11 Travel Safety Tips Everyone Should Know

11 Travel Safety Tips Everyone Should Know

You’ve packed your suitcase. You’ve got your passport. You’re ready to go – but have you thought about travel safety? Almost 90% of travelers have travel safety concerns, with crime, health and medical issues, and terrorism being the top three concerns. While these issues aren’t stopping people from traveling, you can give yourself extra peace of mind by being travel-savvy. 

At ZenHotels, you can find hotels, hostels, and apartments to suit every type of traveler, whether you’re a solo traveler or traveling with friends. You’ll get access to the best prices from over 2.5 million accommodation options, vetted for safety with customer reviews for extra peace of mind.

We’re sharing our top safety tips every traveler should know, whether you’re going solo or in a group, before setting off on your next adventure. 

ZenHotels Blog
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11 Holiday Travel Safety Tips

Staying on top of your personal safety while traveling is the best way to guarantee a trip that you’ll remember for all the right reasons. While you’ll want to relax and destress, don’t fall into the trap of forgetting where you are. Anything can happen when you’re on vacation, and a little pre-trip planning can make the unexpected a little more manageable. 

1. Do your research before booking

A city might look beautiful on Instagram but looks can be deceiving. Do your research before booking an impulse trip, even if the flight prices are the same price as a night out with friends. The internet is a wealth of knowledge for all things travel, with influencers and everyday people sharing their experiences online. 

Cities like Cape Town, Rio de Janeiro, and Kingston are rated among the most dangerous for tourists. Other cities pose challenges of their own. Mumbai is overcrowded, while London is one of the most expensive cities in the world. 

Beyond the serene embrace of Rio’s iconic Christ the Redeemer, lies a bustling reality where beauty intertwines with the vibrancy and challenges of urban life.
Photo by Kelly Repreza on Unsplash / Photo by Joshua Woroniecki on Unsplash

Check your local government website for travel advice on your chosen destination and sign up for programs like the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).

2. Leave your valuables at home

It’s easy to be tempted to pack your nicest things for vacation, but they can make you a target for scammers and thieves. Leave your designer handbags, expensive jewelry, and luxury goods at home. 

If you’re planning to travel with these, avoid wearing them in popular tourist areas and wear clothing that is less likely to attract attention. You want to blend in with the locals as much as possible.

Theft can happen in any city. The top 5 countries where UK passports are commonly stolen include Spain, the USA, France, Italy, and Australia. Theft is more common at beach resorts than in cities, with 44% of travelers on a beach holiday having an item stolen compared to 24% of travelers on city breaks. 

It’s easy to be tempted to pack your nicest things for vacation, but they can make you a target for scammers and thieves. Leave your designer handbags, expensive jewelry, and luxury goods at home. 
Photo: Prostock-studio/ Shutterstock.com

Consider investing in an anti-theft bag to carry your essentials if you’re planning on visiting popular tourist attractions. 

3. Plan for potential medical emergencies

Research suggests that 15% of travelers fall sick on vacation, whether it’s a serious illness or a brief sickness that can be managed with medication. Locate where your nearest pharmacy is in the case of an emergency, and always travel with basic medication. If you suffer from reoccurring illnesses or have allergies, carry this medication in your personal item when traveling if your luggage is lost in transit.

Save the number for the emergency services for your destination on your phone before your trip. You’ll also want to know where the nearest embassy is in the country you’re traveling in, as this might not be in the same city as you.

Research suggests that 15% of travelers fall sick on vacation, whether it’s a serious illness or a brief sickness that can be managed with medication. Locate where your nearest pharmacy is in the case of an emergency, and always travel with basic medication.
Photo: Alliance Images / Shutterstock.com

4. Share your travel itinerary with family and friends

Someone back home should always know your travel plans, whether you’re in a group or flying solo. Leave the details of your complete travel itinerary with a friend or family member and let them know if any changes happen during your trip. Plan to check in regularly with at least one person, especially if you’re visiting an unfamiliar city or country.

Before you travel, make several copies of your passport, driver’s license, and travel itinerary, including a digital copy of these. Leave one complete set at home with someone you trust in case they need your passport information or accommodation details if something happens. 

5. Protect your luggage and your data

Lost luggage hit a 10-year high in 2022, with 26 million bags going missing. You want to put a lock on your luggage to secure it while traveling and if you’re carrying it through a city.

Install a VPN on your devices before traveling and ensure it is enabled when joining public Wi-Fi servers, even in the airport.
Photo: BestForBest/ Shutterstock.com

A travel lock is probably top of your shopping list, but are you protecting your data? You want to secure your electronics to prevent unwanted data transfers or common scams. Public Wi-Fi is a go-to trick for scammers who can steal personal information, such as your credit card number. Install a VPN on your devices before traveling and ensure it is enabled when joining public Wi-Fi servers, even in the airport.

6. Book safe accommodation

Whether you’re traveling on a budget or splurging on a bucket-list trip, safety should always be the number one priority when booking your accommodation. Always look for reviews before booking a hotel or apartment, no matter how good the pictures might look online. 

Choose accommodation with positive reviews, a good safety rating, and a convenient location.

Always look for reviews before booking a hotel or apartment, no matter how good the pictures might look online. 
Photo: HAKINMHAN/ Shutterstock.com

At ZenHotels, we collect and publish traveler’s reviews and highlight ones from TripAdvisor to help you make an informed decision when booking affordable accommodation abroad.

You can use the ZenHotels map features to narrow your hotel search by specific locations.

7. Only use reputable transportation options

Figure out your go-to travel options before setting off for your destination. While Uber and Lyft are popular ride-share options in the United States, many countries in Europe use Bolt instead. Do your research and download any transport apps you’ll need ahead of time. 

If you’re planning to take public transport, check if you can use Apple Pay on the go or if you need to buy tickets ahead of time. Researching your transport options can help you minimize stress and avoid unexpected travel fines if you don’t buy the right train or bus ticket.

Researching your transport options can help you minimize stress and avoid unexpected travel fines if you don’t buy the right train or bus ticket.
Photo: Bits And Splits/ Shutterstock.com

8. Use ATMs in secure locations and carry different cards

It’s not recommended to carry around large amounts of cash when traveling. You’ll likely want to visit an ATM during your trip. We recommend only using secure machines located near a bank or in high-traffic indoor areas, such as a hotel.

Avoid keeping all your money in one place, and carry cash and at least two credit cards in different places if your bag goes missing or you leave it behind. You can avoid expensive currency exchange fees and international transaction costs by getting a travel card for your trip. 

9. Always be aware of your surroundings

Staying alert is the number one travel tip. You always want to be aware of your surroundings, whether you’re at the hotel bar or grabbing a coffee on the main street. This travel tip applies whether you’re going solo or traveling with friends.

Don’t let your guard down when you’re on vacation, even when you’re at the beach or by the pool.
Photo: Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock.com

Don’t let your guard down when you’re on vacation, even when you’re at the beach or by the pool. 25% of deaths among American travelers are due to drowning, with road traffic accidents accounting for 57%. Take extra care if you’re planning on indulging in a few drinks and keep tabs on your friends to make sure everyone gets back safely at the end of the night. 

10. Take extra care with sporting activities

You might be planning to book sporting activities as part of your vacation, whether you’re hitting the slopes or jetting off somewhere exotic. Doing extreme sports is an adrenaline rush, but it’s also where accidents can happen, even with advances in safety. Snorkeling is one of the fastest-growing vacation activities amongst American travelers, with bookings up by 64%, but scuba diving below 100 feet is usually not covered by travel insurance. You’ll want to research these activities and the risks before committing to them. 

11. Get travel insurance

Getting travel insurance is the most proactive thing you can do to stay safe while traveling. While it’ll add to the cost of your vacation, it offers financial cover for a series of situations and unexpected circumstances you might find yourself in while traveling. 

The coverage of your travel insurance will vary between providers, but most will cover:

  • Loss or theft of luggage and personal possessions 
  • Cancellation or significant delays to your trip
  • Medical expenses, including for treatment abroad
  • Medical reparation in the event of a major illness

You can choose travel insurance that works for you as a single trip or an annual policy to cover multiple trips.

Getting travel insurance is the most proactive thing you can do to stay safe while traveling. While it’ll add to the cost of your vacation, it offers financial cover for a series of situations and unexpected circumstances you might find yourself in while traveling.
Photo:Dontree_M /Shutterstock.com

Book popular global accommodation with ZenHotels

Get extra peace of mind for your next travel adventure with access to the best rates on accommodation in over 220 countries. We offer all sorts of accommodation, whether you’re searching for a hotel in New York or a boutique B&B in Paris. Start planning your solo travel by exploring our top destinations on ZenHotels today. 

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