations and places that you should not go to.
And keep in mind—there is crime everywhere. It may be more of the pick-pocketing variety than violent muggings, but if you know what to be prepared for before you go, you can keep yourself safe better.
Don’t stop your research once you get there though. When you’re on your trip, get advice from the locals. Sometimes you’ll get some great tips that you won’t read anywhere in a book or online. Ask at your hotel or apartment, or if you meet someone fun in your travels, get the scoop from them. It’s important to share experiences to keep everyone safe.
Don’t Forget to Bring Copies of Your Documents, Before you head out on your trip, it’s a good idea to make photocopies of your important documents, including your passport and driver’s license or identification card. Also, make copies of things like your insurance card, credit cards, bank cards, and any other important things you may have.
Take copies of the front and the back of your cards. This way, you have the account numbers and the numbers you need to call to notify the companies that your cards were lost or stolen.
Copies of your passport can help serve as proof of identification if your passport is misplaced or stolen.
It’s a good idea to have at least two sets of copies of your important documents and items. Carry one on your person in a different area than the originals. So, if you carry your cards and identification in a messenger bag, consider keeping the copies in a pocket of your clothes or in a money belt. Then, have a second copy saved at your accommodation, ideally in a safe. If there isn’t one, you could ask if the front desk can hold them, or stash them in your room somewhere, not readily apparent.