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A Beginner's Guide to Travel Safety
Jennifer Michel

Ah, Summer! It seems as though every one is traveling at this time of year, whether for business or pleasure. But no matter where you are going or why, safety is a priority, so here are a few basic tips to keep in mind while planning your trip.

  • While making your flight reservation, ask for a seat in the exit row. Not only will you find it a roomier seat, but it will offer you a quick escape if needed.
  • When flying, be sure to wear comfortable clothes made of natural materials, such as cotton or wool--they are more fire resistant than synthetics.
  • Wear comfortable shoes--high heels and strappy sandals are adorable, but not recommended during emergency situations.
  • Avoid wearing expensive or flashy jewelry while traveling.
  • If you want to be left alone, consider wearing a wedding band. It works!
  • Bring plenty of small bills and singles. That way you can still get your Starbucks without attracting a lot of unwanted attention.
  • Pack light. Try to keep your luggage to two carry-on bags, preferably those flight attendant style bags on wheels. Not only will you be less likely to lose your luggage, but you will be less of a "mark" for thieves.
  • If two bags are out of the question, carry a picture of your luggage with you in case they are lost in transit. That sounds crazy, but it will speed things up if the airport personnel know exactly what the bag looks like.
  • In case of a mugger, carry an extra wallet with $40-$50 and a canceled credit card. Hand it over and make your escape.
  • Set up a first aid kit you can keep in your luggage. Fill it with basic drug store products such as aspirin, antacids, decongestants, etc.
  • To feel safe in a hotel room, bring along a cheap rubber doorstop or wedge. This will keep your door closed against intruders.
  • If possible, ask to stay in a second or third floor room in order to ease your escape during a fire.
  • When on vacation in the US or abroad, try not to look like a tourist. Scam artists and pick pockets are attracted to Bermuda shorts and Hawaiian tops. Look to see what the natives are wearing and try to blend in.


Jennifer Michel Lives in Boston, MA. She can be reached at