1) Don’t go it alone
The buddy system is a must when traveling abroad. That way you’ve got someone to decipher directions with or watch your back while you take money out of the ATM. Plus it’s more fun to explore with other people.
2) Always know the address of your hotel
“Are we staying in the Hotel Internazionale or the International Hotel?”
“No, it’s called the Hotel Internationale.”
“Isn’t that what I said?”
Seems obvious but you would be surprised how many people overlook this one. Wandering around lost isn’t a good look and it isn’t safe. When you’re traveling a lot it’s easy to get small details mixed up. Have the name and address of your hotel with you at all times. The front desk should have business cards you can take with you. That way you are 100% sure of where you are staying. There might be multiple hotels with the same name and it is incredibly frustrating to try and explain which hotel you are staying in when you and the cab driver don’t speak a common language.
3) Trust your instincts
If that walking down that street is giving you a weird feeling, listen to your intuition and don’t go! Same goes for that kind of sketchy, local guy who wants to show you around. Listen to that voice in your head and tell him, “no thanks.” More often than not, if you’re feeling uncomfortable, you have a reason and it is always better to be safe rather than sorry.
4) Pickpockets are everywhere
It doesn’t matter which continent you’re on, all big cities with tourists are gathering points for pickpockets. Don’t keep things in your back pocket and be alert when you’re walking through crowds.
5) Don’t be flashy
This goes hand in hand with the last tip. Try to blend in with locals. You are more likely to be a target for pickpockets if you look like an inattentive tourist or if you have something worth pickpocketing. Grandma’s heirloom necklace or that watch you got for graduation will stand out to a pickpocket so it’s best to leave them at home. And getting too loud and silly on beer steins and Chianti will get you noticed in all the wrong ways.
6) Use an over the shoulder bag
Clutches are cute, but let’s leave them at home this time. It is way too easy for a thief to run by and snatch it out of your hand. A cross-body bag or one that you can secure on your shoulder is a lot tougher to run off with and you’re more likely to notice if it’s missing. But make sure you don’t drape it on the back of a chair! You might forget it or someone might grab it from you.
7) Don’t keep too much money on you
Carrying large amounts of cash is never a good idea, at home or abroad, but you depend on you cash supplies a bit more when you’re traveling. Our recommendation is to bring your credit or debit card with you and take out cash from ATMs as you need it. That way if you do lose your wallet, you’re not saying farewell to all of your savings for the trip.
8) Don’t get scammed
People offering to take your picture in front of that monument might actually be preparing to run off with your camera. And that stern police officer asking to see your passport might really be a con artist. Don’t be afraid of all people trying to help you out or make friends but also be aware of what the local scams are. Your tour director can give you some advice on what to look out for.
9) Keep a copy of your documents in the cloud
Just in case the worse does happen, like forgetting your passport at the hotel or having your bag stolen, scan and save a copy of your vital documents somewhere you can access with the internet. That way you can get to your important info from anywhere while you wait for the replacement. Dropbox is a great place for this or you can even just send yourself an email with scanned copies of your docs attached.
10) Make a plan
You may have pride yourself on your ability to think on your feet, but it’s a lot harder to figure out what’s what and where’s where when you’re jetlagged. It’s not an insult to your intelligence; everybody gets groggy after an 8 hour flight. If you are travelling from the airport to the hotel on your own, save yourself some stress and write out the directions before you leave. Better yet, let AESU schedule your flights and transportation for you!
Please contact AESU by calling 800-638-7640 or fill out the contact form found on our website. And don’t forget to check out all of our great Travel Tips, especially the Travel Tips for Europe, before you head overseas.