How to Travel Safely
When talking with all the amazing quilting friends I meet, the one travel concern that always comes up is Safety. Especially in today’s world post COVID, whether traveling solo or in a group, safety comes up time and time again. So, let’s face the nitty gritty of the issue and go over my best overall Safety Tips for the Traveling Quilter.
#1 – If you Don’t Feel Comfortable, Don’t Go
Another way to say this is; don’t be afraid to say ‘no’. This goes for anything and everything when traveling solo or in a group. If the group wants to head down that unlit street to a ‘great local pub’ they read about and your gut is sending out massive warning flairs… don’t be afraid to fake a migraine and head back to the hotel.
If that Uber car arrives and everything is on the up and up (correct driver, correct car) but again, that warning flair in your gut just isn’t feelin’ it… kindly tell the driver “I’m sorry, I don’t need the ride after all” and walk away.
Another option if you’re traveling solo and some strange person is giving you the ‘eye’ then comes over to sit down next to you and wow are those all out 4th of July, Star Spangled Banner sized flairs coming from your gut… scream. No, seriously. Scream. Act like the craziest person you’ve ever read about. They’ll leave. Just like that guy did on the train that decided I was an ‘easy mark’. Not this time pal.
#2 – Make Sure Someone Knows Your Plans
Always make sure a spouse, friend or family member has a copy of your complete itinerary, including hotel names, reservation information, etc. If traveling Internationally, make sure they have an extra copy of your passport. This way, if anything happens (even your phone dying), someone knows where to look.
This one is huge and important not just for safety reasons. Several years ago, my son went to the Mediterranean with the American Student Ambassador program. Before he left, we drilled it into him to physically check for his wallet and phone before leaving anywhere. “Getting up from a bench, leaving a restaurant, leaving the hotel room, physically put hands on your phone and wallet.”
The good news is, boy did he pay attention. Everywhere he went those 2 were on his person. Including the moment he decided to go swimming in the Mediterranean Sea. Yup. The phone came back, broken. But the wallet was never to be seen again. Luckily, we had copies of all his documents including his prepaid credit card so he was able to make it home. On any given day, you just never know what might happen.
#3 – Get comfortable with Selfies
Ok, admittedly, this one has become one of my favorites. We travelers love to take amazing pictures, don’t we? We are the chroniclers of the world. Every incredible view, mouth-watering meal and breathtaking sunset, we’ve got them covered. But, how often do we take pictures of ourselves with these beautiful surroundings?
My tip is to make sure you are including yourself in at least 1 photo every day and share it. You can send it to a loved one or post it on social media. Either way, you are letting your loved ones know a) you are doing great, b) what you’re wearing today and c) where you are/were in case anything goes not according to plan.
Heck, I’ve even been known to take a bathroom selfie and send it to my husband before leaving my AirBnB with the caption “Don’t I look cute today?” He’s a smart mas so the reply is always a resounding ‘Absolutely!’ 😊
#4 – Invest in Travel Insurance!
I can’t recommend this one enough. Many times having this extra layer of insurance has come in handy. Whether you’re traveling in the US or Internationally, your regular insurance won’t always cover you. If a flight gets cancelled, or you lose your wallet, or (God forbid) you get hurt, having the extra travel insurance will make sure you are covered.
In fact, we just had to use our travel insurance a few weeks ago in Las Vegas. We had purchased show tickets via the main Las Vegas website. However, when the day arrived the shows had not yet started back up again from quarantine. Without that travel insurance, we may not have received a full refund.
Bonus Tip: Double check with all of your insurances that a COVID-19/Coronavirus addendum has been added.
#5 – Take Ride Share
I know many people have heard the horror stories regarding Uber and Lyft from the past. However, over the years they’ve made incredible strides in safety measures, both for the drivers and the passengers. First and foremost, every movement is tracked via GPS.
When you log in to the app you are required to turn on your GPS location. That way, the app literally follows you and the driver’s vehicle every step of the way with a time stamp. So, the app will know which car you got in, when and where. It will also know when and where you got out.
GPS tracking is just one of the many great reasons I like using ride shares while traveling. But that GPS tracking is the one that makes me feel the most safe.
#6 – Carry Some Form of Protection
No, I’m not talking about carrying a firearm. Yes, here in the US many of us take our 2nd Amendment very seriously. However, if you are not trained to use a firearm and have practiced with it proficiently, I would NEVER recommend you travel with one. It would only get you in more trouble.
That being said, I do recommend you carry either a pocket knife, pepper spray or, something that can be used as a weapon in a pinch to defend yourself. Heck, one good swing of a laptop can be enough of a shock to get away. Do keep in mind, especially when traveling internationally, knives and pepper spray are illegal in many countries. So, do a little detective work before you throw one in your checked baggage.
Bonus Tip: A good item to carry as well is a whistle. Make sure it’s easily accessible, like wearing around your neck, in case you need to grab it quickly. Trust me, a good blow on a loud whistle right in someone’s ear can do a bit of damage.
#7 – Don’t Let Fear Win
Finally, and my biggest tip of all, don’t give in to the fear. 99% of the time nothing bad will happen and you will return home safe and sound. The important thing is to remember to be aware of your surroundings and live in the moment. Enjoy your trip, taste the food, smell the fresh air and, most importantly, buy the fabric!
“The more I traveled the more I realized that fear makes strangers of people who should be friends.” – Shirley MacLaine
Your trip will be what you make of it. Just make sure to add a little vigilance into the mix and you’ll be grand!
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