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Travel Safely With These 36 Invaluable Tips

Embark on a worry-free adventure with these 36 travel safety tips

For us who love to travel, the world is our oyster… All these exotic and exquisite destinations, just waiting for us to explore them. And we have the privilege of using Singapore as a wonderful geographical jumping off point on our adventures in globetrotting.

However, in the midst of all our sojourns of wanderlust, one element should always remain at the forefront of our minds: Travel safety.

It’s easy to throw caution to the wind when we’re having fun. But remember: Paying attention to safety ensures that we get to enjoy plenty more adventures down the road.

It’s why we should always put on that helmet when riding that motorcycle, and why we always remember to get travel insurance so we know we’re well protected. Because we want to keep on travelling.

In this guide, we breakdown even more travel safety tips that are hopefully going to remain top of mind as you journey forth.

Let’s all travel safe and sound and so we can come home, and get ready for the next adventure.


  1. Pickpockets are everywhere.  Be conscious of your belongings and your surroundings at all times. Keeping your money out of easy reach should be one of your top priorities. The easiest way to prevent actual pickpocketing is to put valuables close to you in the front pockets of your pants and never utilise your back pockets.
  2. Hide away cash in various locations so that if you’re ever robbed, you will still have some cash to get back to your accommodation. Think about using a money belt, sewing hidden pockets into your clothes, or hiding money in your shoes.
  3. Don’t draw attention to yourself when you’re in a foreign country. Don’t wear flashy jewellery, expensive watches, or pack your wallet with so much cash it looks like it’s overflowing with notes each time you take it out to purchase something.
  4. Don’t flash big notes at places like small local markets. If you need to, buy something from the airport to break your big note into smaller notes.
  5. As a precaution, only use ATMs inside of banks with cameras, as they are less likely to have been tampered with by scammers. Withdraw money only in broad daylight with many people around so it’s less likely you’ll get jumped right after you’ve gotten your cash.
  6. Bring along a backup credit card, just in case. Credit cards are also better than debit cards since purchases are not immediately deducted from your bank account.
  7. If only your wallet is stolen but you still have your phone, having a multi-currency virtual card on an app like YouTrip or Wise means you’re still able to book your next transport and lodging arrangements online.
  8. While authorising your bank to allow overseas withdrawals and purchases during your travel period, make sure to also set a reasonable (but restricted) daily limit, to limit the damage anyone who steals your card can cause.


  1. First and foremost, to completely avoid the possibility of people planting drugs or other contraband on you, never ever let your bags out of your sight, and never agree to carry anyone else’s belongings either. Yes, not even for that old lady. You just never know.
  2. Crossbody bags are generally safer when you’re travelling than shoulder bags, handbags or backpacks - as long as you wear them the way they’re meant to be worn - across the front of your body. You can also invest in some with rip-proof straps to prevent someone driving by on a scooter attempting to slash your bag strap.

Backpacks are not the safest choice when out and about in a foreign country

  1. Be mindful of your belongings when you’re having a meal. It can be as simple as setting one leg of your chair into the loop of your bag strap. They can’t just nick it and run away if all your weight is keeping your chair and bag down.
  2. If you’re visiting another country during the colder seasons, use the low temperatures to your advantage. You can either wear your bag under your coat for extra protection, or choose to put your valuables in your coat’s zip-up pockets instead of carrying a bag altogether.
  3. Try not to bring a bag to the beach where you might end up leaving your valuables just lying around while you swim or tan. Get creative, and think about putting some money and a credit card into an old, cleaned out sunscreen bottle, or a sunglasses case, so no one is any wiser.


  1. First thing to do when you check in is ask the hotel front desk for their card. Many hotels will have their address written in the local language and sometimes even a tiny map, so even if you can’t communicate with the taxi driver, you can show them this card. If you’re staying at an Airbnb you can ask your host to provide their address in the local language.
  2. Ask the concierge or your host if there are safe areas you should remain in and dangerous areas you should avoid at all costs, so you can better plan your trip with personal safety in mind.
  3. Check for hidden cameras the moment you enter your hotel room or Airbnb. Look out for unusual holes, or random wires that don’t belong to visible appliances. You can use your camera flashlight to scan the room — any camera lens will reflect light. If you want to be extra thorough, you can purchase a RF signal detector to sweep the room. Just as a precaution, you can always throw a towel over the alarm clock if it looks shady. If you find anything, stay somewhere else immediately.
  4. If there isn’t a room safe available, put a lock on your luggage. Sometimes, just seeing a padlock can stop opportunistic thieves in their tracks.

Just the sight of a padlock can deter potential thieves - use it!

  1. Doorstop alarms are a thing. It serves as an additional wedge under the door, and gives out an alarm if anyone tries to push against it while you’re sleeping. It’s not possible to use it in a backpacker’s hostel but it’s additional protection if you have your own room.
  2. Head back to base if needed so you only take what you need for the day. Going from day to night might mean carrying sweaters and you’ll end up packing a bigger tote bag and thinking, “I’ll just put my money in here instead of carrying two bags…” You’re nodding because you know it happens. And then you’ll regret it. Just make a pitstop back at the hotel or Airbnb before continuing on to your evening plans.


  1. It’s good to have a physical copy of your passport and other important documents, but save digital copies on your cloud drive as well, or just email them to yourself. This way, you can still access them wirelessly even if your phone is stolen.
  2. If you like having ongoing internet access while you’re on holiday, then you’re probably better off getting a local SIM card, or signing up with an overseas roaming service back home. It sure beats having to take a risk with shady “free public wifi” spots.

Don’t trust shady public wifi

  1. Never download anything or visit a strange link or give out any personal information when requesting for wifi access. Try and use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) on your mobile phone if possible.
  2. Thank goodness the days of large, cumbersome paper maps are over, but still, don’t stand in the middle of the street looking lost, you’re just a magnet for trouble. Step into a restaurant or cafe to figure out on your phone the route you’re going to take to your next destination.


  1. In some countries, people simply drive differently (the word “maniacal” comes to mind). If you can’t beat ‘em, don’t join ‘em. Sometimes the best road safety tip is to let the locals handle it. Take a taxi or public transport instead of insisting on driving your own rental car. It’s just not worth the stress (nor the risk of a heart attack!).
  2. Use reputable transport companies or ride-hail organisations that have their own app. This will give you a lot more peace of mind than following any local who says they can give you a ride for cheap. The other safety benefit is that some ride hailing companies allow you to share your ride details with others via a link, so your loved ones will always know where you are at any time.
  3. If you’re taking public transport, keep your things close to you. A lot of robberies happen on buses where they snatch your belongings and run off the bus, so you can’t even give chase.


  1. Don’t get lured away to more remote places or dark alleys by locals wanting to show you where you can find something for lower prices. Remember, prioritise safety over getting a good bargain!
  2. Check for hidden cameras in changing rooms when you’re shopping for clothes, the same way you would for hidden cameras in your hotel room.
  3. Try not to get into compromising or dangerous situations where you are going to be alone with locals with no other tourists around. They might say, “Oh this is a shortcut on the hiking trail where you can avoid the crowds…” Just tell them “It’s okay,” and stick to the crowds! There’s safety in numbers!

Be prepared

  1. Give a trusted friend or family member your travel itinerary and make sure to check in every night before going to bed. Just a quick, “Hey it’s me/us, I'm/we’re back safely at the hotel, going to bed, night!” can make a big difference.
  2. Pack a small bag of the medication you usually take, and also some that provide relief from pain, the common cold, and stomach upsets. Alternatively, have a list of the names of medication you might need - not its trade name but also the general, non-proprietary name, e.g. paracetamol vs Panadol.
  3. Research about the local scams before heading to the country so you can be prepared and can pick up on what sounds like a scam. Here are some examples:

    - smashing your car window “accidentally” and telling you they know a good friend who is a mechanic nearby
    - people pushing things onto you - bracelets, flowers, henna, and you’re expected to give money for them
    - someone spills ketchup on you and “helps” you to clean it up while pickpocketing you

  4. Trust your intuition. If something feels weird, it probably is. Say no to food that isn’t prepared hygienically, over-friendly locals, or “deals” that just seem a little bit “too good to be true”. Better stay safe than sorry!
  5. Learn a few words of the local lingo. If you’re lost or need help, locals can be more willing to help you if you’re trying to speak even just a few broken phrases.
  6. Know the local emergency number, and already find out where the nearest police station is in the city you’re in.
  7. Check the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website for travel advisories before leaving, and know where the nearest Singapore Embassy, High Commission, Mission, or Consulate is, just in case you ever need help from back home.

And there you have it, 36 solid tips when it comes to staying safe while travelling overseas. Stay alert, keep your belongings close to you, always be prepared, get travel insurance, and make sure people know where you are! Make sure to keep these tips in mind, whether you’re heading on your very first trip or your 100th trip! Safe travels!