Traveling can be an exciting and eye-opening experience! With thrill and anticipation on the horizon, it’s easy to get wrapped up in planning your excursions and adventures. However, it’s important that you don’t forget about security and safety planning. Below are some travel safety tips you should consider next time you take a big trip:
1. Do your research
It is important that you get to know your destination before you arrive. Your research should tell you about the best restaurants to try as well as the safest neighborhoods to stay in. The State Department’s website can be a helpful tool to help you learn about your destination, as it provides country-specific information, travel alerts, and travel warnings. Some details you can find are the location of the U.S. embassy and any consular offices, whether you need a visa, crime and security information, health and medical considerations, drug penalties, localized hot spots, and more. You may also consider enrolling in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), which is a free service that allows U.S. citizens and nationals who travel and/or live abroad to enroll their trip location(s) with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
2. Make copies of important documents
Keep copies of important documents in case you lose the originals and someone needs proof of identification. Carry a photocopy of your passport and driver license with you and keep the originals locked up in a secure location while traveling.
3. Notify your brokerage services and banks
To ensure you have access to your accounts while traveling, set up a travel notice on your accounts. Most major banks allow you to do this through their online platform, but you can also call or visit a branch. In addition to notifying your brokerage services and banks, you should let your trusted advisors, such as your financial planner, CPA, and lawyers, know when you’ll be out of town.
4. Keep close family and friends updated
It is always a good idea to let your trusted friends and family know what your plans are. Before you leave, send a copy of your itinerary to a few trusted people. Check in with them regularly to let them know you are safe.
While it is important to let close family and friends know where you are, you may want to wait on updating your social media. If all of your Facebook friends and Instagram followers know you are on vacation, they also know you aren’t at home. The fewer people who know your home is empty, the better.
5. Be wary of public Wi-Fi
Free internet access can be easy and convenient, but unfortunately, it’s also easy and convenient for hackers. Hackers may be looking to access your personal data when you join a public Wi-Fi network, so you should be careful about what you access. You may also consider setting up a virtual private network (VPN) that allows you to access the internet securely.
Following these five travel safety tips may help you plan safe and more relaxing trips. Regardless of how many precautions you take, you never know when something unexpected will happen, which is why we also suggest travel insurance. Happy vacationing to you and yours!