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Basics for being a responsible traveler

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Last Updated on by Noni May

There is nothing more enriching than broadening your horizons with travel. Meeting new people and experiencing new cultures can open your eyes in ways that reading about them never will. However, there are a few precautions to take to ensure a safe, enjoyable trip.

Protecting Your Home

One of the most common mistakes travelers make is not protecting home while away. Have your mail picked up by friends. Hire a housesitter to stay and watch your property.

If renting, get renters insurance quotes online to find a policy right for you. Use a security monitoring service that will alert the police if the alarms are triggered. Some monitoring services even watch for flooding, fire, and other disasters. There are apps that can be placed on a smartphone so that you can see your home while you are away. Looking inside your residence will give you peace of mind.

Give Yourself Assurance With Insurance

Traveling can be a lot of fun unless you miss your flight. Hurricanes can cause evacuations to your rental home. Volcanoes, floods, and even man-made disasters like traffic, and car wrecks – anything can go wrong on vacation.

Be prepared with travel insurance. Missed flights, delays, lost luggage – even sickness and emergency care – all of these things can be happen, so buy that travel insurance. At the very least you will be reimbursed for the money you spent booking your vacation.

Sometimes the insurance will allow you to get a new rental house, or a different flight, or even pay for a hospital stay in Bogota if you get hurt while on a tour.

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Stay Safe in Markets and More

The number one key to staying safe while traveling is to be aware of your surroundings. Never venture out to the marketplace or hiking alone. There truly is safety in numbers.

Also, trust your instincts. If you have a gut feeling that a place looks ‘shady’ or ‘scary’ – don’t go there. If you decide to take a guided tour or do an excursion, make sure the company is reputable.

Check their feedback on places like TripAdvisor to see what others have said. If they operate boats, see if the captains are certified and if the vessels have been inspected recently. You will want to see if people have been robbed on walking tours, or in vehicles ran by that company.

Also- in the marketplaces, never put all of your money in one place. Most travelers use a ‘dummy wallet’, with a little cash in it. If it is stolen, you still have your passport, credit cards, and cash in another spot. Watch for pickpockets in crowded areas.

Scammer Alert

Scams can happen anywhere – especially on vacation. Travelers tend to let their guard down. That is what scammers are counting on. Avoiding common scams is not easy, but there are a few ways to help yourself.

Agree on prices before you buy anything like train tickets, tours, etc. Double check ATMs to make sure they aren’t suspicious or have skimmers. Use your phone to record a video of the verbal agreements.

Look out for taxi drivers who claim the meter is ‘broken’, or for people who want to give you something for free – like a bracelet. Once they place it on you, they will demand payment. Only buy tickets and tours from the original sites or companies. Individuals can make very authentic-looking fake tickets.

Being safe while traveling includes your health, your wallet, and your time. Be friendly, but also be alert. Happy travels!

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