There was a time when traveling anywhere beyond about twenty miles was a major, expensive, and extremely dangerous affair. Today, we fly on our magic carpets around the world in about a day. We do this while tucked securely in a climate controlled cabin with bugs, mold, and salmonella-free food and snacks brought to our seats by uniformed sky attendants. They will even bring us a pillow for our cramped necks, and a stiff drink for our frayed nerves.
When we reach our destination of choice, we are greeted by more attendants who will gladly park our rental car, take possession of our luggage, and usher us to our royally appointed rooms without brigands or other land pirates lying in wait to bother us. We are truly a people to be envied.
But there are still dangers, even in the current age of travel miracles. If we are not very careful, we can still fall prey to those who are not quite as fortunate as we are, and who seek to take advantage of what they perceive as our obliviousness to those very real threats.
Here are three tips that will make your next trip a lot safer:
Get Renter’s Insurance
There are vacations, and there are VACATIONS. The former places you in a relaxing location where you can unwind for a few days before returning home to your real life, before your neighbors even realize you’re gone. The latter is when you decide to winter in South Florida, escaping the temperatures that turn your tears into icicles.
Under those circumstances, you will not be looking for a $300 a night hotel. You are going to be looking for a rental that you can occupy as a home away from home. You are going to need to do laundry, buy food, wash dishes, and walk the dog. You will be a renter, not a tourist. And that means you are going to need some renters insurance to cover all your belongings that make you a target.(Image by Cathy West Allstate Insurance Agency)
Did you notice that locals are not carrying around a $2,000 Canon EOS 20D DSLR taking casual snaps of the seasonal flora and fauna? Consider that a clue. The fact that you are marks you as a tourist. Your iPhone has a great little video camera, perfect for grabbing some slo-mo footage. They can see that silver Apple logo a mile away.
Just how secure are those apartments you’re renting? With decent renters insurance, you will be covered. Such insurance should cover your personal belongings, such as clothes, electronics, jewelry, furniture, and more. You should also expect medical insurance reimbursement.
Update Your Cellphone Plan
When cellphones first arrived on the scene, they were primarily business tools, very exclusive business tools at that. Consumer adoption changed everything. Today’s smartphone is nothing like yesterday’s business-oriented cellphone. Consumers have different reasons for buying smartphones. One of those reasons is travel security.
Not so long ago, when a person was out and about encountering a mishap such as a vehicular malfunction, they would be forced to pull over on the side of the road without a safe option. They would either have to wait there hoping that someone would come along who could fix the problem, or they would have to leave the vehicle and walk until they could find a phone where they could call for help.
The smartphone provided security and peace of mind for loved ones. If everyone had a cellphone, then no one was truly alone during a harrowing situation. Help was never more than a phone call away. But when traveling abroad, we are thrown back into the dark ages of being without a cellphone, or having exorbitantly expensive service, which for many people, amounts to roughly the same thing as no service at all.
Most, if not all major carriers have some sort of roaming plan that can make cellphone use a lot less expensive when traveling. It differs from carrier to carrier. It also depends on what countries you are visiting. If your carriers plan is not sufficient for your needs, there is a good chance your carrier will provide a temporary unlock code so that when you get to where you are going, you can get an inexpensive plan from the local carrier, thus bypassing all roaming fees. This will save you a ton of money on both voice and data. You will not have to shut off critical services just to save money. When all your communication lines are open, you are exponentially safer.
LoJack is an aftermarket tracking system for your vehicle that increases the likelihood of it being recovered in the event it is stolen. If only humans were so easy to modify, travel would be quite a bit safer. As it happens, we are. Well, the devices we carry are already easily trackable by certain government agencies. But modern smartphones have consumer facing features that make them highly trackable by normal humans.(Image by Vinnie Lauria)
Apple has a feature called, “Find My Friends”. It enables you to track the location of anyone who has given you permission to track them via their iPhone. In turn, your friends can track you. In a way, it is a kind of personal LoJack. If you, or a member of your family gets separated from the group and/or does not check in at a prearranged time, you can have the phone show you exactly where they are. In iOS 7, this is controlled through a stand-alone app that must be installed. The upcoming iOS 8 moves this feature directly into the Messages App. There are similar apps for Android as well.
Traveling is so much safer than it once was, we often forget about how dangerous it still is. Adding renter’s insurance, an updated communications plan for traveling, and a personal tracking system can alleviate a lot of the current threats to a safe and happy trip.
Related post : Making Money While Traveling Abroad
Feature image by Ann Hung