New stuff that is practically free, so just do it, just in case!
-Don’t post on social media that you will be gone on certain dates, it is too easy to find all of someones personal info with very little effort. Don’t “check in” at the sweet places you are at, just post the pics when you get home.
-Decide what IDs you really need to bring. For most people this is passport, medical insurance card, driver’s licence, 2 credit cards, 1 debit card. Take a picture of what you are bringing, front and back, and store this in some sort of cloud storage, like dropbox.
-Put passcodes on your devices if they don’t have them already. Also download security apps that track or even shut off your phone, such as Find my Android. This costs you NOTHING and if you lose your phone or something gets taken, what a relief to know your stuff isn’t getting looked at!
-Bring a personal alarm with you, these are so easy, legal, and when you are walking home at night or doing anything you think there is a risk, it doesn’t cost anything to have this thing handy. Even keep it on your nightstand at night. Here’s a good one that should just be part of your packing when you travel:
-If you want to communicate with people back home, the most popular apps we have found that are low cost to free, are to download the Skype app, put a few bucks on it, and it works all over the world, just like a regular phone, not just video chat. For texting and sending pics, use WhatsApp or Kakao Talk. Have the people back home you want to talk to, download the app to their phone as well (except Skype, my favorite, you just call from your phone and the number shows up as a random US number to the other person, but they don’t need the app to answer-it just looks like a regular phone call to them).
Generic, tired old safety tips about travel…..that are STILL true and STILL people don’t consistently follow, until someone gets burned…don’t let it be you!
-Carry any meds with you on the plane…along with your electronics, basic toiletries, and a change of clothes.
-Do just a little bit of extra work to find out how locals dress where you are going. It’s the worst to show up with a bunch of flip flops and yoga clothes and feel like a bum, or be an overdressed uptight person when everyone else is totally comfortable. This also makes you stand out much less, which you want!
-When you go out at night, bring the BASICS as much as you can. Leave a bit in different places on your body if you can if you are in a dicey place. BE DISCREET when you are pulling out your cash about where it is and how much it is.
-Leave wedding rings and sentimental jewelry at home!
-Stay in brightly lit areas with tourist traffic and don’t go off by yourself. This happens all.the.time when people are lulled into a sense of security. Also, just wear the SPF and bug spray….don’t be a hero.
-If the people in town or the hotel staff tell you to not leave things on the porch, keep door locked, stay away from certain places, etc…..DO IT! They are telling you for a reason.
-Use the safes and don’t leave stuff out when you leave!! And LOCK your door at night. Amazing how many people forget this one. We have all done it.
A final note on safety, one of my BIGGEST PET PEEVES is when a US news site will post some crime committed in some exotic place in the world, and people make comments like, “well now that place is off my list.” Meanwhile in their own home city, crimes are going on by the dozens. DO NOT decide about where to vacation based on one random news story, because you may be missing out on some of life’s greatest experiences. If you are truly concerned about crime in a place you haven’t gone, look online at their local newspapers or stalk the city on facebook groups – in small towns like Placencia, you will find the most honest knowledge from people that live here about what is really happening.
Or, just come to Placencia, and on your first day, feed some treats to one of the beach dogs. They will then follow you around like a security team the rest of your trip 🙂 (not that you need it here!)