Ten Things You Need To Watch Out For When Traveling
"To travel is to live." -Hans Christian Anderson
When we hear the word "traveling", we often think of beautiful places to see, fun things to do, delicious food to eat, and finding places to relax. Many people often relate traveling into something positive. Traveling is filling your life with adventures and making memories to treasure forever, which is something I couldn't agree more.
It is true that traveling brings happiness and a healthy well-being. With so many positive things that traveling brings, we can't help but get too comfortable because we sometimes forget about the certain things we need to watch out for when we travel.
Keep in mind that even though we seek to have fun when traveling, it is also important to never put your guard down 100% especially when you go to unfamiliar places. Being unaware of your surrounding can easily make you a target and your dream vacation can quickly turn into a nightmare.
I love to travel. I go every chance I get and I am very grateful for being able to have the opportunity to explore different places around the world. Along with my love for traveling, I also had my fair share of some unwanted experiences that truly taught me how to become a wiser traveler. I put together a few things that you really need to watch out for when you travel along with some of my experiences.
TEN THINGS YOU NEED TO WATCH OUT FOR WHEN TRAVELING
Traveling is fun, but it is also one way of getting sick. You will be surrounded by different people that comes from different countries expose to different germs and bacterias that you are not immune to. Before leaving, go to your trusted doctor and ask if you will need any disease prevention shots. Stock up on some medicines such as anti-diarrhea, tylenol, cold/flu medicines, first aid kit and etc. It is also important that your body is healthy and strong.
I've experienced getting sick and caught an infection while I was traveling alone to the Philippines. It was not a pleasant experience and probably one of the worst. I am a little paranoid after that incident so I over prepare myself sometimes. I always carry around anti bacterial wipes to wipe around my seats when I get on the plane. Washing my hands often is definitely something I put importance to when traveling.
2. Do Not Check In Valuable Things
During a trip to Asia, I got to my hotel and opened my luggage with everything being out of place. I would understand if they left a letter stating they had to do some inspection because I had this experience before, but it looked more like it was an invasion of my privacy. They threw my clothes back inside like it was trash and spilled a few of my toiletries. It was pretty obvious that they quickly went through my stuff and tried looking for something worthy to take. Gladly, I had nothing valuable enough to make me their next victim.
If you don't have any travel insurance that covers any stolen items, lost baggages, or you just don't want to deal with the hassle of getting something stolen inside your luggage, you might want to think about checking in your valuable things. Yes, you cannot always depend and trust everyone that works at the airport. Even though there are a few kind, helpful and honest workers, there are also a few who are NOT.
3. Crowded Places
If you are use of having your own "personal space", you might want to throw this idea out of the window. In other countries, there is no such thing as a personal space. For example...
Personal space is a little hard to understand for many of the locals. I experienced using the public restroom and someone was waiting for me to finish right outside my door. The lady can pretty much hear and smell everything I do inside the toilet stall, she's lucky I wasn't doing the number 2! When I finished, the lady didn't even bother moving out of my way but instead squeezed herself inside when I was on my way out! talk about space and privacy? hah!
In this type of environment, you must turn your "alert" mode on. People will bump into you and this is where you really need to watch out for your belongings.
4. Beware of Taxi Drivers
Unfortunately, some taxi drivers have a bad reputation for ripping off travelers. This is very common not only on other countries but here in the states.
In New York, I've experienced being taken to a longer route instead of a shorter route to increase fares. I've also experienced a "demand" on the amount of tip we should give them when they have no right to ask when I was in Vegas with a friend. I've also experienced internationally, a taxi driver turning off their meter right when we got into our destination and asked to pay double the amount of how much it really cost.
Always travel in licensed taxis and if possible, agree on a fixed fare first before heading to any destination. Do your research on the average taxi/public transportation cost before traveling to any destinations. I always directly email the hotel and ask for the best/cheapest/safest way to travel around the city.
5. Street Children
I hate to say this but children have been an effective tool for criminals to use when trying to allure new victims. Be aware of your surroundings especially when you're traveling in big cities. I've heard many incidents from my family and friends about children being part of gangs. They have been part of a few criminal acts such as drugs, stealing and even kidnapping. It is important to watch for strangers and keep your belongings close to you. Do not wear anything that is unusual or will make you stand out into a big crowd. Sometimes, less is better when traveling.
6. Local Guides
It's common that travelers look out for things to do and sights to see when getting to a destination, but it's hard to find someone you can trust. It's so irritating when you walk around the streets and a few local guides harass you about making you go on a "tour" with them.
Please be aware that many of the local guides do not have the same "safety" policy as a more well-known or trusted tour companies. I suggest to plan ahead and book your tours before getting to your destination. If you are clueless about where to book or was unable to do this before hand, you will never go wrong about asking your hotel for their trusted tour company to take you around.
7. "Where Are You From?"
So tricky, but works every time! What many may not know is that every vendor starts figuring out how much they are going to charge you from the moment you speak. Vendors are surrounded by travelers all over the world. When you wander through the local market, there is going to be haggling in store. If they ask you where you are from and you answered a familiar place like somewhere in Europe or in America, they will already automatically assume you have a lot of money, which will result in charging you more.
One tip that a friend of mine shared with me was if someone asked me where I was from, I can say the city I was from or somewhere they've never heard of. A friend of mine also suggested to make every conversation short and to focus mainly on how much the item you are looking at. Pretty much, get to the point.
8. Prevent Food Poisoning
Diarrhea, vomiting and nausea are the most unwanted feelings you want to have on any trip. it's part of experiencing local foods when traveling to foreign places but it is also important to be aware of what you put inside your body. Our stomach adapts to whatever environment we live in which means, food is not the same around the world. Know where your food comes from and do not be shy or afraid to ask questions about the food you are about to eat or have. It is always better to be safe than sorry. Look for foods that are hot and steaming and watch for hygienes.
9. Bring Enough Cash
Do not depend on credit cards! As someone who hates carrying too much cash especially when I'm traveling, I was quite surprise to need it at the most unexpected situation.
Paris is always known to be the "shopping" city around the world. Credit cards are accepted every corner that I take when walking the streets of Paris. When Katie and I were desperately craving for some Asian food, we found a restaurant in a popular street and ordered food that fixed our cravings. When we were about to pay and pulled out my credit card, the guy told us "no credit cards".
"Crap!" was the first word that popped inside my head. We took out all of the cash we had and it was not enough to pay for our whole meal. We had to wait for almost 40 minutes for his wife to come to the store for us to use our credit cards since he didn't know how to use the machines...
You just never know when you need it so its better to always be ready.
10. Watch Out For Distractions
This one was a bit of a scary one! Thieves and con artists obviously use distractions to their advantage. Beware of people pointing out that you've got crap on your shirt, or if someone is trying to get your attention trying to ask you a question for direction.
There is one experience my friend Katie and I will never forget...
Coming from Monaco, and Katie from New York, we decided to take the train to meet in Milan. Katie also booked us a Airbnb that is close to the train station so we decided to walk there. When we were looking at our map, direction to get to the apartment, a guy on his motorcycle stopped in-front of us and caught my attention.
He was trying to speak in English and was asking me for a direction to the train station. I pointed at the train station and told him to go. He shook his head and pointed at Katie. Katie then looked at him to see what he was saying. When we were both busy trying to figure out what he was saying, a big truck honked behind us which made us look back.
Right when we turned around, a guy was holding Katie's luggage planning on a mission to walk away with it. When he noticed that our attention and the driver's attention were on him, he quickly let go of her luggage and walked off. The guy on the motorcycle drove next to him to pick him up and they both drove off!
Katie and I both looked at each other in confusion, trying to put together what just happened. We both looked at the truck driver and waved to say "thank you!!!".
We we're lucky that they just walked away instead of making a scene. This is very common across the world especially in Italy so make sure you be cautious around strangers and hold your belongings!!!!
BUT despite that "awful" way of welcoming us in Milan, we are just very glad that everything turned out okay. We explored the famous Duomo and walked around the streets of Milan cautiously of course!
I guess this is just a way to remind us to never bring our guards down when traveling.
Here's a few pictures of our trip in Milan!
Traveling is definitely a remarkable experience one can have. Knowledge is power and something that will help you at the end.
"TRAVELING. It leaves you speechless, then turns you into a STORYTELLER."