8 Ways to Stay Safe and Healthy While Traveling
Many risks are associated with traveling, particularly when you go abroad. From unsafe food and water to risky transportation, you never know what calamity might happen when you’re on the road.
This doesn’t mean you should avoid traveling altogether. It’s just a good idea to be prepared if you wish to avoid the major risks.
Even if you stay within one country, travel can entail major risks. Health and safety risks include theft, unclean water, and serious illnesses. One travel safety risk that’s not obvious to many is car crashes.
These misfortunes occur while people are traveling more often than the average person knows. If you want to travel smart, here are a few suggestions for doing it safely and in good health.
- Drink Only Bottled Drinks
Before you take a drink, make sure the bottle is properly sealed. Tap water is not safe in many areas outside of the U.S., and a dishonest vendor will sell water in a used bottle that’s been resealed with glue. Inspect all seals on bottled drinks before drinking them.
- Be Smart with Transportation
Hailing a cab in many overseas cities can be a risky choice. Many of the drivers are careless and aggressive, and they aren’t protected by the same laws if you get in an accident. Public transportation, such as buses or trains, can also be dicey for tourists. Use your instincts and a travel guide to help you choose the best forms of transportation.
- Conceal Valuables
Try not to carry valuables on your person. This will make you a target for theft. Hide them in the lining of your suitcase instead, or stay in a hotel that has a safe. If possible, travel with minimal cash, and leave major valuables at home.
- Research Restaurants
If possible, check out the reviews of restaurants and eateries before traveling. This won’t always be an option if you’re outside the country, but when you’re able to check the reviews, you can ascertain which restaurants are safe to eat at and which to avoid. You can also ask a tour guide to direct you to a good restaurant, and research the CDC’s recommendation on safe foods.
- Take a Decoy Wallet
In the event that someone points a weapon at you and asks for your wallet, it’s not a bad idea to have a “giveaway” wallet that you don’t mind losing. Fill this wallet with some expired credit cards and maybe $10 in cash. That way, when someone asks for your wallet, you have something to give away without hesitation or long-term risk. Nothing is more valuable than your life, so if you find yourself in situation without a decoy wallet, it’s best to hand over your actual wallet immediately.
- Don’t Act Like a Tourist
Thieves and swindlers can detect a tourist a mile away, especially if you behave like one. Wearing a fanny pack, asking everyone for directions, flashing money around, and meandering aimlessly down the street carrying a map can put a target on your back. You probably can’t do anything to be mistaken for a native, but you can reduce your tourist-like tendencies to take some attention off yourself.
- Don’t Hand Out Money
It’s much safer to donate to a charity than to a beggar. You’ll see beggars often in large cities, and you may feel sorry for them, but try not to go near them with cash. Aside from the fact that they may turn around and use your money for drugs and alcohol, they could steal all of your money and harm you in the process.
Your entire goal when traveling is to stay alive and healthy, even if it means you choose not to do everything on your list. There’s no material replacement for your life and your health, so it’s best to heed cautions and be smart while traveling.