Passport? Check. Plane tickets, hotel reservations and itinerary? Check. Check. Check. But what about safety? Whether you’re taking a summer adventure abroad or travel internationally for business on a regular basis, chances are you haven’t given much thought to your safety while out of the United States. Never fear. We’ve got a good list to get you educated and keep you safe while travelling internationally.
There are tons of articles online that cover conventional travel safety tips. Here’s 10 from Defense Divas ® that you probably haven’t thought about. Nothing ruins your vacation quicker than being the victim of crime! Implement these unusual and interesting travel safety tips into your vacay plans to stay safe as you go forth and travel the world.
1. Copy Your Identifying Documents
You should ALWAYS make two copies of your I.T.D.’s (Important Travel Documents). Leave one set of copies with a trusted friend or relative in your home country and put the second set in your hotel room safe. Doing so provides you a safety lifeline if you are robbed while travelling and your originals are stolen. These documents should include:
- Birth Certificate
- Driver’s License
- Health Insurance ID card
- Travel itinerary
2. Hide Emergency Cash
Never carry all of your cash in one place while travelling. Split it up between you and your travel partner. Carry some in your purse or wallet, but also have an emergency cash stash in your hotel room, a diversion safe or even your sock. If you are the victim of a robbery, you won’t be left stranded. Some creative ways to do this are:
- Inside a stash can or diversion safe. These are made to look like regular everyday products that you would normally have in your possession, but they have a secret inside compartment to hold (and hide) your valuables and cash.
- Inside a secret pocket sewn into your pants.
- Behind a patch or pocket on your traveling bag or backpack.
- Rolled carefully into an empty tube or Chapstick container.
No matter how “modern”, “safe” or “Americanized” you may think the city you are visiting overseas may be, there are always opportunistic people that make a career out of targeting tourist and non-local visitors. Even if you think you are too smart to be scammed, you may be surprised to learn how smooth and skilled professional con-artists can outsmart you.
Some of the common travel scams include free bracelets or rosemary, broken taxi meter, closed or overbooked hotel, and spills on your clothing to create a distraction. There is also the ring scam, fake police officers, friendly ATM helper, child beggars, and so forth. Every city has its special scam to watch out for. Take time to research these travel scams and be extra about local “tourist traps”. You can even learn how to defend yourself from being scammed or tricked by watching YouTube videos. Safety awareness is your #1 self-defense weapon, so get educated before you hit the TSA line at the airport.4. Carry Bulletproof Protection
Unfortunately, this is no longer an option; it’s a necessity. In our current world climate, an active shooter situation can occur anytime and anywhere. Carrying bulletproof protection on your body can mean the difference between life and death in an active shooter situation such as a plane jacking or terrorist attack in a foreign city. Having a bulletproof insert shield in your purse, carry-on or under your shirt provides you peace of mind that you are not a sitting duck in a SHTF situation. Another great bulletproof option for frequent flyers is the TSA Approved Proshield Pro Executive Bulletproof Laptop Backpack. This bulletproof backpack has tons of convenient features that frequent flyers will love and passes all the TSA requirements.5. Learn Emergency Word Translations
Do you know how to yell “Help!”, “Rape!” and “Attacker!” in the native language of the country you are visiting? It not, you need to learn those in advance of your trip.6. Learn Basic Self-Defense
Another safety tip when vacationing abroad is to learn some basic self-defense techniques beforehand. Simply put, travelling in unfamiliar countries, visiting popular tourist sites, possibly getting lost trying to get somewhere- you need to have a few basic self-defense techniques in your personal safety repertoire. This is especially true when travelling internationally because you will not be able to take your pepper spray or stun gun on an international flight (even if it’s in your checked baggage). You don’t have to be a black belt in MMA, but you do need to know how to defend yourself and escape without a self-defense device to depend on.
Some basic avoidance self-defense tactics are very effective without ever reaching hand-to-hand combat. For example, if a robber has a weapon and wants your purse- You should give it to them! But throw your purse or wallet away from your body so the robber has to turn their back or bend down to retrieve it. This provides you an opportunity to escape.7. Pack a First Aid Kit
Have you ever been injured in a foreign country? I have and it’s not fun! No matter how careful you can be, you can sustain injuries when you travel abroad and the language barrier can be a huge problem when minutes may matter to your medical emergency. Packing a small first aid kit (in your suitcase- not your carry-on luggage) allows you to take care of many minor injuries such as cuts, bruises and even bad sunburns without requiring medical assistance in a foreign land. No need for scalpels and sutures. All you need are the basics for treating cuts, stomach issues, burns, bruises, and sprains. Some items to include in your first aid kit include sunscreen, ibuprofen, band-aids, Neosporin, antacids, bandages, tape and antihistamine tablets.8. Inspect Your Hotel Room
When you check-in to your hotel, be sure to ask the front desk about security measures in place. Always check your room when you enter it. I’ve received my key at the front desk, opened the door to my room and found it was already occupied! Inspect your room. Look under beds. Look in the bathroom. And most importantly, make sure all the windows and exterior doors are locked. Using a small door stop alarm provides you an extra layer of security while you get a good night’s sleep.9. Leave Bread Crumbs
Bread crumbs is a term that refers to leaving clues. When travelling, this can be used to track you down if you were to go missing. Here are a few good “bread crumbs” to leave when travelling.
- When you are leaving for a day of sight-seeing or heading out to taste the local cuisine you should let the front desk staff know. However, use caution because this safety measure can also be used against you. The positive: letting the front desk know when you leave could be very beneficial to police if something were to happen and you didn’t return to the hotel after your adventure. The negative: you may be announcing to hotel staff when your room is vacant if they want to go through your personal belongings for cash and valuables. We recommend a stop by the front desk to ask a quick question or making eye contact and a wave to a front desk staffer. The important point is that you make certain someone at the hotel recognizes your face and when they last saw you in a police interview, if need be.
- When you are leaving the hotel property, it’s a good idea to place a piece of paper in your hotel room safe with the name of the place you are headed, the time you are leaving and when you expect to return. Again, you are leaving a security “bread crumb” for police in case something happens to you while you are off the hotel property.
This seems like common sense, but because I’ve made this mistake myself, I wanted to mention it. All-inclusive resorts make it very easy to lose track of your alcohol intake. You also begin forming friendships and bonds with other visitors at your hotel because you are all sharing this travel adventure together and everyone is in that vacay vibe. It’s easy to have a “false friendship” feeling develop with these new friends from all over the world and let your guard down. Don’t do that! It can be as simple as someone outright stealing from you. It could be more horrific such as having your drink drugged and being sexually assaulted. Or it could me more advanced and complex such as your personal identity information being stolen and used online a few weeks or months later. Just remember to keep your guard up and maintain your personal boundaries at all times. Remember this catchy little safety phrase: Loose lips, sink ships.
Implementing these simple safety precautions into your travel plans is a great way to be proactive about your personal safety and ensure that you enjoy every bit of your vacation. We believe knowledge is power. Please share this article with a friend and help spread self-defense and safety awareness. Now, GET OUT THERE AND EXPLORE OUR BIG BEAUTIFUL WORLD SAFELY!
At Defense Divas ®, we offer a diva-fantastic selection of travel safety and self-defense products for women, including Bulletproof Clothing, Backpacks & Accessories, Stun Guns, Pepper Sprays, Tasers, Concealed Carry Purses, and more. Protect yourself today from an active shooter at work or school with our full line of bulletproof products. Learn more about women’s empowerment, self-defense and female personal safety at Defense Divas ®.
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