Did You Know | Life Hacks

The 11 Things You Must Do To Stay Safe On Vacation

PXhere / WalkNBoston - Flickr

Vacations are supposed to be a time to relax and let your stress melt away, but I've always found them to be nerve-wracking.

You have to keep track of all your important documents, pray that your luggage shows up in the right place, and be on the lookout for thieves.

Plus, these days you have to run the gauntlet of airport security before they even let you out of the country.


But if you know how, staying safe on your next holiday is easy.

Follow these 11 important tips and you'll enjoy a worry-free vacation, no matter where you go.

1. Plan ahead

Smart travelers spend time making sure every part of their trip is safe.


Start by checking there are no travel advisories for your destination with the State Department. Their website also has helpful safety advice for the most popular travel spots.

Read reviews of your hotel online, and be on the lookout for complaints about security. Don't be afraid to call the hotel to ask any questions in the back of your mind.

Yellowstone National Park - Flickr

Finally, leave a copy of your personal info with a friend back home - just in case.

2. Pack an emergency travel kit

Everything you need to stay safe on your holiday should fit into a small bag, so there's no reason not to pack one.


The bag should include everything from your daily medications and insect repellent to a copy of your personal medical information.

First aid supplies, a flashlight, and a small amount of emergency cash are also smart to have on hand.


Pick up the last piece of your emergency kit at your hotel's front desk: a business card for the hotel. That way, you can always call in an emergency.

3. Guard your personal information

You should guard your room number as closely as your name, birthdate, and other information that could be used to steal your identity.

Hashoo Foundation - Flickr

Notice that most hotel clerks are trained to write the number down instead of reading it to you. If they do say the number, ask for change of rooms just to be safe.

The same goes for any sheets that hang outside your door for hotel services: leave your name off them. Call for room service instead if you can.


Be smart about your social media presence too: don't post your travel itinerary online and be careful about using public Wi-Fi.

Finally, women traveling alone should book using their first initial, or add Mrs. to their name so it looks like they're traveling in a couple.

4. Ask for a room in a smart location


The first floor of a hotel is usually a prime target for thieves, who can easily walk in off the street and look for unlocked doors.

Be especially careful if there is no security door separating the guest rooms from the lobby.

If you have your pick of rooms, as for one somewhere between the third and sixth floors.

PortoBay Hotels

These are away from the street, but not too high for a ladder truck to reach in case of an emergency.

Whatever room you get, be sure to check where the nearest stairwell is.

5. Make your room a hard target

A "Do Not Disturb" sign and the sound of a TV tells potential burglars that someone is inside your room, so use these two signs any time you leave the hotel.

Quinn Dombrowski - Wikimedia

Even when you're in the room, be sure to close and lock the door at all times.

If you're really concerned about a break-in, invest in a DoorJammer. This handy portable tool is TSA-approved and will keep any door shut no matter who tries to get in.

Alyxandra L. - Yelp

And take note: a peephole can be used to see out and in, so cover yours with a Band-Aid.

6. Keep out of the pool

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, a new study reveals that hotel pools and hot tubs are full of germs.

Ken Srail - Wikimedia

The Centers for Disease Control say that one in three cases of swimming-related illnesses can be tied back to the nasty condition of these pools.

Seriously nasty bugs like cryptosporidium and legionalla are especially common in pools.

Air Force

If you're still set on swimming, avoid swallowing water, check for inspection scores from hotel staff, and bring your own test strips for the water.

7. Follow the "see or stow" rule


You valuables should always be either safely secured, or in your sight.

When your luggage is not on a plane or tour bus, keep it close at hand. Even if a valet offers to carry it for you, ask them to stick close by.

Marco Verch - Flickr

Store valuables in the safe in your hotel any time you leave the loom. Some room safes can be easily opened, so ask to use the hotel safe if you don't trust yours.

8. Never keep your cash in one place


If you lose your wallet and all of your money, you won't have much fun on your vacation. Some countries also charge a traveler's fee at the airport, so getting home could be a headache.

Split up your cash and credit cards between your wallet or purse and other places, like pockets or a money belt.

Keep at least one credit card or some cash in your emergency kit, along with photocopies of your travel documents.

9. Stay in sight


Even if you stay close to your hotel, you should be careful to avoid secluded areas.

Whenever you can, wait for taxis and buses inside your hotel, and plan to meet people there.

Kevin Gibbons - Flickr

Resits the urge to take detours, side streets, and unfamiliar routes unless you're traveling with a guide.

And at night, be sure to stay in lighted areas and public places, like bars or restaurants.

10. Mind your keys

Wolfgangus Mozart - Wikimedia

If you lose a key, head straight to the front desk and ask to change rooms, or have them cancel all keys if it's an electric card system.

Even it was an honest mistake on your part, you can't rule out the possibility that someone has stolen your card.

Every time you head back to the hotel, check with everyone in your party that all your keys are accounted for.

11. Be careful about letting strangers into your room

Saptasi Biswarsh - Wikimedia

I don't mean the friendly people you meet at the bar and invite back to your room - although you should be careful about them too.

When a hotel employee knocks at your door and you weren't expecting them, check the peephole and call the front desk to confirm they should be there.

Actual hotel employees won't mind waiting while you double-check.

Strait - Wikimedia

You should also block the door open when an employee steps into your room.

Hotel employees are trained to do this automatically, so be wary of someone who doesn't.

Here are 10 more safety tips to keep in mind if you're taking a cruise.

And in case you need a push to plan that vacation, science says it's great for your health.

I write about all sorts of things for Shared, especially weird facts, celebrity news, and viral stories.