PSA: Shocking Travel Tips Every Wanderluster Should Know By Heart
After Kim Kardashian's recent scare, it's more important than ever that we are all taking appropriate precautions
1. For the rental car junkies: leave your unlocked 🚗 🚕 🚙
With the millennial travel craze, backpacking has become increasingly popular. For many travelers, taking public transportation can add up. For this reason, several people are opting to rent a car to leave at your trailhead so that getting to and from the airport is a simpler task.
This can bring up many questions: what if someone breaks into the car? What if someone tries to steal the car? What if someone damages the car?
While all of these are completely understandable fears, there are some precautions you can take to relieve a bit of your stress. First things first: make sure you have the proper insurance. Most drivers who are insured have a clause in their policy to cover rentals. If not, you'll have to get extra insurance through the rental car agency. Next, to avoid a break in you should simply leave the car unlocked and absolutely EMPTY. That way, if someone wants to get in (to rob the car or sleep in it) they will not break a window or damage the car.
2. For the overprotective packer: don't put a lock on your luggage 🔒 --> 🔓
When it comes to your luggage, you don't want to attract any further attention to your belongings. For thefts, which bag is more appealing: the luxury leather roll-away with a padlock or the navy blue canvas Smithsonian? If you have valuables in your bag, you can choose to ship those valuables before you travel OR simply pack them into your bag that will blend in with the rest of the travelers.
It is a natural human instinct for us to be curious -- don't give someone a reason to wonder why you've put a lock on your bag.
3. For the girl who's always rocking a messy bun: wear your hair down 🙆🏼
While many of us use a travel day as an excuse to throw on some old leggings, an over-sized sweater and yesterday's greasy hair in a messy bun -- think twice before you twist that hair up.
For attackers, they are often looking for someone that will be the easiest to take down. When you have your hair up, it gives the attacker an immediate upper-hand when they are able to grab hold of your entire head of hair in one grip. Instead, leave your hair down so that you have more leverage if someone were to (God forbid) approach you from behind.
4. For the inexperienced traveler: learn important phrases in the native language 🇲🇶
Everyone has been there. You plan a trip abroad months ahead of time, you buy the travel book and "new language for dummies" and you promise yourself that you'll dive head first into the culture so you're appropriately prepped for your adventure. Months pass, life happens and you're packing your bag when you realize those books you bought were left unopened.
While it's great to learn about the culture and history of the place you're traveling to, it's more important to understand and have the ability to speak certain phrases in case of an emergency. Here are a few to make sure you know by heart:
- Do you speak English?
- Hello, Goodbye
- Please, Thank You, Sorry/Excuse Me
- How much is this?
- My name is/I am from/I am here with
- I do not understand/I do not speak _____
- Where is the American Embassy?
5. For the Snapchat addict: put your phone away 📵
For some of us, we are always on our phone. We're updating friends, family, etc. on where we are, what we are doing and how much fun we are having in real time. In the days of Snapchat and Instagram, tech moguls have turned us into machines that want to document every hour of every day. While these memories may be exciting to look back on, it's important to pay attention to your surroundings.
If you feel the need to document something, take into account where you are and the people around you. In another country, the smartphone you're using may be worth hundreds of dollars and snatching it out of your grip while you're choosing a filter is quite easy. Pay attention, look around and don't put yourself in a position where you could be a target for theft.
6. For the Converse obsessive: dress the part 👠
Particularly when you're traveling to a new country, do some research regarding how the locals dress. If you're going to a place that people are generally dressed nicer on the streets, stray away from your raggedy Chuck Taylors and perhaps opt for your leather booties instead. On the contrary, if you're going to an area that is known for being poor, do not bring your nicest jewelry and clothing. Not only will you look like an asshole, but you'll also be a walking target.
Before you travel, do your fair share of research and pack so you're not tempted to break the rules.
7. For the girl with the Rolex: keep your bling at home 💍
There is nothing more appealing to a robber than $10K dangling off of someone's wrist. Time after time, we hear of people getting robbed without even knowing it. A woman's Tiffany necklace is removed from her neck on a subway, a newlywed's engagement ring has mysteriously fallen off of her hand -- they're all of the stories we think will never happen to us, right?
Wrong. Leave your precious belongings at home. We understand that you're proud of your possessions and you want to show them off, but just like everything else in life, there is a time and a place for that.
8. For the woman with the Mary Poppins bag: it's time to trade in your tote 👜
We've all turned into nomads who like to bring our belongings everywhere we go. In our deep totes of mystery, you'll find our work stuff, some makeup, a change of clothes, a laptop maybe. We like to make sure that we can always have what we need dangling on our shoulder. This works for car commuters and those of us who live in safer cities, but when it comes to the other (rather huge) part of the population, it's better to have a smaller, more secure bag for your everyday use.
When thinking about a great travel bag, choose something that is easy to conceal, has a strong zipper or buckle that is hard to open, and something that isn't plastered with a designer name. Think about it: what would you rather have? The fake leather crossbody or the Louis Vuitton tote? Chances are, the robber would choose the same bag as you.
9. For the girl with 5K instagram followers: leave your location to the imagination 📍
With recent scares like Gigi Hadid being attacked and Kim Kardashian being robbed at gunpoint, we need to think twice before sharing our location with the world. Some ideas for hacking this are:
- Snap now, post later
- Disable location services
- Don't post at all
Another issue with posting your location is offering your home to robbers that know you're out of town. If you post on Facebook that you're headed to Cabo for the week, it's basically a open invitation for someone wanting to break into your home. Always be wary of posting your whereabouts and, if you must do it, just be smart about it.
At the end of the day, it really sucks to think about how dangerous the world is. Instead of harping on all of the bad things that could happen, prepare for the things that you want to avoid. Take necessary precautions BEFORE you travel, and always offer helpful advice for those around you. Experiencing the world is a beautiful thing -- don't put yourself in danger by acting as a walking target.