Traveling internationally is an experience that every woman deserves to enjoy at least once in her life. However, keeping yourself safe—especially when traveling alone in a foreign land—is crucial to having a good time.
Here are some things to keep in mind when you finally hop on the flight for that fantasy getaway trip you’ve been waiting and saving for:
1) Be Careful On Social Media
You may want to flex for the ‘Gram once your long-awaited vacation finally arrives, but sharing updates on your trip could come back to bite you. Avoid sharing personal details from your itinerary, like your travel dates and destination. You should also skip posting your travel updates in real-time, as it can leave a trail for someone to target you while abroad and tip off robbers in your neighborhood to target your home while you’re gone.
2) Do Your Homework
Get as much information as you can from locals as you’re planning your trip so you can find lodging and create an itinerary that you’re comfortable with. It’s no fun to travel if you’re always wary and looking over your shoulder at your destination.
3) If Possible, Travel With The Locals
This isn’t particularly important everywhere you go, but if you can, travel with people who know the area. Your extra-friendly Air BnB host could make for a surprisingly fun dinner date, and their suggestions on where to go and how to get there could save you a lot of trouble.
4) Try To Dress Like A Local, Too
If you’re visiting poor areas overseas like the favelas of Brazil or the streets of Addis Ababa, the last thing you want to do is draw unwanted attention to yourself by wearing flashy clothes and accessories. Use your discretion and know when to be modest. A simple t-shirt and some cute jeans will look good (and appropriate) in virtually any country.
5) Keep Your Maps & Smartphones Hidden
The easiest way to spot a tourist is to catch someone walking around with a map in her hands. Don’t be that person. Of course, using your smartphone’s map application can help because it’s easier to camouflage yourself as someone reading a text or taking a call. But if you really want to blend in with the crowd and make commuting less stressful (especially when on foot), map out your commutes and email the directions to yourself or save them in your notes before you go out. That way you’ll know exactly how to get to your destination without having to stare at your phone as you’re walking, and you’ll look like you know where you’re going.
6) Notify Your Bank When You’re Traveling
If all of your purchases are usually made within 15 miles of your hometown, a purchase made overseas may be a red flag to a bank that is constantly monitoring for fraud, which could result in card activity being suspended. Before you leave, tell your bank when and where you’re traveling, as well as the debit and credit cards you’ll be taking with you. When you’re away from home, smart financial preparation and planning can mean the difference between an amazing adventure or an adventure in financial survival.
7) Make Digital Copies Of Your Travel Documents
You probably already have a copy of your passport printed out and stashed away with other sensitive items for your trip, but if God forbid something happens to your bags, having a digital version could save you. Keep this stored with your other travel essentials like details for your flight, your hotel or host’s contact information, visa, travel insurance, etc. However, don’t keep those personal items stored there for too long; emails can be easy to break into and your documents could end up in the wrong hands long after you actually need them.
8) Be Careful With Free WiFi
Just like using public WiFi networks at home can put you at risk of having others steal your personal information, you face the same risk abroad. Again, use your discretion.
9) Choose Your Travel Buddy Carefully
You’d think that traveling in numbers would be safer than hitting the road by your lonesome, but that’s not always the case. Having a travel companion that’s rude to locals or that brings unwanted attention through making the mistakes like the ones above could end up ruining your vacation for you. Talk openly with your travel buddy if you feel like she’s putting you at risk. If that doesn’t work, and you feel compelled to part ways when she crosses the line again, do so without looking back.