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Travel Safety Tips

By Marianne Schwab | Best Travel Deals Tips Blog

Travel safety tips are key to a great vacation as you don't want your vacation ruined by becoming a victim of a crime.

As an experienced traveler and former resident of New York City, a big city known for it's "danger," I am keenly aware of the importance of being cognizant of safety and have street wise and common sense travel safety advice for you.

After you book your vacation, I want you to have an enjoyable and safe trip so please take a look at my travel safety tips. The classic American Express travelers' checks commercial certainly embedded "American Express, don't leave home without them," into my brain, but I also got this phrase stuck in my head from an early age: "Remember, some people take vacations for a living." Unfortunately, this commercial was NOT referring to TV Travel Show Producers like me. It was obviously referring to career criminals so it will be helpful for you to use my recommended safety tips and precautions to make your trip worry free and successful.

Pickpockets & Thieves
Dodging pickpockets and thieves on vacation is just part of travel abroad and I have an important travel safety tip from Vatican City.

Rick Steves - Travel Safety
Travel Show Host, Rick Steves, has great travel safety tips from his presentation at the L.A. Times Travel & Adventure Show.

Knowing how to dodge pickpockets and thieves around the world is an important travel skill to have. I don't think you should ever be paranoid to travel abroad. You do need to be aware of the types of travel scams you could encounter so that you can recognize them BEFORE you become the victim of a crime while on vacation.

Hotel Safety Tips

One of the biggest travel safety mistakes many people make when they're staying at a hotel on a vacation or business trip is thinking that their hotel room is safe and secure when they leave the room. You should never assume your hotel room is a fortress against theft. My hotel travel safety tips are so important that I've dedicated an entire topic to your hotel safety on this travel web site. After booking your hotel room on Expedia.com, here are a few other hotel safety tips you need to keep in mind.

• Read the fire safety instructions.
• Always meet your visitors in the lobby of the hotel.
• Keep your room locked at all times.
• Lock up your valuables in the hotel room safe or the hotel safe if you have genuine concerns about the security of your hotel room safe.
• You may want to let someone in the hotel, like the concierge or front desk know what time you should be expected back if you go out for the evening (especially single women).

• More hotel travel safety tips.

What Not to Pack

Some of these items that you do not want to pack in your suitcase for your vacation may seem like common sense to most people but if you do not travel frequently, you need to know what not to pack.

1. Valuable or expensive jewelry. An important travel safety tip is don't dress to impress while you're on vacation with expensive jewelry or clothing as this attracts the wrong kind of attention. In general, it only identify you as a "mark" for a potential thief. Leave valuable or expensive jewelry at home.

2. Family heirlooms and items considered irreplaceable. The most common heirlooms some people may want to pack include jewelry, but it's not a good idea to pack these items.

3. Credit cards that are not used frequently. You should only bring one or two credit cards plus your ATM card on your vacation and leave all other credit cards (including department store credit cards) securely locked up in your home safe.

4. Social security card and membership cards. There is absolutely no reason to carry your Social Security Card with you unless you are securing employment. The only membership card you may want to have with you is a AAA Membership Card (for travel discounts) or Frequent Flyer or Hotel Loyalty cards for the travel vendors you will be using on your vacation.

5. Leave a copy of your passport and passport photos, with friends or family. One of my travel safety tips that I have followed for over a decade is that I always leave a copy of my passport and my complete itinerary with a few key friends and family members. These are people that I know I'll be able to reach in an emergency and who will have access to email, fax machines, etc. if I need to have my passport replaced (or have another travel emergency). I also leave a file marked "In Case of Emergency" in my home office desk that has copies of these items including credit cards I'm taking with me so that if these are stolen, a friend who has access to my home can assist me with replacing any items. If you still use travelers' checks, then make sure you have a list of the serial #'s of your travelers’ checks in this file.

Lost luggage, trip cancellation, medical emergency

Car Rental Safety Tips

Knowing a few tips about car rental safety is the key to a great vacation since you don't want your vacation ruined by becoming a victim of a collision or a crime. I've put together some car rental safety tips that may seem like common sense, but they are here for a reason: because people have not followed these car rental safety tips and have found themselves in trouble.

Final Quick Travel Tips & Resources

1. Consular Affairs for all foreign consular services and information visit this website .

2. Overseas Citizen Services, if you’re traveling abroad and you are a US citizen, you may call: 1-888-407-4747. Or, if you’re calling from abroad: 1-202-501-4444.

3. While traveling abroad you should register with the state department .

4. Traveling with a child as a single parent, please carry a legal document from the other parent authorizing you to do so. Some countries may require evidence of legal guardianship. A simple notarized letter should suffice, please consult an attorney.

5. Credit limit on your credit cards, keep note of how much credit you have on each card. Some countries have very strict laws on exceeding credit limits.

6. Insurance, Medicare and Medicaid do not cover medical expenses abroad. Some private insurance policies may also not cover health insurance abroad. For things you can't imagine while traveling there's Travel Guard travel insurance to cover your health emergencies.

7. For travel safety in foreign countries, it pays to know country customs and etiquette. You wouldn't want to break a law in a foreign country. Learn the local customs.

Public Transportation Safety While Traveling

When traveling via taxi, bus, train, subway or other means of public transportation, you want to be safe and smart. Here are a few tips to consider.

1. Be extremely careful in crowded subways, train stations, elevators, tourist sites, marketplaces, festivals and crime-ridden neighborhoods.

2. Avoid using small alleyways and dimly lit streets.

3. Keep a low profile. Do not raise your voice and do not get into arguments.

4. Do not discuss travel plans with strangers.

5. Do not look as if you are lost. Appear confident, even when you’re actually lost.

6. Make a note of emergency phone numbers in your local area while traveling.

7. If you are attacked or confronted, do not fight back, give up your valuables.

8. Do not take unofficial taxis, which are not marked or metered.

9. Do not accept food or beverages from strangers in trains or buses.

10. If you are taking an overnight train, take turns sleeping and always lock your compartment.

11. If you sleep on a train, tie your luggage with a chain lock.

12. Don’t be afraid to let the authorities know if you suspect anything.

13. While traveling on buses use the same precautions.

It is never my intention to make anyone paranoid about being the victim of a crime with my travel safety tips, but it pays to exercise common sense where your personal safety is concerned. With the proper amount of caution and preparedness, you will have a lifetime of safe travels!

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About Marianne Schwab
TV Travel Show Producer

For over twenty years, TV Travel Show Producer, Marianne Schwab, has been collecting money saving travel tips as a travel producer for high profile television programs. She has flown all over the world and produced live television productions on location from Caesar's Palace on the Vegas Strip to the beautiful island of Oahu. Read more