I do most of my domestic and international travel on my own. It takes quite a bit of planning and there are things I do to minimise risks, particularly as a woman. Having a great holiday is all about the fun, the adventure and the stories. Stories about lost passports, stolen credit cards, being mugged and ending up in hospital are not my kind of adventure.
1. Make sure at least one other person has a copy of your travel plans and they know when you are expected to turn up at different places. Check in with them regularly and have a plan in place that they check on you if you don’t check in.
2. Always have several forms of payment with you. After having credit cards hacked overseas I now carry and access several different credit cards throughout my tip, all through different banks and not linked. I found when the bank shut my card off when it was hacked I had no further access to my account. The last hing you need is all your financial eggs in one basket and the bank close off your access to it all. Always carry a back up.
3. Have electronic copies of your passport, ID and credit cards to access in the event they get lost. I had my a passport stolen while overseas. Having a copy made things much easier to get it replaced.
4. Don’t dress like you are a million dollars. Dress comfortably and plain. Don’t be a target. Dressing in designer clothing layered in jewelry isn’t ideal.
5. When I am in busier areas and cities I use a set of earphones when I am walking. I have the cord going into my handbag but not connected to anything so I can hear everything going on around me – traffic, people, animals, potential hazards. In crowded areas I put my head down, look like I have a purpose, do a lap of things to get my bearings and only then do I stop and admire things. Tourists are distracted and amazed by things in crowds – they are easy targets for theft. Tourists stand out. Blend in with the locals until you get your bearings.
6. I carry a cross body handbag designed for travel. The strap has a steel cable through it so it isn’t easily cut off. The inner lining has a steel net inside so the bottom of the bag can’t be cut out in a crowd. Inside the bag there are RFID pouches and all of the important zips have extra clips on them so they are not easily unzipped by others. I don’t put all of my valuable items together in the bag. I spread them securely between my bag, my person and other safe areas.
7. Get a doctor’s letter to carry with you that outlines all of your medical conditions and medications in the event you get sick. Unplanned sickness or injury can happen quickly. It is better to have all of your details with you so you can get the right medical attention. I also wear a MedicAlert bracelet and necklace in the event I am unable to speak for myself.
8. Always carry a hat, water and sunscreen. Dehydration and sunburn can really hamper your health and travel plans. Be proactive, keep hydrated and don’t get sun burnt.
9. Don’t go walking at night in areas you don’t know. Check with locals about where it is safe to go. Stay in busier areas, even during the day. Make sure someone knows where you are going. Even if you injury yourself or have an emergency you want to know that someone may be waiting for you to return to your accommodation.
10. Do a google search on areas you plan to stay. I was planning some travel in an area and was in the process of booking and fun looking Air B&B. I did a bit of a search on the area before finalising and found it was an area where people are robbed at gun point and there is often gang activity. It pays to do your homework.
Travel safely and enjoy our journey.
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