Whether you’re headed to a new country or taking a trip into the backcountry, safety should always be a priority while traveling. Keep yourself out of harm’s way and be prepared with the following essential safety equipment and advice for travelers.
Getting lost is a big part of traveling and exploring and although it can lead to new adventures, it’s usually stressful and a little frightening. If you’re traveling to a country where you don’t speak the native tongue, be sure to bring along a travel guide book or app that includes maps of the major cities and a list of common words and phrases that are helpful in sticky situations, like when you’re lost.
Avoid using taxis as much as possible since they tend to scam tourists who are unfamiliar with the language and area. In the wilderness, getting lost is stressful and frightening for different reasons. Depending on how remote the area is, it’s a good idea to bring a handheld GPS, map, compass, or a personal locator beacon in case of emergencies. Bringing the equipment is not enough, so be sure to practice using a compass and map or the GPS before venturing out.
First Aid & Medication
If your travels will consist mostly of populated areas, you don’t need to bring a huge first aid kit and basic, over-the-counter medications. Instead, create a small first aid kit including some basics like Band-Aids, anti-bacterial wipes, ibuprofen, allergy medicine and any prescription medication. If you run out of anything or find yourself needing something more specific, like a finger splint or eye drops, purchasing them locally should be easy.
Before your departure, call your health insurance and inform them of your travels in case you need to use your insurance abroad. If your travels will consist mostly of remote, vast wilderness, a first aid kit and medication becomes more vital. There are tons of pre-packaged first aid kits available but if you’re looking to put one together yourself, the American Red Cross has a great first aid checklist.
- Pocket knife or multi-use tool
- Flashlight or headlamp
- Personal alarm or (bear) whistle
- Duct tape
- Traveler’s insurance
Protecting Your Valuables
This is so crucial for those traveling abroad to new and unfamiliar countries. Purchase a money belt for your passport, cash and credit cards. Never carry all of your money with you at once. It’s a good idea to make copies of your passport, identification and itineraries, and then hide them with extra money in your luggage that stays back at your hotel.
If you’re headed to more dangerous waters, never flaunt your valuables. Only use your fancy camera and expensive smartphone in public places during the day. Even then, always keep your eyes peeled and never leave your things unattended.
In the backcountry, protect your valuables from the elements such as rain, sun and fauna like bears and raccoons. Make sure your backpack is waterproof or purchase a rain cover to keep things dry. Protect your valuable skin and lips from the sun with hats, sunblock and sunglasses. Lastly, don’t leave food out attracting animals to your campsite. Instead, place them in a bear locker if you’re car camping or at least 200 feet from your campsite.