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Protecting Yourself When Travelling

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 22 Jun 2013 | comments*Discuss
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Travel can be risky, so knowing how to protect yourself when travelling is imperative. Not only do you need to protect your physical health and safety, but your very identity as well. With a little information and common sense, protecting yourself when travelling will become second nature.

Protecting Your Safety

Protecting your safety is of the utmost importance when you travel. On transportation this will mean sitting in an aisle seat, in a well lit section and possibly up close to the driver (unless you are on a sex segregated mode of transportation, in which case adhering to local custom is advised). Travellers should also try to stay awake as much as possible to be aware of your surroundings. In hotels and other accommodation you can protect your safety by asking for a room near the lifts, with both a deadbolt lock and a peephole, and with fire or emergency evacuation plans clearly displayed. If you are staying in a building with many floors, try to get a room on the fourth, fifth or sixth floors to avoid many other guests needing to be on the floor and so that fire brigades can access the rooms from outside if needed. While travelling for day trips, make sure that you stay in a group, in well lit areas and always carry a map, emergency money and a mobile phone if possible. If you are travelling on your own, try to leave your itinerary or rough plans with friends or family so that someone will always know your approximate whereabouts if needed.

Protecting Your Health

An important step towards protecting your health while travelling is to get every vaccination advised for your destination before you leave home. Even if you are going on an easy vacation, knowing that you are protected against diseases that many be prevalent in the area will set your mind at ease. While you travel you should be sure to eat healthfully, drink at least six glasses of water per day (more if you are active or in high temperatures), rest as needed and get a good sleep each night. Maintaining proper hygiene, drinking only safe tap water or bottled water, using sunscreen every day and keeping a well stocked first aid kit with you will also help you protect your health as you travel.

Protecting Your Identity

Identity theft is a very real danger for travellers so protecting your identity is important, even during routine transactions. Try to book tickets, car rentals and accommodation over secure Internet connections and print out the confirmations rather than having to repeat sensitive personal information in many different locations. Try not to attach your name, personal address and private phone number to your luggage but rather supply limited or business information if you must. Store your computer, passport and other documents in a hotel safe to avoid leaving them out for staff members to read. Always keep a copy of your passport and other identification documents with you and leave copies at home with friends or relatives in case the originals go missing and you need to prove who you are. Do not carry financial passwords or codes with you while you travel, and definitely do not store such information in the same place as your credit card or other financial documents.

Protecting Your Possessions

A basic rule of travelling is to leave valuables at home. If you can't do this, make sure that you keep your possessions with you at all times in a sturdy bag that you can loop around your arms and/or ankles as needed. Do not show off flashy electronics, expensive jewellery or other valuables, and lock your possessions in your room or a hotel safe while you are out exploring. Do not pack valuables into luggage, but rather bring them in your carry on baggage so that they are always physically close to you as you travel.

Protecting yourself when travelling requires a little planning and a lot of common sense. Once you have a routine that works well, continue to use it on your travels so that you always know you have done everything possible to safeguard your person, your identity and your possessions.

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