A Beginner’s Guide to a Safe and Memorable Out-of-the-Country Adventure
Traveling is one of the best rewards you can give to yourself. While traveling, you get to try novel things, eat foreign dishes, take in beautiful sights, meet new friends, and experience different cultures. Your new experiences may give you new perspective and allow you to gain better understanding of yourself and the world. In short, traveling gives you the chance to grow as a person.
But traveling also has its dangers. (What doesn’t?) If it’s your first time going out of the country to chase an adventure, there should be few things you have to keep in mind to enjoy a safe and fun travel. Here’s a guide for every beginner traveler.
Increase Your Home Security
An unoccupied house is more vulnerable to burglary. If you don’t want to return with all your stuff missing, make arrangements to increase your home security before leaving. Install CCTV cameras outside your home and automated lights.
If you don’t have the time and resources to do that, putting up decal decoys on your front door and fence can also help deter people with bad intentions. You can also ask a family member to drop by your house regularly to turn on the lights outside at night and turn those off in the morning. Better yet, ask someone you trust to house-sit for the duration of your travel.
There are other things you can do to make it seem like you’re at home and prevent break-ins. An overfilled inbox, newspapers left outside, and empty trash are telling signs that inform burglars that nobody is home. Thus, arrange for a friend or your neighbor to pick up your mail and subscriptions regularly. Ask them to fill your trash too when they take out theirs.
Call your local post office or preferred mailing provider to put a hold on mail and packages. Deliveries left on the door for a while may be stolen. Moreover, it can also be taken as a sign that the occupants are not home.
Arrange an Accommodation for Your Pet
Pets are some of the best travel companions, but sometimes, pet parents need time for themselves too. But it’s hard to have a guilt-free vacation, knowing the fur baby is waiting alone for you to come home.
Fortunately, there are arrangements you can make to ensure that your pet is well taken care of so you can enjoy, with a clear conscience, your cocktail by the beach. You can either hire a pet sitter or leave your pet in a boarding kennel for the duration of your travel.
It’s good if you have a pet sitter whom your pets are familiar with. But if you don’t, it can be a problem leaving someone you don’t know unattended in your house.
Most people aren’t comfortable letting a stranger stay in their home, so there are boarding kennels that will accommodate pets of many kinds. Do your research before choosing a boarding kennel. Check the qualifications of their staff, the state of their facilities, and former customers’ review on the place.
If everything is to your liking, take your pet to visit the place so they can get a feel of it. Being in a strange, new place without their owner can be very stressful and even traumatic for pets. As a responsible pet parent, you have to make sure that they’re happy and comfortable where they’re staying.
If you’re not sure how to prepare your pet for a kennel stay, here’s a good guide that will help.
Inform Your Bank and Credit Cards
Banks and credit card providers typically have several security measures to prevent fraudulent purchases using their clients card. If you’re not usually using your card in other countries, there’s a huge chance that your first purchase in a foreign country will be declined.
Call your bank days before you travel, and inform them about the details, such as the destinations and the dates of your travel. Inform the customer service representative too if you’re making any stopovers. In case you forget to call early, it isn’t too late to contact your bank when you’re at your destination. However, you may be charged for international calls.
Informing the bank that you’re traveling will also notify them to put on hold any mail or deliveries they’re planning to send you. This will save your personal information from getting into the wrong hands.
Make Copies of Your Travel Documents
Going out of the country requires you to secure proper documentation, including a passport, visa, IDs, and travel cards. Once you’ve secured all your travel documents, do an extra precaution and make copies of them.
No one expects it to happen to them, but losing your travel documents in another country can get you in hot water. At best, you can be delayed in getting to your flights. I had my passport stolen in Nairobi International, and that was a real pain in the you know what! At worst, you can be detained in prison. To avoid that, make sure to secure your travel documents in a safe place in your pack, and always keep an eye on them when you need to take them out or present them to others.
Store the extra copies in your luggage. Count your blessings if you never need them during your travel.
Bring Enough Cash
In your home country, most, if not all, establishments already accept credit cards, but you shouldn’t assume the same for foreign countries. Several nations in the world still use cash for most business transactions.
For example, in India, only a portion of the population uses debit cards (11 percent), credit cards (3 percent), and mobile phone (5 percent) for purchases. The majority (22 percent) still uses paper money to buy goods and pay for services.
You can’t avoid spending money when you’re traveling. It’s possible that credit cards may not be accepted in certain establishments (especially small ones) in the country you’re visiting. Or your credit purchases abroad may not go through. For the sake of convenience, bring enough currencies before flying to your destination.
Leave a Copy of Your Itinerary with Family and Friends
As a safety precaution, leave a copy of your complete itinerary with family and friends. Also include the contact details of your accommodations. This is to ensure that someone knows where you are and how to reach you in case there’s an emergency.
You’ll also feel more reassured when you know that your family and friends can find you if you get in trouble in another country. You prepare a physical copy of your itinerary for your less-tech-savvy family members and friends and send an email for the others.
For security purposes, only tell your itinerary to your closest family and friends, and ask them to only inform other when it’s completely necessary. You don’t want to publicize that there’s no one at home and inform unsavory characters that they can break in anytime.
Traveling can bring many unexpected happenings, especially when you’re going to a new place. The best way you can prepare yourself these is to be equipped to deal with all kinds of situation.
For example, if you’re going outdoors, remember to bring your safety gear. Mountaineering, camping, biking, and hiking can be dangerous, especially in the evening. Consider wearing a LED reflective safety belt and headlamp to increase visibility and avoid getting lost or being separated from the group.
Don’t forget the basics, such as water, food, survival kit, and first aid kit. You never know what you may encounter in your travels, and it never hurts to be prepared.
Turn On Your Email Autoresponse
Turning on your email autoresponse is a good practice while traveling. For one, it’s a courtesy to let your coworkers and colleagues know beforehand when you’re not available to deal with some matters. It will also give allow you to enjoy your vacation better, knowing that you’ve let all the necessary people know.
In case there are emergencies, others will know that you’re not simply ignoring the situation. You can actually include a few ways to reach you if they really need your urgent help with something.
Some of the most memorable experiences in your life happen when you are traveling. That’s why, no matter the cost and uncertainties, it’s always worth it to leave the confines of a local place and country to witness all the exciting things the world can offer.
You can guard yourself from unexpected and unpleasant events by being prepared and equipping yourself with the knowledge, skills, and tools to deal with all kinds of situations. Then you can enjoy your travel with a calm and happy mind.
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