14 travel safety tips that will bring you some piece of mind

travel safety tips

14 travel safety tips that will bring you some piece of mind

For the most part travelling locally or internationally is relatively safe. With that said, don’t make yourself a target! If it quacks like a duck, then mostly likely it is a duck! Tourist are easy targets because they tend to stand out in a crowd like a sore thumb. So if you have sucker written on the top of your forehead, then you might want to take a look at the 14 travel safety tips Jimmy and I put together that will help bring you some piece of mind and stop looking like a tourist!  Additionally you can find more information in our Travel Tips on how to avoid common mistakes travelers make. 

1. What you wear matters

That brand new wardrobe your looking forward to saunter around in, stands out like the first day of school! after a few days you might be wishing you had packed your trusty worn in comfortable clothes.

The truth is you mostly likely will never wear your new travel clothes, you learn more on what to pack in our article 21 mistakes to avoid before you head to the airport. Your new duds are not always that comfortable especially new shoes that will leave you stumbling around like you just got new walking feet. In all seriousness new clothes can cause accidents! I once wore my brand new heals out on the town while traveling and didn’t take in the fact that the roads were cobbled and down a stone stair case I went and spent the rest of my trip bruised and banged up!

Another note on the subject, a lot of places you might travel too internationally are underprivileged not only do your new clothes scream oh there not from around here, they also appear flaunty and send a signal to those with sinister intentions that you have something of value for them to take off you!  This is a huge travel safety top to take notice of!

2. Don’t get all gussied up in your finest jewelry or jewelry at all for that matter.

All that bling that makes you feel like you look like a million bucks screams tourist and flaunts that you might have a few bucks for someone on the shady side to steal!

On my first solo trip ever many many years ago I went to Seattle. On the last day there the weather was so glorious and decided to take a walk down by the docs before I headed to the airport. My bad, loaded down with jewellery I was surrounded by a group of thugs. They took the sunglasses off the top of my head and started grabbing my hands and ripped my rings right off! Sadly, I was wearing my mother’s class ring, something I’ll never be able to replace!

Aside from of course your wedding rings, leave the jewellery at home. You’re on vacation what do you really need it for? Just one more thing to worry about, but if you must make sure your hotel room has a safe for you to keep it in while you’re out and about during the day.

3. Pick your handbags wisely

As women we all love our handbags and most likely have a nice little collection at home! And that is exactly where your cherished handbags belong when your away, at Home! Purse nabbing is the new pickpocket when the aggressor is targeting women! A gazillion million years ago when my left the farm to move to the big city she had her purse ripped right off her shoulder, don’t let that be you! Now days’ purse nabbers have gotten more savvy and while I have never experienced it, Jimmy has many stories where he has seen women targeted. The thieves carry knives with them now and will either slice a hole in your purse so everything drops out or slice the straps straight through and ride off into the sunset with all your goods!

If you can avoid carrying a handbag at all, or choose one wisely. When shopping for handbags for travel, I look for something tiny to carry just the essentials I need and usually stick to cross bodies. I also make sure the handbag has secure closure by locking mechanism or zipper, never travel with open handbag. Also look for handbags with chain or metal straps, this makes it harder to cut away from your body.

4. Pay attention and be aware of your surroundings

Your senses are twirling. I know it’s exciting and eye stimulating when your away. But please make sure you are aware of your surroundings and the people around you.

I’ve heard many close calls from work colleagues while travelling. One such colleague told a story about stopping at an ATM, not aware that anyone was watching her, once she got her cash a man started following her and attempted to take it from her. Luckily she did get away.

The best thing you can do is to be very aware of what’s around you and look people in the eye, don’t look down at your feet or get memorized by the scenery around you!

The not so sinister part of paying attention is not getting lost. While you’re out wandering around and taking in the sites, be sure to make sure you know where you are and how you got there. It’s easy to get lost and getting transportation or a way back may not be as easy as you think.

Side Story

I once was skiing in Tahoe with friends and decided to sit and take a break and was not paying attention to time. Well the lift I needed to get back to the gondola was closed and I had to ski to the bottom of the mountain which landed me in another state. California and Nevada share the same mountain at Heavenly. So there I was stuck, no phone, no cash in the middle of nowhere. Being that I have always been a lucky girl after about two hours a shuttle driver stopped and asked if I need help seeing me sitting on a bench and obviously looking distressed. She said my hotel was not on her route but being it was the end of the day she felt sorry for me and dropped me off. Lesson learned – pay attention!

5. Beware of pick pockets (most common travel safety tip)

You hear about it all the time but many of us don’t take head or think it won’t happen to us! Rest assured it can and it does happen every day. You don’t have to be traveling to be a victim, pick pocketing happen at home as well. I can’t tell you how many times I see women toss their handbags in the front of their cart wide open and walk away to get something off the shelf, only to get to the register and have no wallet!

Pick pockets rarely ever work alone. They always work in crews. One person sets up a distraction while the other sneaks away with your valuable without you noticing a thing. If you like my dad you most likely carry your wallet in your back pocket. Stop doing this! Make sure your pants, shorts or whatever, have deep front pockets for you to carry your cash or wallet. If you a woman, please keep your handbag closed with your wallet, phone and other goods at the bottom and your junk at the top.

6. Don’t keep your cash all together

You’ve heard the saying, don’t keep all your eggs in one basket? Well that goes for your cash too while travelling! Keeping cash spread around in different places will prevent you from being stuck and destitute, should you find yourself the prey of some scumbag or if you simply lost your wallet or purse. I left my handbag on the counter at a car rental return once. Let me just say it’s not a good feeling when your penniless and have no identification! I’m grateful for the honest employee who mailed back to me.

A noteworthy thought for travel safety tips that I had never thought of and read from another travel blogger is to keep a dummy wallet and phone. The Author from Fluent in 3 Months is bang on with this tip!

7. Don’t talk to strangers!

Didn’t your mother ever tell you not to talk to strangers? Well I take that back, do talk to strangers but be aware and be careful. We love meeting new people and talking about anything in general. It’s nice when you’re getting on with someone and having a great time but be careful at the end of the night when you’re invited to private parties or are trying to be directed away from where you at. You never really know what could happen, and I for one don’t want to find out! Just because people seem nice and most likely they are doesn’t mean they have good intentions and you have to bend over backwards to be nice to them. If it doesn’t feel right go with your gut!

side story 

I was vising a friend in Florida for a few weeks and we took a weekend trip to Hollywood Beach by Ft. Lauderdale. She had wanted to lie down for a bit and me being on vacation decided to go down to the beach bar in our hotel. Feeling lazy and tired and since it was a beach hotel after all, I threw on this ugly red typical Hawaiian looking beach dress cover up thingy. While there I sampled in some lovely cocktails and minding my own business when a strange man sitting at the bar started over complimenting me on my dress.

Well red flag #1, I knew for a fact that he was full of it! Trying not to be rude since he was not causing me any harm I divulged in small conversation. Before I knew it this weirdo was trying to get me to see some really cool place on the beach. That was red flag #2. I’m like, ok freak for one if you’ve ever been there you know that the beach looks exactly the same for miles and miles. I quickly declined and made mention that I was waiting for my friend who was still getting ready, to make a point that I wasn’t alone. Going back to the thought that just because people are nice does not mean they don’t have sinister designs!

8. Always make copies of important documents (most important of the travel safety tips)

Should something happen where you have lost or had your passport, identification etc. stolen make sure your covered. Take copies of all documentation and email them to yourself or keep them in another application like drop box that easily accessible when you are away.

While Jimmy was travelling to New York with his mum he somehow lost his passport and had to go to find the British Consulate to get help to come back home. This was a painstaking experience and lots of running around and unneeded stress. He almost wasn’t allowed to fly home but being a lucky as I am in life he did manage to get on his scheduled flight and make it home. Some people are not so lucky so make sure you are protected!

9. Make sure you have travel insurance (another important point of travel safety tips to take notice of)

So many people take a risk when travelling by not getting travel insurance. You always think nothing is going to happen to you or your private health insurance covers you if you are ill. Get out of that thinking. The truth is, your health insurance does not cover accidents at home and certainly not abroad!

Many years ago Jimmy was away on holiday and was hit by a car. An unfortunate accident. Being responsible he did carry travel insurance. The benefits of travel insurance besides the obvious medical expenses, is that is covers bodily injury pay-outs, and lost wages should you need to be out of work when you arrive home. Your also protected if you sustain long term injuries that your attorneys can get settled for you. Besides the medical aspect of travel insurance, it also covers any lost or stolen valuables so you just can’t go wrong. Protect yourself from any travel misfortune!

10. Know the law - (important travel safety tips we take for granted)

You’re not a criminal! Just an honest individual trying to have a nice holiday away what could you possibly do wrong? Don’t assume, not ever! It’s easy to make an honest mistake and not even realizing that your actions as innocent as they may be, can have some not so nice consequences!

We’ve never been on trouble while on holiday knock on wood but there have been Individuals that have found themselves in a lot of hot water. Before you go away read up and get information on the culture and basic laws. Make sure you have access to extra cash just in case you have fines to pay or anything else. Keep in mind in the America if you get a speeding ticket and you’re from out of state you have to pay then and there! Also a good idea to always keep coins on hand depending on where you are travelling, especially the America You find toll roads in the least expected places.

11. Always let someone know where you are

When you’re away travelling it’s always a good idea to let someone know where you are or going to be. Basically it’s like checking in with mom! Which is exactly what I do. Before I met Jimmy I always wrote down my travel dates, hotel info and airline info for mom. It gave her a piece of mind but now I realize that accidents happen. For example, you’re out on a hiking trip and that no one knew you were going to be on and you slip or fall and hurt yourself. If no one knows where you are then no one can come and look for you should you not come home?

If plans change always update someone! I was going away for a weekend by train with friends. We had bought tickets for a sleeper car for which I had given my mom all the information. Well in the 11th hour, something came up with one of our friends and we decided to stay in the city and whoop it up! I never bothered to tell my mom that I never left and by the time I called her she was in full blown panic mode calling authorities and anyone else that would listen. You see because the train I was supposed to be on derailed overnight and everyone in the sleeper cars didn’t make it. I thank my lucky stars; I am here today but if I had let my mother know I could have saved her the anguish of thinking something terrible had happened to me.

12. Keep a List of phone numbers for emergencies

You really never know when an emergency or going to happen that’s why they call them emergencies. Don’t count on your cell phone always working with preprogramed numbers. Always keep a small list of phone numbers with you just in case. Besides your personal numbers make sure you know the emergency numbers for the country you are visiting. You can find more info about global emergency phone numbers under travel resources.

13. Don’t let every tom dick and harry know your away

I know your excited about your upcoming trip and you want to scream it to the world. But for God’s sakes keep it off social media! Letting everyone know that you home is going to be vacant leaves you vulnerable to break-ins! Be safe and share your photos and travel stories when you return home!

14. Don’t overindulge

You’re on holiday and its time to let your hair down and have a little fun! A few pints or cocktails won’t do you any harm but don’t overdo it! Especially if you’re travelling alone. In all honesty for us that’s like the frying pan calling the kettle black. In all seriousness be careful and be wary of con artist that take advantage when your intoxicated. That goes for men and women alike! We’ve heard the stories on the news or in the papers, don’t think it can’t happen to you.

Last but not least have fun and be safe!

Before you leave for that much anticipated Holiday check out 21 Packing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them!

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Comments

  1. Reply

    Great tips for new travellers. It’s always easy to spot new backpackers with their new rucksacks, though it did take a few years before mine started to look not new!! I travel with some cheap jewelry but never end up wearing it. It’s also scary the amount of people I meet who don’t have travel insurance, yes it can be expensive but you hear the horror stories of families having to raise ten of thousands to get there loved one treated or back home after an accident 🙂

  2. Reply

    Omg you are so right about every single one of these. The amount of times I see new travellers with nice watches on blows my mind. It’s like if your asking to be the target! Thanks for the great list. Another great one is to keep your passports in a mini flat fanny pack whenever you are traveling between cities and taking the bus.

  3. Reply

    So true about not wearing anything flashy. My travel wardrobe pretty much consists only of basics in black, grey, and an occasional white or muted pattern. Practicality and safety are much more important than looking like a runway model while traveling.

  4. I love how you have given the tips along with side stories where applicable.It makes one realize, that such incidents can happen to anyone at anytime, one just needs to be cautious and prepared for the worst case scenario.The post is helpful for new travelers specially.

      • durhamslovelifetravel
      • October 21, 2016
      Reply

      Thank you Arnav,

    • Kris
    • October 21, 2016
    Reply

    Number 6 is always what my mother say to me when I was still young and wouldgo for a vacation or simewhere away from home. Never put all your cash in one place. Some on your wallet, bag, purse. Talking to strangers is okay I guess but always make sure to ask the right person. A vendor maybe, traffic enforcer, etc.. Always trust your instinct.

      • durhamslovelifetravel
      • October 21, 2016
      Reply

      Thank you Kris, I love talking to strangers, drove my mom crazy when I was a kid! I’m just more careful now, but love chatting with people!

  5. This is such a helpful list, even for “pro” travelers. I love dressing up when I travel but I guess how I dress should also depend on where I’m going. 🙂 If you’re dressed too nicely in certain places, you might be an easy target. This post made me rethink buying that bright yellow poncho I saw the other day in Uniqlo. Haha!

  6. Reply

    All very true and helpful. This will be useful for everyone and worth remembering when travelling or even just by going outside. Thanks

  7. Reply

    This post is really very useful for every traveller. There should be no occasion to be over-confident while travelling, no matter how much of a veteran you are at the game. I guess everyone has encountered some of these mishaps, big or small while in an unknown country.

      • durhamslovelifetravel
      • October 21, 2016
      Reply

      Thank you Punita, I agree, Even though I know better, I still find that anything can happen when you least expect.

  8. Reply

    Some great tips here. I’m all for leaving the expensive jewellery at home. If I do take some it is usually cheap costume jewellery that I’m not fussed about.

      • durhamslovelifetravel
      • October 22, 2016
      Reply

      Thank you Allison, all in for cheap jewelry because feel funny all dressed up and naked with out something 🙂

    • Sofia
    • October 22, 2016
    Reply

    This is great info! Sometimes, even the most seasoned travellers forget these basics.

      • durhamslovelifetravel
      • October 22, 2016
      Reply

      Thank you Sofia

  9. Reply

    Thanks for the tips! I actually am guilty in one or two of the list above, especially the clothes that I pack. I tend to pack clothes that are stylish without taking into account that I’m actually going to the mountain areas. There was one time where I bought my new edges to the beach! I wasn’t able to wear it at all and it was such a waste of space. :/

      • durhamslovelifetravel
      • October 22, 2016
      Reply

      I hear you, Even though I know better I still try to bring all my fancy shoes that I won’t be able to wear 🙂

  10. Reply

    I always ALWAYS use a cross body bag when I’m traveling, and usually hold onto it in front of my body as well, just to keep my hands on it. I tell people to walk with their head up and look confident as well, body language is huge and helps you look less like a target.

      • durhamslovelifetravel
      • October 22, 2016
      Reply

      Thank you Annie, Great Tip and agree, looking confident make a difference in how shady people perceive a person.

  11. Reply

    While reading this article, my reaction was: “yes, precisely!” I more than agree with you – especially on what you wear, paying attention to jewellery (aka only wear something discrete and not expensive), don’t keep all the money in a single place, have travel insurance, and more. And I’d add that one must always carry cash – not only a card, as sometimes there are issues with them!

      • durhamslovelifetravel
      • October 22, 2016
      Reply

      You couldn’t be more right about the Cash, We rarely ever use a credit card and almost always exchange cash before we leave to make sure we have it in hand. great tip thank you Lorendana!

  12. Reply

    Thanks for putting this piece together! Surely, our travel experiences are different but these tips will really help!

      • durhamslovelifetravel
      • October 23, 2016
      Reply

      Thank you Trisha!

  13. Reply

    A wonderful compendium of wise travel tips and touching anecdotes. Trust your instincts!

      • durhamslovelifetravel
      • October 23, 2016
      Reply

      Thank you Elaine!

    • Drew
    • October 23, 2016
    Reply

    Definitely some good points on safety. I’ve been to some rather poor areas, and always shocked to see tourists strutting around in expensive clothes and jewelry…probably not the best idea. And I think travel insurance is key. It is one of those extra expenses that you don’t really want to pay for, but will be glad you did if something were to go wrong.

      • durhamslovelifetravel
      • October 23, 2016
      Reply

      Thanks Drew, Travelers insurance is a must!

  14. Reply

    Great tips. I always put my passports and documents in a safe box inside the hotel. Once I was in Barcelona and I have been robbed. Fortunately, it was just money nothing else 🙂

      • durhamslovelifetravel
      • October 23, 2016
      Reply

      Being robbed would be a horrible experience! Most important thing though is that your alright 🙂

    • Laura
    • October 23, 2016
    Reply

    Great tips. I have a travel handbag and shoes I wear and I leave my good jewelry at home.

  15. Reply

    Great safety tips, especially about the be aware of the surroundings, I always follow my instinct and stay extremely alert when I was walking alone on the street at night, which saved me tons of bothering. Your side story of ski to the bottom and landed in another state gives me a bit goosebumps but glad you were fine in the end,

  16. Reply

    These are all great tips! I would also add to do a little research ahead of time to see if there are any known scams that are usual in the area you are going to visit.

  17. Reply

    Great tips for travelers, especially newbies. Not talking to strangers is an important one. I’m in Southeast Asia now and while people are really friendly, one does need to pay attention between “friendliness” and potential “scams.” The travel insurance is a big one too!! I unexpectedly needed to see a dentist while traveling in Argentina and was relieved to have had the insurance. Hope people pay attention to this good advice.

  18. Reply

    I love these tips. My biggest concern was that I’d loose something, so I always pick the things that I won’t regret loosing (at least not that much haha). It occurred me that it wouldn’t be bad to know all the emergency numbers, but I never did that. Anyway, thanks for sharing!

      • durhamslovelifetravel
      • October 24, 2016
      Reply

      Thank you Filipa!

  19. Reply

    These are so important. I totally agree with having travel insurance, photocopies, and keeping aware of surroundings. Advising of whereabouts is also so key. I can’t imagine how I would feel if I got into trouble and nobody could get a hold of me and I didn’t take precautions. Peace of mind is doing these things.

  20. Reply

    these are all so important. Ive been lucky enough not to have any travels incidents which is great but you need to be aware of your surroundings. I feel like I look like a bum when I travel, no jewelry, my usual clothes I wear all the time and broken in sneakers. But like I said, no troubles here!

  21. Reply

    I always try to be super cautious when going away! What you wear is something a lot of people don’t consider, but I definitely think about. Money belts, hiding my camera etc. Thanks for the recommendations. http://www.elaishajade.com/

    • Deni
    • October 28, 2016
    Reply

    These are definitely great tips for new travellers- I wish I knew some of these before I went to Europe for the first time! Another tip to add would be to invest in an anti-theft bag, which are generally cross-body and can’t be cut. It’s also important to have one of those debit/credit card sleeves that are scan proof, as one of the newest theft device will take your debit/credit card information. Otherwise, great tips 🙂

  22. Reply

    This is so helpful for not onlynew travellers but also for pros, agree with every single tip you have mentioned. Although occasionally I love to play dress up while exploring a new town, I make sure its nothing too flashy or doesnt stand out in in the crowd. Another important tip is not to keep any kind of valuables lying around in the hotel room. Make sure to safely store them before you leave the room for the day.

  23. Reply

    The tip about separating your cash and not bringing all your cash with you while you’re touring is very very important. Most people are opportunistic in their crimes and are unlikely to press for more.

  24. Reply

    So right about flaunting jewelry… it is almost as if you are inviting trouble.
    And the latest about hand bags being targeted scares me.

  25. Reply

    Hi! thanks for this post! I’m doing most of them but there’s a few I still have to work on ^^ I come from France and now that I’m travelling I see how my country can be dangerous and people are usually careless while visiting “the most romantic city” in the world! I see people on the subway whose outfits, behaviour and ostentatious jewellery screams rob me! Thanks for spreading the word about being more careful !!

  26. Reply

    Thank you very much for the great tips, now i have something to relate to before I pack for my next trip. So I am aborting all the ideas packing ideas I have for my next trip

  27. Reply

    Yes! Picking your handbag matters so much. I lived in Paris for a year and I was so surprised by the amount of people who didn’t have zips on their handbags… Coincidentally a friend came to Paris and the zip broke on her handbag. Literally half an hour later, her wallet had been stolen :/

  28. Reply

    This is such a useful post.. Will definitely keep these things in mind before my next travel..thank you.

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  30. Reply

    A good list of reminders for safe traveling. Such good advice to not dress too nicely and never carry expensive handbags or other high-end branded items. Unless of course you have your body guards 🙂 Enjoyed the post.

    • ada
    • January 2, 2017
    Reply

    Amazing post! Everyone who’s going on their first journey should read it! The world can surprise us more than we think and we can lost so much in 5 sec. I wish you and everyone safe travels!

  31. Reply

    Really valid points you made there. Even I had written a similar post.
    Gokul Raj recently posted…INDIAN DIARIES : THE AGONY AND THE ECSTASY – 2My Profile

    • Michelle d
    • January 7, 2017
    Reply

    This is such an important post because so many people travel and put themselves in such dangerous situations because they’re just not self aware! Thank you for sharing.

    • hannah
    • January 7, 2017
    Reply

    There are some great tips here. It’s really important to look after yourself when traveling x

  32. Reply

    I like that you mention clothing in terms of safety. We don’t often think about the safety implications of what we wear, but comfortable shoes on a hike and good walking shoes on cobblestone streets can be the difference between broken ankles and a comfortable walk! Also, great tip on knowing the law! You don’t want to get thrown in jail for something that would be totally legal at home!
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  33. Reply

    I’ve never keep my all cash together! it’s a really good tip. Great list
    ohmummymia recently posted…My blogging goals for 2017!My Profile

  34. Reply

    These are all great travel tips. I never keep all my money in the same place. That’s just asking for it. That was the best tip, I thought.

  35. Great tips. I agree with all you have said. I always travel with a chain crossbody bag.

  36. Reply

    Great tips. Whenever I’m travelling I always leave the designer bags and jewellery at home – don’t want them missing in another country x
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  37. Reply

    Great tips. I gave up buying new clothes for holiday as I used to return home with tags still on most of them. Jo x
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  38. Reply

    Fantastic advice, you can never be too careful. It can be so easy to get caught up in paradise that you fall off guard.

  39. Reply

    Great advice, it’s so important to remember your safety when on holiday. Too many people seem to leave common sense on the aeroplane x
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  40. Reply

    I’m planning to travel this summer out of the country for the first time and learned a lot from this post. I plan to send the link to my email. Thank you so much!
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    • Elizabeth O.
    • January 9, 2017
    Reply

    Nothing can beat wearing comfy clothes especially if you’re going to someplace cold. I think these are very good tips, it’s good to be safe when you’re out of your comfort zone.

  41. Reply

    These are great tips. I know I am guilty of posting on social media. I will probably continue to but post it as private at least till i get home then make them friends lol.

  42. Reply

    I think this is an awesome post that you have made. This only makes us aware of the fact that travelling is great; but we also need to learn how to travel safely and responsibly.
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  43. Reply

    a very thorough over view – thanks! I think also staying at the best place you can afford and befriending the people that work there is a good thing to do – then they will notice if you’re not there
    amanda recently posted…A stroll through Melbourne’s FitzroyMy Profile

  44. Reply

    Great tips! I’m always trying to decide what type of handbag to bring with me. I always end up just bringing a long sling bag that you can swing round your shoulders.

    • Maryanne
    • January 9, 2017
    Reply

    Great tips! thank you so much for sharing this with us, I will definetely put that on practice! 😉

    • Savi
    • January 10, 2017
    Reply

    Great tips – love that you included the importance of choosing the right clothes 🙂

  45. Reply

    Some great advice with tips here and it is definitely an important subject when you are in unfamiliar surroundings.

  46. Reply

    These are all really important safety tips. I can’t believe that happened to you in Seattle of all places. That situation in Florida sounded sketchy as well asking you to check out the beach.
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  47. Some great advice for sure. Being careful when traveling really is important and one of the hardest things is to not look like a tourist. 🙂

      • durhamslovelifetravel
      • January 17, 2017
      Reply

      It is hard not to look like a tourist when there is so much exciting things to see. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and forget to pay attention.

      • durhamslovelifetravel
      • January 17, 2017
      Reply

      Thank you Jesper

  48. Reply

    Some excellent tips here – I lost count of the times on vacation I took new clothes and shoes only to end up wearing a couple of items that were comfy. I mean really who is going to remember your clothes lol you will never see those people again. Although this time planning to spend a year minimum in Europe and dressing for both UK weather and Spanish is proving to be a tad difficult that’s for sure. As for the rest of the tips – spot on and I have a check list to make sure I follow them all.

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