Traveling is a fantastic way for people to experience the world. Now, through trains, planes, and even on foot, we are given opportunities to indulge in other cultures and food and learn about a new place’s history. However, with traveling comes responsibility. Understandably, people go on vacations to escape their daily lives, and thinking about potential stressful or dangerous situations is not fun. Ensuring you are aware of your surroundings and who you’re with can allow you to have a much more accessible and fun time.
Downloading a VPN could also save you from hackers or anyone trying to access your information. A VPN or virtual private network is a system that protects your Internet connection and your privacy online. While also making sure that you’re keeping your valuable items on your person, make sure you are taking all of your bags with you when leaving the seating area. Whether you’re going to the bathroom or getting food, it’s best to have all of your items with you leaving little risk for your stuff to be stolen or tampered with by someone else.
When you land at your destination, and your boarding pass seems of no use to you, what do you do with it? Most people in these scenarios toss them in the trash, but that could put you at a significant security risk. If you take a look at your boarding pass, there is a barcode printed on the paper. This holds valuable information about you, and if someone were to get a hold of the boarding pass, hackers could very easily use a barcode scanner to scan the barcode and access your information. Things such as bank information or where you live can be found out through your boarding pass. Therefore, it’s best to wait until you are home to throw away your boarding pass or just tear it up into small pieces; that way, it won’t be able to be traced.
What to Know In a Foreign Country
Getting ‘locked up abroad’ is probably one of the scariest things that can happen on a trip. A significant reason why so many people end up in these situations is due to poor communication. Which is why learning about some of the history in the country and their most prominent laws beforehand could help you. Some countries have laws that you would never think of, but understanding where you are and their customs can prevent you from making mistakes.
Understandably, it’s pretty unlikely that someone would be fluent in a language of a country they are visiting for the first time, but it is essential to learn the basics. There are, of course, the standards that are hello, goodbye, or please and thank you, but phrases such as “do you know where…?” or “I am from…” can go a long way. This shows you are making an effort and facilitates cross-cultural understanding.
Lastly, if possible, carry your cell phone around while you are sightseeing, especially in rural areas. While the idea of wanting to ‘disconnect’ from the world sounds peaceful, it is crucial to contact people not only for your sake but also for other people to reach you if they’re in trouble. Sharing your location with trusted friends and family in advance before your trip is also advised, especially if traveling solo.
Before visiting a country, it’s always best to make sure you have the phone number for the Embassy of your country of origin. If you are in trouble, it’s natural to want to call home first. Unfortunately, they will also have to contact the Embassy or authorities on your behalf, so to not cause much confusion, it’s best to contact the Embassy first. Coming from the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) official website, “The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service to allow U.S. citizens and nationals traveling and living abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.” When traveling to a new place for the first time, one might think it isn’t uncommon to have some of the locals introduce you to the city. Being conscious of your surroundings and your saying in public spaces can get you in trouble.
Sharon Perkins, a United States flight attendant, explains, “Try not to talk about your finances out loud, especially if you’re low on money. If they think you need money, you’re going to be easy prey. Someone could hear your conversation, and because having an American passport is valuable to many people, they’ll try to offer you a way to make money by selling or distributing for them through the airport. Many flight attendants and pilots have been people in certain countries. We are leaving, is anyone ever specific with their terminology, but it’s very easy to understand what they are going to ask of you. There are ways people can gauge if they deem you will be stopped by airport security. Some people can walk right through, and others are randomly stopped and given an extra search.”
Enjoying Your Trip
Being a mindful traveler isn’t about being paranoid but rather being safe while still knowing how to have a good time. Every year there are so many stories in the news about tourists who get into dangerous situations abroad because they are either unaware of the laws and customs of the country they’re visiting or they just get caught up in a bad situation. It’s easy to get frightened from being in a new place, but it’s also important to remember that many sites have a lively culture, where being friendly and hospitable it’s just a part of their customs to welcome you into their country. Unfortunately, people are willing to take advantage of travelers anywhere you go. It’s up to us as individuals to do what we can to ensure that we have a safe trip.
ecomadic is a sustainable tourism brand that empowers travelers to make more conscious decisions. By curating a marketplace to easily find and identify responsible businesses to support, and providing educational publications through our online green travel magazine, ecomadic is committed to helping empower travelers make responsible choices throughout their journeys.
Want to Learn More?
How Hackers Can Use Your Boarding Pass – Huffpost