There is something about travel that brings out the inner daredevil. I know it is tempting to skip that boring costly travel insurance or taking those sensible precautions. But I can tell you from grim experience, it is does not pay. A savvy traveler is someone who has all bases covered ensuring an angst-free journey.
Travel insurance is an essential. Really, yes you do need it. Also if you are a risk taker and intend to use your travel experience to finally learn to ride a motorbike or scuba dive then tailor your insurance to cover all contingencies. Medical costs can eat into a travel budget in no time.
Also take some time to find out what the recommended vaccination shots for the countries you are traveling through are and take them. Not always fun, but the consequences of traveling unvaccinated can be a lot less fun.
Always carry a small amount of cash on you and have several sources of funds. I find a mix of cards works as long as they are kept separate so if you lose one you have another available.
It does not pay to be too flashy when you travel. I find it is easier to blend in when you are dressed down in a style of the locals. Definitely keep valuables and electronic gear out of sight in a hotel safe. If you have an expensive camera keep it in a bag rather than wearing it around your neck.
I think good secure pockets are an essential part of any travel wardrobe, preferably an inside pocket which zips or buttons. Money belts worn under your clothing can be clumsy to access and those worn outside are a definite signal that you have something worth stealing.
If you are like me and have a trusting nature or are absent minded always check where you put your bags or other belongings at all times, never leave them unattended and always double check you have everything when you get up from a seat or table.
Be aware that in some countries, as a tourist you are a target for criminals whose livelihood is based on separating you from your cash and belongings. These operations can be sophisticated and coordinated so do not accept help at ATMs, or at any touristy location as well as stations and airports.
I find it is reassuring to have a scan of all my important travel documents, passport, travel insurance, and visas on an emailed file so you can access them from any computer. If you can avoid it do not carry your passport around with you.
If you are traveling somewhere which is high risk then keep family and friends in the loop. You can register your travel movements and contact details with your government. Also keep updated on official travel advice about the country you are going to or are in.
Try to avoid any sensitive or financial transactions online unless you are on a safe secure computer. Hackers can use software and access your accounts.
Lastly is important also to have a grasp of a country's etiquette and laws. It makes you a more considerate traveler and less likely to upset the local people or worse still police or military.
If in a worse case scenario where you find yourself the victim of a mugging, do not play hardball. If you have invested wisely in insurance then you will recover costs so just hand over whatever you are being asked for no matter how attached to it you are.
I have found that following these few sensible precautions can make the travel experience as headache free as it can be.
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