With more and more U.S. travelers branching out to international hotspots, there’s also the threat of heightened security issues in certain destinations.
CheapAir.com has compiled a few commonsense strategies to help keep you and your family safe wherever your travels may take you.
Take direct flights whenever possible.
As the old adage goes, “the shortest distance between two points is a straight line.” So, if you’re traveling to a far-flung destination, a nonstop flight will give you peace of mind that you’ll get to your destination without any potential for layover delays. If a layover is unavoidable, just be aware if any such stop might pose a safety risk or be in a locale with heightened security concerns.
Exercise caution with strangers.
Refrain from prolonged discussions with strangers or any topics of conversation that could be misconstrued/misunderstood, especially in airports, train stations or other popular areas with a high concentration of tourist traffic.
Be inconspicuous and do as the Romans do.
As much as possible, you should avoid behavior or dress that could draw unnecessary attention to you or your travel companions. Flashy jewelry, loud conversations, and obvious displays of cash can and will attract petty criminals who are looking for easy marks. If you can practice subdued dress and look to blend in with the locals, you’ll very likely be overlooked.
When you’re in transit between the immigration areas of the airport and your hotel, it’s prudent to not linger unnecessarily. Public areas of an airport should be exited as soon as you’ve collected your bags, and you should plan to catch a taxi, Uber, or hotel transfer as soon as you can. We always recommend checking your arrival time in a foreign country with which you are unfamiliar well before your travel date. If you’re landing in the wee hours of the morning, we suggest pre-booking a hotel transfer so you’re not trying to organize while you’re exhausted from travel. Plus, there may be a scarcity of official (legal) taxis in the vicinity.
Know taxi etiquette.
How to assure you can avoid the ubiquitous taxi rip-off can be a source of much anxiety for foreign travelers but it’s pretty easy to avoid trouble if you follow a few simple guidelines. Choose taxis at random and don’t allow yourself to be “guided” or “chaperoned” by helpful strangers. Usually, these guys are herding you off to more expensive cabs that will give them a cut of the exorbitant fare. Don’t take a taxi that is not clearly marked as such, and check to make sure your driver has credentials posted clearly.
Watch your bags (and other bags).
Make sure you keep your luggage in your sight (preferably in your possession) at all times once you’ve exited the baggage area of an airport. Should you see any abandoned packages or suspicious-looking items, report them to airport or local police and exit the area promptly.
Follow this rental car checklist.
If you’re renting a car, make sure it’s in good operating condition before accepting the vehicle. Driving with windows up on crowded streets is a good safety precaution for theft and other potential mischief. Before getting back into your car after being in a crowded, touristy area, do a quick check for any suspicious activity, persons or loose wires before getting back inside.
Know your surroundings/safe havens.
Whenever we land in a new home base city, we make sure we know where to go if we need medical attention (pharmacies/hospitals), a police station and the U.S. embassy. If you’re really a logistics person, you can compile this list of phone numbers/locations before you leave home. Keep copies of your passport and any other important documents on your person or in your smartphone. Instant peace of mind.
That about covers it. You might also want to check out our posts on traveling solo internationally and coping with flight anxiety. Have a safe flight and please let us know in the comments below if you have any other tried-and-true safety tips to share for specific countries/cities. We love to crowdsource good, solid practical advice. Happy travels!