After everything we went through in 2020, people are eager to start exploring the globe once again. Discovering a new place and experiencing it with your friends or family is an unforgettable experience. Unfortunately, traveling can be dangerous too.
So, it is good to know some practical tips that will make your trip safer and more enjoyable. After all, nobody wants to get a stomach virus from a bad meal or deal with cybertheft because they didn't use a VPN at a cafe. Let's begin!
Research the COVID Situation
It wasn't necessary a couple of years ago, but proper research is an absolute must for post-lockdown traveling. Even though the COVID cases might be declining in your part of the world, other countries are still going through the pandemic. So, before you board a plane, check the numbers of the COVID cases in your destination country.
There is one more COVID-related thing, and it involves you directly. Don't forget to do a COVID test to make sure you don't have the virus. You might be putting other people in danger even if you are not experiencing any symptoms at all. Most countries still require a negative test for tourists who plan to stay, so it is better to have one. Also, do another test before you return home.
Know the Scams
Tourist scams are a common occurrence in many countries. There are many popular tricks around the world, so you are probably familiar with some of them. As an example, "the tumbling lady" often happens in the United Kingdom. It involves a woman who falls and makes a fuss while her accomplices pickpocket the onlookers.
Then, some hoaxes are specific to a single country. The perfect example is "the milk scam." It is common in Cambodia and neighboring countries. A child comes up to a tourist and asks if they could buy them milk in a nearby store because they are hungry. Foreigners usually agree because they are not asking for money directly. Then the child goes back into the store and exchanges the milk for cash. Knowing the famous scams can help you not to become a victim.
Use a VPN
Cybersecurity should also be one of your priorities when you travel. After all, you will be connecting to public Wi-Fi networks more often than ever before. These are super useful when you are on the move. Hotspots are available at airports, bus stations, cafes, shops, hotels, etc. However, you could put your personal and financial information in danger while using public Wi-Fi.
These networks are unregulated since there is no security on them whatsoever. It doesn't mean you shouldn't go online during your trip. Use a tool like VPN that will encrypt your traffic. For instance, use a VPN for Mac on your MacBook, and all the data you send and receive will be invisible to cybercriminals. A VPN for Mac or any other device you have is a simple solution that improves your cybersecurity.
Have the Emergency Info With You
Traveling is unpredictable, and you never know what can happen in a foreign country. So, you should have a list of numbers you can call in an emergency. Of course, keeping them in your phone is easy, but you might lose it, or your battery could run out. Thus, write down all the numbers you might need on a piece of paper.
Start with the basics and jolt down your travel companion's number. Then, include other contacts that could be useful to you, such as your doctor, bank, family back home, and an insurance company. It is also good to know the number of your embassy in the country you are visiting. Keep this paper somewhere safe, like in your bag tucked away with the clothes.
Caution With Local Food and Water
Drinking tap water is a privilege in some places. Therefore, you need to do quick research regarding the quality of that water in your destination country. It is a good idea to stick with bottled water during your stay to make sure you stay healthy. Catching a stomach bug when traveling is inconvenient and could ruin your adventure.
Food is a huge part of traveling for most of us. Ordering local dishes is a great way to get to know a different culture. Always buy food from clean places. Street food is delicious, but choose vendors that take good care of their food booths. If you see any bugs flying around and lingering on the meat, find another place to eat.
Most travelers already know they need to keep an eye on their bags at all times. But no matter how much you travel or how experienced you are, there is a chance you will forget to close a zipper or leave your bag unattended. Your belongings are especially vulnerable at airports, bus stations, or train stations. These places are often crowded, and pickpockets use that to their advantage. So, it is best to pack as light as possible and leave your valuables at home unless you need them. A lightweight 45L travel backpack will fit all your needs and still give you the maximum mobility and flexibility.
Use this philosophy while you are walking around your travel destination. There is no need to carry all the cash with you. Instead, a small wallet with just enough money to get you through the day will be enough. Your hotel room probably has a safety lock, so make use of it. If you plan on carrying your documents with you, consider using a money belt.