6 Travel Safety Tips for Couples – Before You Travel

| February 11, 2013 | 50 Comments

Note: We actually wrote these travel safety tips for couples before we heard about the tragic killing of the solo female traveller Sarai Sierra in Turkey last week. Our travel safety tips can be used for solo female travellers (and males) as well as travelling couples.

We get asked a lot of questions regarding travel safety tips for couples because we like stepping outside of our comfort zones. That is not to say that we put ourselves in harms way, we aren’t that stupid. But we travel with open minds rather than being shrouded in fear.

Mint Tea in Egypt

If we heeded everyone’s advice we wouldn’t have enjoyed this mint tea in a local Egyptian market.

6 travel safety tips for couples, before you travel

Don’t listen to what others, mostly the media, have to say.The world is NOT dangerous or unsafe. While there are dangerous people and destinations, they are a really small percentage of the world.

You are probably more likely to get into trouble in your home country rather than from travelling.

Most of the unfortunate bad experiences that happen to travellers arise from them being stupid, drunk or just in the wrong place at the wrong time. And it has happened to us. We think we travel smart and our experiences prove that. But we have also had our fair share of things go wrong while travelling.

A broken collarbone, internal bleeding, lost luggage and lost passports to name a few.

Travel Safety Tips for Couples, Broken Collarbone

But after 3 years of travel we think that is pretty good. Especially since we have yet to have anything stolen (touch wood). By using a few simple travel safety tips, we have cut down our risks.

And minimising risks doesn’t start when you begin travelling. Travel safety starts at home before you go.

By using our travel safety tips for couples, and solo travellers, you can minimse your own travel safety concerns.

Before you go: Travel Safety Tips for Couples

These are the travel safety tips you should implement before you actually leave home.

Travel Safety Tips: Do your research before you travel

The first thing you want to do is research the destination. You can quite easily find out from locals, not other tourists, the safest places in a city. Online there are local forums, websites and other travel blogs for every destination in the world.

Read it all and talk to your friends. But please don’t discount somewhere just because of one persons bad experience. Use your own common-sense to decide if you really should go or not.

No two peoples travel adventures are ever the same.

Travel Safety Tips: Buy Travel Insurance that covers everything

So far our travel injury bills after 3+ years have totalled more than $105,000.

Adela broke her collarbone, I ruptured my appendix and had internal bleeding from a snowboarding accident. Luckily our comprehensive travel insurance meant that we were fully covered for the full amounts.

New Zealand Snowboarding Grim Lab

Take a moment to think about what you might get up to while travelling as not all travel insurance is the same. For example, some may include snow adventures and other extreme sports, while others won’t. You can usually add on extras if you know what you what activities you might be doing.

We recommend you check out World Nomads Insurance who will cover most situations. Just be sure to read the fine print.

Travel Safety Tips: Leave your valuables behind

In most countries you should try and blend in and not advertise that you are a tourist. And more importantly, a wealthy tourist. You will likely stick out like a sore thumb anyway, but advertising it by wearing fancy jewellery or carrying an expensive camera around is best avoided.

Adela always leaves her jewellery at home but will usually end up buying something locally made. It supports them and ensures you won’t get your nicest stuff stolen, or lost.

Depending upon where you travel, you may also want to consider leaving laptops and other expensive gear at home. If it is not feasible like us, as we travel with a lot of gear to keep this travel blog running, you can usually lock gear in your room safe or behind the check-in desk.

Much better than carrying it around all day too. You might also want to consider buying a “money belt” (examples here) that wrap around your waist underneath your shirt.

Travel Safety Tips: Get vaccinated

Vaccinations can be quite tricky to organise. We recommend visiting your doctor a few months before you travel to find out what you may need to get vaccinated for.

Some vaccinations/immunisations for certain destinations will actually require you to have several injections over the course of a few months. You may also need to prove to border control that you have been immunised when you travel.

Travel Safety Tips: Scan all your major documents

The final travel safety tip is to make sure you have a copy of all your travel documents. We used to carry around a folder with photocopies of our passports, relevant visas, travel insurance etc. As well as leave copies with our families.

Now we are able to just use Dropbox to store all our important travel documents online. Extra travel tip: We also use Dropbox for storing our photos online so that we won’t ever lose them.

These online copies can then be used if we ever need to print off documents or in case we lose something important while travelling. Of course if you are trekking through remote areas it might be best to print them BEFORE you leave!

Travel Safety Tips: Notify your bank

While notifying your bank that you are going overseas won’t stop your credit cards or money getting stolen. It may stop them (hopefully) from cancelling any cards that they suspect are being used fraudulently while you still have them.

Banks monitor suspected fraudulent use and will stop a card from working if they suspect it has been used in the wrong place. It should only take one phone call to reactivate it but letting them know your travel plans never hurts.

They can also provide advice on who to contact should your cards be stolen. Which means that you should keep a record of your credit card numbers and bank phone numbers if you need to cancel them. Just don’t record the security numbers too!

Do you have any special travel safety tips you do before you leave home?

About the Author ()

Cole is one half of New Zealand's leading adventure travel blogging couple who have been wearing out their jandals around the world since 2009. He loves any adventure activities and anything to do with the water whether it is Surfing, Diving, Swimming, Snorkeling or just lounging nearby on the beach. You can follow Cole on Google+. Or consider following us via RSS Feed, Twitter, Facebook and subscribe to our Newsletter.

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  1. Larissa says:

    Great tips-and I’m proud to say we’ve done all of the above :)

    I woud also add that it’s good to check into if you’ll need malaria medication where you’re headed, and if so bring the meds with you (or possibly even start the regimen before you leave home).
    Larissa recently posted..Atop the Burj Khalifa the tallest building in the worldMy Profile

  2. Great list…we really need to get our docs on Dropbox too!
    Another tip we use is to research and always travel with reputable bus companies, especially in countries like Colombia. It is better to pay a little extra to stay safe, plus we got stuck on a really crappy bus (that was a replacement for another one that never bothered showing up!) because we left it too late to book our tickets. Planning ahead is one of the best ways to avoid being stuck in dangerous situations too!
    Happy and safe travels!
    Steph
    Steph | DiscoveringIce.com recently posted..Carnaval de Negros y Blancos de Pasto, ColombiaMy Profile

    • Great extra tips Steph! Definitely a good idea paying a little extra for transportation. I have also found that the longer we travel, the less planning I do. I guess I am happier taking chances and going with the flow now ;)

  3. Micki says:

    Excellent tips.

    I think that sticking to the common sense safety tips you use at home is a great starting point; things like being careful where you walk (especially at night), keeping expensive gear out of sight, and keeping your wits about you when drinking (or having someone watch out for you).

    It’s funny how many people seem to think that when they’re on vacation, and taking a break from their every day lives, that these rules somehow don’t apply any more.
    Micki recently posted..Our Travel Bloggers Best Dozen PostsMy Profile

    • Definitely Micki! Like I said, everyone seems to forget their common sense and brains when they travel, when in reality this is when you need both. It is fine to relax, but still be cautious :)

  4. Rachel says:

    I sometimes think of traveling alone, but these kind of tragedy is stopping me, or maybe I’m just not that independent? or brave enough? Maybe flying solo isn’t for everyone.

    • Hey Rachel, thanks for your comment. It is a shame that you are worried about travelling alone but you are right, it isn’t for everyone. I suggest though that you go on Twitter and search for the tag #WeGoSolo. Lots of female solo travellers writing about how safe solo travel is at the moment using that #Hashtag!

  5. Vera says:

    Good tips! I think you basically have it covered with this post, and I’m glad travel insurance made your list:) I just always try to think ahead of the worst case scenario (comes naturally…) and then try to keep the risk of it happening as small as possible, or the consequences should it happen as less impacty as possible. With that kind of mostly mental preparation I feel more in control. And nothing bad has ever happened to me *knockonwoood* but to be honest, I believe there’s a portion of good luck involved, as well, and it doesn’t matter if you’re travelling or at home when your guardian angel looks away for a second. Also, devastating stuff is always going to be devastating, and it happens at home as well. Stay safe, whereever you are:)!
    Vera recently posted..A review of Nern Chalet – a bit of luxury in Hua HinMy Profile

    • Brilliant points Vera! Mentally preparing is a good idea for any situation. Expecting that nothing will happen to you is probably a bad idea so any preparation is time well spent. And agree that there is luck involved, to a degree anyway ;)

  6. great tips and one which I have had yet to do even after traveling solo for sometime now. will definitely get insured :) thanks for this post.

  7. Yikes on the shoulder injury. Just reading about it sounded pretty gruesome.

    As a budget traveler (most of the time), I pack light and don’t carry many valuable things. However, I did forget to notify my bank on a trip to Europe once. What a pain!

    Another travel tip – don’t go snowboarding with you two :)
    Jeremy Branham recently posted..Cambodia travel guide for budget travelersMy Profile

  8. Great tips! I am happy to say we did/do all of these for our travels. We’ve been traveling as a couple full time for almost 12 months now and I think its because we were so prepared that we haven’t run into any problems. It worries me when I hear of travelers not getting travel insurance (to save money!) and your incident just proves why its SO important!

    Thanks for the tips.. I will forward this post to a friend of ours who is just about to take off on a 12 month trip!
    Suitcase Stories – Nicole recently posted..Beaches, mountains, rivers… Vancouver has it all!My Profile

  9. Great tips guys! I get a bit blasé about keeping my electronics locked away when I’m out of my hotel room. I’m thinking I’ll need to get better about it when we travel through Central America. Maybe a pacsafe for our laptop backpack?
    Bethaney – Flashpacker Family recently posted..Three Awesome Walks in New ZealandMy Profile

    • We haven’t used a pacsafe ourselves, but have heard good things about them. It totally depends on where you are travelling, and while I actually don’t think Central America is any unsafer than Europe, it is probably a good idea!

  10. Most important part of this: don’t trust the media when it comes to safety while traveling, or safety in other countries. This is especially true in Western countries where the media looooves to spread propaganda regarding how “dangerous” and “backwards” other countries are in comparison.

    Otherwise, good notes, especially the insurance if you plan on doing any adventure activities.
    T.W. Anderson @ Marginal Boundaries recently posted..Comment on Top 5 Ways to Generate Passive Income for Full-Time Travel by T.W. AndersonMy Profile

    • I am sure that when you tell people that you live in Mexico they freak out and tell you that it is a drug-infested unsafe country because the news told them that! Frustrates me so much. People need to open their own eyes and ears.

  11. I thikn I’ve been extremely lucky when I’ve traveled, and that I’ve gotten out of sticky situations unscathed (having my room ransacked in Acapulco while I was down at the pool sticks out at the most potentially dangerous – the door was broken and the wood split!!).

    I’m now struggling with what to do with my eletronic while I walk the Camino de Santiago in August – I would love to take my reflex and Air to document it all, but the thought of carrying them and risking that they could get taken in the albergues makes me nevous (one stolen laptop this year is enough!)
    Cat of Sunshine and Siestas recently posted..Seville Snapshots: Love Locks in Florence, ItalyMy Profile

    • As long as you have backed up all your photos and documents before you go, and leave them at home, then I think you should be fine to take your gear with you. Of course making sure that insurance would cover them in the event they were stolen. My friend did it and said she had no problems ;)

  12. Angela says:

    While I think it’s ridiculous to fuel fear on traveling, either alone or in a group, I also believe dismissing precautions is dangerous. I’ve just been robbed in Fortaleza, Brazil, I didn’t even have my camera, just a small bag with only my keys inside. I was on the beach in the morning with other people around. I confess it scared me how easy it was for that guy just to snatch my bag off my neck. Needless to say, locals had warned me that even if I had a small bag I would have been robbed 99%, but I didn’t believe it was so dangerous. Serves me right, now I’ll sure avoid going out taking photos, either alone or with other people.
    Angela recently posted..Finding the spiritual in me in Chiang Mai with Buddhist monksMy Profile

    • Not quite sure if you are agreeing with our points or not Angela… But that really sucks that you just got robbed! Horrible experience and I am sure it has left a bad taste in your mouth about the area. Hope your luck changes!

  13. Dana says:

    Thanks for the tips! We are getting ready to go on a cruise to Mexico and the Caribbean and this is the 1st time we’ve bought travel insurance. I hope we don’t need it, but we’ve got it if we do!
    Dana recently posted..Visiting the Gardens of VersailleMy Profile

  14. Ali says:

    Male, female, couples, solo, we all need pretty much the same safety precautions. Definitely get your vaccines, though weigh the pros and cons of malaria pills and if the area you’re going to *really* has a risk for it. I try not to bring anything with me I wouldn’t mind losing, although I would be devastated to lose my camera or laptop. And good tips on scanning your documents and notifying the bank, I always do those too. Luckily I’ve never had any issues, but always worth taking that simple step to protect yourself.
    Ali recently posted..How to Pick Carry-on Only LuggageMy Profile

  15. More info about the travel medical insurance you guys have….we gave up our US insurance policy years ago because it was a waste of money that did us no good on the road. Not happy to have no coverage so let us know the name of the company you guys are covered with…
    Karen @ Trans-Americas Journey recently posted..Ocean to Ocean in One Day – Panama Canal, PanamaMy Profile

    • The insurance we had while we were in North America covered everything but was organised through a company in New Zealand called IEP. They help with visas etc. We definitely recommend World Nomads now though as they will cover every situation. The link is in the post ;) I am sure they would love to work with you guys too as you are completely unique!

  16. Great tips, and ones we usually follow as well! I’m surprised by how many people I come across who are afraid to travel — or who are afraid to travel outside of group tours — simply because of a few fears that could be easily addressed.
    The Time-Crunched Traveler (Ellen) recently posted..Why we’re still struggling to “settle in” to expat life in ChinaMy Profile

  17. Here’s one more travel safety tip: don’t wear your passport/money pouch around your neck… on the outside of your clothes! If I had a dollar for the amount of times I’ve seen this I would be a very rich woman.
    Linda McCormick recently posted..Love is All Around ~ Hearts in NatureMy Profile

  18. Great tips. I’m especially a fan of photo copying all the contents of your wallet.
    Mary – Green Global Travel recently posted..INTERVIEW: Bully Director Lee Hirsch on His Controversial Anti Bullying ProjectMy Profile

  19. The Guy says:

    Some good tips here, thanks for sharing. I think travel insurance is the one most and you should always seek the best deal, not the cheapest.
    The Guy recently posted..Brisbane CBD And South Bank In PicturesMy Profile

    • Getting the right travel insurance is definitely one of the main travel safety tips you should do before you travel. And you are totally right, cheapest is not a very good option!

  20. Suzanne says:

    The most important thing to consider is the safety prior travelling. Getting a reliable insurance is a wise step but it’s wiser to research all the details of the place where you’re heading to avoid any problems. When you are well-informed about a certain place and you get the idea on how and what to act in the instance that you’re already in that place. Blogs and travel magazines are great resources.

  21. Liz says:

    I would also say one of the most important things to do is READ the terms and conditions of your travel insurance. What is omitted? Can you claim for the same thing twice e.g. theft? It’s worth paying more for travel insurance if the terms and conditions are good.
    Liz recently posted..Teaching English Abroad…the Good…the Bad…and the UglyMy Profile

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