It’s almost spring, so people are planning those Spring Break trips, or gearing up for summer. Traveling is incredibly rewarding for most people, but it’s important to stay safe whether you’re traveling in the U.S. or abroad.
There are easy things you can do to make sure that you’re protected financially and in terms of personal safety.
The following are some travel safety tips to keep in mind as you’re planning your next trip.
Stay Safe When Ridesharing
More than ever before people are opting to use rideshare services like Uber or Lyft as opposed to renting cars or taking taxis, and this is especially true when they’re traveling.
Using Uber or Lyft is convenient and often less expensive than other forms of travel transportation, but you should be aware of a few things when it comes to protecting yourself.
Drivers will have their own car insurance in case of an accident, but what about other risks?
First, make sure that you always confirm the name of your driver and the vehicle make. Avoid sitting in the front seat, and make sure you’re following along with the route in your own map tool.
Don’t Use Public Wi-Fi
Staying safe when you’re traveling isn’t just about personal safety. It’s also about protecting your financial information.
If you’re traveling and using public Wi-Fi, it’s very easy for your information to be stolen. You may not even think twice about public Wi-Fi in hotels or airports, but it’s one of the number one ways people can steal your information.
Enroll in STEP
STEP stands for Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. This is a free service available to U.S. citizens and nationals who are traveling or living abroad. The program makes it easy for travelers to receive information from local embassies about safety conditions in their destinations.
STEP also helps the U.S. Embassy contact you more easily if there is an emergency including civil unrest or a natural disaster.
If you’re enrolled in STEP, the program can also make it easier for your friends and family to reach you if there is an emergency.
Don’t Carry Everything Together
When you’re traveling, avoid carrying all of your important items together.
For example, you probably keep everything including your cash, credit cards and IDs in your wallet. However, if your wallet were to get stolen, you’d be in a bad situation.
Try to spread all of your items out, and carry only the things you must have on you at any given time. As an example, put most of your travel documents in a hotel safe, and only carry a small amount of cash out when you go.
Also, try to make electronic copies of all your important documents.
Consider Traveler’s Insurance
Finally, you might want to think about traveler’s insurance for your trip. There are different options which can include medical coverage and coverage for evacuation and trip cancellations.
Before you pay for traveler’s insurance, do make sure that you don’t have coverage from other sources. For example, many credit card companies will offer some level of protection for travelers. A lot of health insurance companies will also provide coverage at certain medical facilities around the world.
Most travel insurance companies let you choose only the coverage you want or feel like you need.