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We travel all around the world and sometimes I am traveling by myself with the kids. Hunter and I traveled to Austria, Germany, and Hungary with just the two girls. I was a bit nervous traveling around the world with my teen daughter, especially when it is the first time in a destination. I know females can often be an easy target.
I always take safety precautions if I am traveling on a cruise, to Europe, or just to Disney World. You should always take precautions for safe travel with your family members. We share our travel guide to safety when traveling within the United States and around the world.
Safety When Traveling Tips
Book Interior Rooms
This is an important safety tip, especially within the United States. When booking your hotel room, try to book interior rooms. These are rooms that do not have direct access from your room to the parking lot.
This is especially important for females and solo travelers. Some of the most popular destinations in the United States are also the most popular places for human trafficking. Florida is the #1 tourist destination in the United States and is #3 on the list for human trafficking.
Interior rooms only have a few entrances into the hotel. These entrances are busy with the front desk (check in), lobby, and security. These areas also have a lot of cameras for extra safety.
Staying in interior rooms is much safer, since you do not have that direct access from your room to someone’s car. If you are booking your hotel, be sure you do a Google search to make sure the rooms are interior rooms, before booking.
This is a lesson we learned early on in our traveling career. There have been a few hotels back in those early years that we pushed the dresser or couch in front of the door. Research your hotel before your visit.
Book With a Travel Agency
I always suggest booking your reservation with a travel agency. Our preferred agents (Erin & Elizabeth at Destinations to Explore), works with local experts around the world. Whenever we book travel for a customer, we contact our locals to make sure we are booking the safest hotels, tours, and transportation.
Local travel agents know the area. They know what hotels are clean. They know what hotels are safe and what hotels are not!
In Orlando, there is a hotel in the middle of the popular tourist area. This hotel is less than 10 minutes from Universal Orlando Resort, so it is popular online. The bad news is that hotel backs up a local jail. You will not see the jail in any of the pictures, so most people would never know. Do you want your family vacation next to a jail? I am guessing probably not!
Travel agents are also there is something goes wrong. With Coronavirus, thousands and thousands of people were left stranded when destinations started just shutting down. The travel information was limited and the State Department was giving short time frames for citizens to get home. I know our travel agents helped guests get home safety and get their refunds. Travel agents are free and an amazing resource for planning your vacation.
Know Where You Are Going
I know it is your vacation and adventure may sound like fun, but know where you are going. If you are in North Carolina and want to see snow, talk with the locals at the hotel and get an idea of the roads, conditions, and destination that you want to visit.
Take their advice. If they say the conditions are poor and you should not try to go see snow, take their guidance. They are local experts. You do not want to venture off to go tubing and get stranded, due to poor road conditions.
Before we travel to a new destination, we learn about the destination. This means learn basics for the local language or have an interpreter. We try to learn about the people and customs before a trip. We also get apps and resources to help us navigate the area and we collect important contacts we may need during our visit.
This helps us know where we are going and keeping safe while we do it.
Keep Your Head Up
Everyone has their nose in their smartphones. They may be checking email, watching videos, or posting on social media. When traveling, it is important to be observant. One of our friends that deals in security, tell us that is the #1 way that people get in trouble when they travel. They are not observant.
During a trip to Italy with my brothers, we were at a train station. We knew this was a popular area for pickpockets, so we were very observant. We could see the thieves scanning potential targets. They stayed away from us, because they could tell we were watching them.
If you cannot do any other travel safety tips, at least do this one. I know this one can be tough, especially if you are backpacking and trying to location a destination using your phone. Just be sure someone in your group is using the phone and everyone else is looking around and being observant.
Money, Money, Money
During your travels, spread out your money. Bring some cash, some travelers checks (if long term or International travel) and credit/debit cards. You will always want some cash (in the country currency) to pay for valet, housekeeping, and other tips during your vacation.
Plus, in a new destination, you may come across a restaurant that does not accept credit cards. If you are traveling for long periods of time or international travel, having some travelers checks are also a good idea.
Most travelers checks are used as cash, so you can use it during your visit. Of course, credit/debit cards are also a great way to pay for items. Credit/debit cards have great security, so if you lose your cards or they are stolen you are still protected. When bringing these card, bring only 1 or 2 cards with you.
Stash Your Money
Besides bringing different forms of money, be sure you also stash it in several safe places throughout your luggage. You want to have some money in your wallet, some money tucked away in different areas of your luggage, and maybe some money in a money belt. A money belt is a hidden pocket you keep under your clothes. This is a great spot to hide money and important documents (like a copy of your passport, important phone numbers, and address/phone number for U.S. Embassy in your area).
If you have to use an ATM, use it at the hotel, front desk, or airport. Try to avoid using ATM’s if possible. Before your trip, you can order currency from your local bank. This helps eliminate ATM’s in International countries and provides extra safety when traveling.
Photos of Children
This is a simple safety for families. Make sure you have a current picture of your children when you are traveling, just in case you get separated. This is always a scary one for me, but I always make sure I have a current phone and pay attention to what the kids are wearing (just in case).
Make sure you have a meeting spot, just in case anyone gets separated. With the kids, we always talk about the meeting spot and even how to find their way to the meeting spot. This is not something you just mention once and are done.
Every morning, I would ask the kids. Where is the meeting spot? What happens if we get separated? What do you do? When your kids do get separated, it is the scariest feeling. Your heart just drops. Sometimes your mind is not working because of the fear. This happens to the separated child, too. That is one reason why you remind everyone again and again and again. That way if you do get separated they know what to do to meet up with you again. Just a simple technique of family safety when traveling.
In our state, we have high human trafficking numbers. I personally have worked on committees trying to fight this epidemic in our state. With that in mind, I know how this can happen anywhere. When I travel, I am extra careful with my daughter. We stick together.
I was even yelled at during my trip to Germany! We went go to the restrooms. Hunter normally goes into the stall and locks the door. Then I go into the stall. She does not come out until I come out and get her.
During one of our city stops in Germany, the stall door was not locking. I chose to stand outside her door. The attendant did not like that and yelled at me to go into another stall. My daughter’s safety was more important. I just let the bathroom attendant yell at me. I think I may have learned some new curse words on that day. LOL!
For cruises and international travel, get travel insurance. Having trip insurance protects you for financial situations. However, we like trip insurance if someone gets sick or hurt during a trip.
Before I left for a cruise, I did some yard work. I got a small splinter. I removed the splinter, disinfected it, and put a bandaid on it. I thought I was okay and a few days later I left for my cruise. On day 2 of the cruise, my finger started swelling and I could even feel a heart beat in my finger. It was crazy. I went down to the medic on the cruise ship. They had to clean the wound out to reduce the swelling. The bill was around $800. Trip insurance would cover this unexpected travel plans. Trip insurance is a nominal fee for that added protection.
Be sure you read your travel insurance policy. Not everything is covered, like natural disasters. Another surprise for a lot of guests is pandemics. COVID-19 was considered a pandemic and was not covered under policies either. Most important things are covered, but just be sure you read your policy and understand it. Make sure you also keep the contact information for your insurance company with you on your trip.
These are just a few safety when traveling tips to stay safe while traveling with your family. We hope this safety information helps give you peace of mind on your next vacation. Do you have any other tips to share?