Travel has changed a lot in the last few years. While it’s still possible to go virtually anywhere you want, there are more restrictions to consider. We must all learn to travel smart and with an awareness that allows us to be safe and healthy.
So, what does it mean to travel smart in this day and age? Here are some tips to jot down and be aware of when you go abroad, along with some travel products that make travel that much easier.
Tips To Travel Smart
1 – Research Your Destination
What are the travel requirements at your destination? Do you need a visa? and how do you get one? Are there restrictions in the dress codes or regarding parts of the country to avoid? Are there tourist red flags to watch out for? For instance, in Vietnam, only certain cab companies were trustworthy because the others tended to cheat or inflate prices for tourists.
On the same note, during your research, note down the safest places for you to stay. In some areas, hostels can be unsafe, and in others, they are the stay of choice. Also, look into the locations within different cities, including specific neighborhoods, to avoid and book your hotel. Central locations are generally safer and better connected, making your sightseeing easier.
2 – Take A Medication Kit
Medications in other countries can either be expensive or non-existent. Think antibiotics, allergy medications, antidiarrheals, antihistamines, cold, and pain medications. Your physician can give you antibiotics commonly used for travelers’ diarrhea, and the rest you can get over the counter.
Travel smart, make a kit, and take it with you. You’ll be assured that you have what you need to get through a rough patch (should one arise), and you’ll save money while at it. No point in breaking your travel budget because you get sick!
3 – Covid Precautions
This is a thing and likely will continue to be for some time. Take medical-grade masks (surgical, N95, KN95) with you, travel-sized hand sanitizer, sanitizing wipes, and some rapid antigen covid tests with you.
Why the covid tests? Because testing in other countries may be limited or very expensive. On a recent trip to Finland, the cheapest antigen test was 79 euros (ouch!).
4 – Modes of Communication
Hopefully, before you travel, you’ll tell someone about your plans so that someone somewhere knows where you are and what you’re up to. In the same way, you should have a way to communicate with people back home in case you are lost, in a bind, or need help.
Most cellular service providers from the states will work abroad; however, you may accrue roaming charges. The best way to find out is to call your provider. Alternatively, if your phone is unlocked, you can obtain a foreign sim card and have a temporary number while you travel. This can be helpful if you are in a group and wish to communicate freely without depending on WiFi access.
5 – Travel Smart With An Adapter
Travel smart with an adaptable travel plugin. (see below). This universal adapter works with plug sockets in pretty much any country, plus it gives you the option for multiple users with the many USB ports! Never leave home without it.
6 – An RFID Wallet
Your information can be stolen by people scanning your passports and credit cards through your purse from afar! An RFID wallet protects your information, and if you pick the right one, is also a functional and smart way to carry all of your essential documents.
This one from Amazon has a zipper (always better to prevent things from falling out), multiple slots for credit cards, cash, or documents, is waterproof, and can comfortably fit your phone as well.
7 – Access to Money
Speaking of wallets, while the entire world seems to work on credit cards, there is no substitute for cash in your travel wallet. Have a way to obtain cash while you’re abroad (e.g, an ATM machine) or take cash with you. This travel smart tip gives you a financial cushion should you end up in a situation where a card is not accepted or if you lose your cards altogether.
8 – TSA Friendly Suitcase
If you’re a savvy traveler, you probably only travel with a carry-on and backpack. If not, no worries. There are suitcases available in all sizes that have TSA-friendly locks. For carry-ons especially, consider a hardtop suitcase. This prevents your bag from looking full and from gate agents going crazy that your suitcase is too big.
Here’s the preferred pick:
The advantage of a TSA-friendly lock is if you get stopped by security for a spot check, they can open up using a master key without messing up your lock. Just make the code to the lock easy for you to remember.
9 – Water & Snacks
Check out this hydro flask for your next trip!
In addition, pack some of your favorite, travel-friendly snacks. While food is a great way to explore local customs and flavors, it can also get old fast if you don’t like it. Having some snacks, like granola bars, instant oatmeal, or trail mix, can go a long way toward helping you get some nutrition and having something to eat if the local cuisine isn’t working for you.
10 – The STEP Program
Another layer to add to these travel smart tips is registering online before leaving with STEP, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. This gives the State Department your information and lets them know where US citizens are worldwide. In an emergency, lockdowns, or unplanned conflict, the State Department will be able to communicate with you directly and help you get home safely.
In addition, if you’re going to areas of the world that are more remote and less developed, look up and be aware of the location of the US Embassy. Keep that information handy so you know where to go in an emergency.
There is no substitute for experiences that allow you to see the world. Whether you’re traveling overseas or staying stateside, in an ever-changing climate, politically, socially, and medically, it’s important to stay vigilant, be prepared, and to travel smart. You won’t regret the steps you’ve taken to explore and get home safely.
Featured image courtesy of unsplash