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Learning how to travel safe and smart is an absolute must if one wishes to avoid unnecessary disasters. And again, in the same breath, it’s equally important to still have fun while traveling, after all, the point is to have a good time.
With an estimated 8 trillion dollars spent globally on tourism each year, it’s safe to say that traveling is a passion shared by millions of people all around the world.
In fact, people enjoy traveling so much that well over 8 million of them fly somewhere every day. That’s well over a single percent of the world’s entire population, in the air each day.
To further clarify, an estimated 8 trillion dollars is spent globally on tourism each year. More than $250 billion of those estimated dollars are spent in the United States alone.
That said, albeit traveling is extremely pleasurable, it isn’t always ice cream parlors and carefree picnics at the beach either. Like many of the finer things in life, there is a certain balance required, and once you find it, it’s simple to maintain.
In this article, we’ll not only teach you how to travel smart and safe, but we’ll share some seriously interesting travel facts about the world as well.
If you love traveling, you’ve probably already learned some of the following tips.
However, if you’re a smart traveler, you’ll also know that there’s always something more worth learning regardless of how much experience you already have.
With that in mind, here are a few of the best tips for smarter traveling habits that we’ve acquired over the years:
Check local entertainment venues
One of the first things to do before traveling somewhere, near or far, is to check what’s going on with the local entertainment venues during the time-period your trip will occur. This includes museums, concert halls, restaurants, clubs, etc..
Check public transit options
Before hitting the road, make sure you know what sort of public transit options are going to be available to you upon arrival at your destination.
You’ll want to check for metro stations, city bus lines, cab services, airport shuttles, and rental services if you plan on renting a car. In addition, it doesn’t hurt to study the areas each public transit service covers.
Check the weather forecasts
While it may seem like common sense to you to check the weather the day before your trip, it also doesn’t hurt to check far in advance.
Don’t put too much faith into weather reports being 100 percent accurate, however, this simple action can make or break your day.
Plan first and last day
Again, it may seem like a no-brainer, but fully planning the first and last days of your trip is an excellent habit.
This way, you know exactly how you’re getting to your destination, and in the same breath, you also know precisely how you’ll be returning home.
Further, you can spend the rest of your trip with as little worries as possible.
Triple check tickets and reservations
A huge mistake that beginners make is purchasing tickets and reservations online and then failing to validate them.
If you’re going to be traveling in foreign countries, make sure you validate your tickets before leaving.
Doing so can save you time, money, huge misunderstandings and even jail time in extreme situations.
Evening more than traveling smart is traveling safely. The security of you and your family is obviously the most important aspect to take into consideration when visiting foreign nations.
Aside from keeping your wits about you, and never accepting things for exactly as they appear (which is how you get pick-pocketed or scammed as a tourist), there are other habits that will increase your level of safety while traveling:
Pack a hands-free travel-friendly device
Bringing along a cell phone is common sense, however, bringing along a Bluetooth earpiece, or another handsfree device, may not be.
If you do a lot of traveling, you’ll already know this is true. If not, you’ll find out the hard way!
Pack an extra charger and appropriate power adapter
When you’re packing gear for a trip, if the trip will last multiple days, one of the first things to make sure you bring with you is an extra charger and the appropriate power adapter for the country you’ll be visiting.
The last thing you want is to be in a foreign country with no way to power your phone or mobile device.
Pack prescriptions and a letter from your family doctor
One of the biggest mistakes I see people making when they visit foreign countries for the first time is not packing enough prescriptions.
Furthermore, depending on the type of medication your taking (certain heart medicines, narcotic painkillers, even inhalers) with you, you will want to have a letter signed and dated from your family doctor stating why you need the medicine as well as how much you need to take and how often.
Pack multiple copies of your passport and national I.D.
Another aspect folks seem to overlook is the importance of proper identification in the case of an accident.
For this purpose, make sure to create multiple copies of your passport and local indetification cards.
That way, if something happens, officials will know who you are and where you came from and will be able to contact your family.
Register with the appropriate embassy
Upon arrival at foreign destinations, make sure to register yourself with the local embassy if you plan on visiting for more than three days.
If you don’t plan on spending much time in the area, but plan on traveling across even more international borders, you should probably go ahead and check yourself in with your local embassy anyhow.
You never know what can happen! for this reason, we suggest enrolling in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, also known as STEP.
Handling Money While Traveling
Traveling smart, and keeping safe, are crucial. That said, money is just as important, if not even more critical to certain degrees.
For example, how safe can you be if you lose your cash and credit cards to a pick-pocket and find yourself in a foreign country, surrounded by strangers, with no money?
There is much more to consider about money while traveling than simply the amount that you’ll bring along to spend:
Familiarize yourself with the local currency
Before visiting another country make sure that you understand the difference in currency. Check current conversion rates before departing for your destination.
Check for ATMs and local bank branches
When you go to pull-out money in a foreign country, your best bet is always to use an ATM or local bank branch, which brings us to the next tip.
Avoid currency exchanges
Make sure to avoid regular currency exchanges found nearby airports and bus stations.
These establishments are known for giving the lowest conversation rates and raking in tons of profit. You can avoid this by using an ATM or bank.
This may sound trivial, but those pennies really add up!
Inform your bank or credit card company about your trip
Another lesson you don’t want to learn the hard way is informing your bank or credit card company prior to making your trip.
Many financial-based companies, such as your local bank or card company, will put a temporary freeze on your accounts (and cards) if they suspect suspicious activities (such as unusual spending from a foreign country).
Pay your normal bills in advance
Last but not least, take the time and have the foresight to pay your monthly bills on time.
You don’t want to return to a house with no electricity or running water because you forgot to make the payments on time.
Not to mention, how missing your basic bill payments can mess up your credit score!
Interesting Things No One Ever Told You About Traveling
Now that we’ve discussed the importance of traveling smart and safe, as well as how to handle your money, it’s time for interesting travel facts from around the world.
From the cities with the most hotel rooms and the number of “selfies” taken by tourists each second to the cheapest and most expensive countries to travel to, here are a few interesting travel facts you probably don’t know:
1. Traveling is known to literally boost levels of happiness as well as improve quality of all-around health
2. Flying is technically the safest method of travel on Earth
3. Traveling in and of itself isn’t necessarily expensive (tourist traps, on the other hand, are always expensive)
4. When people spend money on traveling, and traveling-related items, they are much happier than when spending the same exact amount of money on other types of physical goods
5. Canada is supposedly the smartest nation in the world (approximately 55% of the population have college degrees)
6. Traveling helps raise levels of intelligence and creativity
7. 1 out of 8 Jobs in the U.S. are in or related to, the travel and tourism industries (roughly 7.5 million people/jobs)
11. One piece of luggage is “misplaced” by an Airline employ approximately every second
12. Travel has been proven to lower stress levels nearly 90-percent in as little as 24 hours
13. More people travel by air in the United States than anywhere on the globe (there are no less than 60,000+ people flying in planes at any time of day)
14. All of Earth’s coastlines equal the same approximate distance between Earth and the Moon
15. Nearly 65,000 “selfies” are taken every second
A Final Word About Traveling Smart and Safe
Traveling smart and safe should be a top priority for those who spend a lot of time touring the world.
That said, one shouldn’t forget to have fun and enjoy themselves either! At any rate, hopefully our article helps you to have a safer journey next time!
Do you have some safety tips, travel hacks, or words of advice that you’d like to share with our audience? Drop us a comment in the box below!
Have a smart and safe trip!
Suggested Reading: HOTELS, HOSTELS, AND MOTELS: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?
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