Change is the only constant in life. To travel is to change. And traveling never fails to add a new perspective to life, especially to an inexperienced young professional learning the ropes and exploring the possibilities of his or her vocation. New perspectives are not reserved only for the young and inexperienced however, as in a similar fashion, change induced by travelling is experienced by entrepreneurs looking to become better businessmen. They know that to change means to grow, and growth is always positive.
In any case, whether you pick your destination with your professional goals in mind, or you just want to travel for the sake of traveling and hope to expand your horizons (or both), security is one of the biggest concerns you will have.
Do the research
There was a time when learning about new places meant going to the library, a bookstore or buying magazines. The internet made that very easy for us, so do not be lazy and take an hour to learn something about your destination, including the law of the country. You will feel much comfortable if you have a rough itinerary and some idea on what to expect. Also, do not rely solely on your smartphone or a tablet for learning something about your destination upon arrival, especially not on bus or train stations and airports. You should leave those places as quickly as possible. Stay alert and don’t trust everyone. This doesn’t mean you should keep to yourself, of course. Just try not to be naive, especially in a place where it is obvious that you are a tourist.
Make some photocopies of all the important documents and send the information you may need in the case of theft to your email. Namely, these should include passport, tickets and itinerary, visa, traveler’s cheques, credit card numbers, drivers license, insurance policy, credit card numbers, toll free numbers of credit cards and companies and such. Be sure not to keep these copies in the same bag as your documents for obvious reasons. Furthermore, you should contact your bank in order to tell them where you are going and for how long. This should be the case especially if you travel to another country or you do not travel often, as banks could recognize this as unusual or suspicious behavior on your account and thus put a hold on your card.
If you haven’t already, get used to the idea of travel insurance. Very few people take it seriously until they find themselves in a situation where they wish they had. And that is an unfavorable situation if there ever was one – without money and/or documents away from home, where you don’t know anyone. It is all the worse if you are robbed, injured or ill while you are traveling abroad. Travel insurance is a safety net that will allow you to relax and enjoy the ride. You may also consider using a money belt, especially when traveling abroad to a place where it will be obvious you are a foreigner.
Choose your bag carefully
This may seem like an obvious principle, but you would be surprised how many people will just buy something with a functioning zipper, some pockets and a whiff of practicality. Your bag will be with you at all time. Don’t buy an over-the-shoulder bulky bag or a purse. They seem to be very popular nowadays. Personally, I can’t imagine why would anyone like it, but on a trip it is not just a poor fashion choice. It becomes a liability, as those bags are much easier to snatch than cross-body ones or those that are carried around the waist. Essentially, what you need is a big pocket with a belt and a zipper, not something that will be hanging from your shoulder like bait for those with less than honorable intentions. They will spot you and you little over-the-shoulder treasure chest from a mile away.
The best advice in this regard it to just play it safe, especially when travelling abroad. Again, foreigners are considered easy prey for various frauds across the world, not just in undeveloped countries. Try to resist the temptation of renting an apartment for a short stay in order to save some money and/or live like a local. Hotels, motels and hostels are simply a safer option. If you do decide for a private accommodation, be sure to check out thoroughly whether it actually exists and if it’s available. If you are staying in a hotel, ask them to send you the details about the hotel room and the price in writing, or you may find yourself staying in a room without a balcony or a sea view and paying for it much more than you planned because you “misheard the conditions”. Also, never let the hotel hold on to your passport, insist for them to take down your details immediately and wait for them to finish at the reception.
Alex Pejak is an economics graduate with a degree in Finance and Banking. She loves to travel and later blog about her experiences, but also enjoys writing on subjects relating to her experience.
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