It’s your first international trip and you may eagerly shove your American flag T-shirt into your brand-new designer suitcase, ready to explore the world.
But before you get too excited, you need to know that moves like these will almost guarantee trouble.
Whether you’ve traveled overseas a dozen times, or are preparing for your first trip, avoid these following major travel mistakes so you don’t end up the latest crime causality in a foreign country.
Don’t Draw Attention To Yourself
Some people just can’t help themselves – they love to flaunt their wealth.
From designer luggage, to wearing flashy jewelry, some travelers just have to show their spoils.
While some do it intentionally because they either enjoy status symbols or love the attention – others may not realize they are inadvertently drawing attention to themselves.
Regardless of intent – flaunting your wealth makes you a massive target.
Keep the designer clothes and flashy jewelry at home.
Remember, when traveling – the goal is ALWAYS to blend in, not stand out.
You do not want to draw attention to yourself that you are a rich, foreign (and likely clueless) traveler.
Don’t Forget To Prepare
You might not know your way around a foreign city – but you should have at least some idea of where you are going.
If you step off the plane and don’t even know the address of where you’re staying… you are announcing to the world that you’re a tourist – and predators are just waiting to take advantage of vulnerable travelers like you.
In addition to knowing your hotel address, have the address and phone number of the local U.S. embassy written down (NOT saved into your phone) along with the names and phone numbers of a few close friends.
Should your phone ever get stolen, you’ll be glad you have contact information written down on a separate piece of paper.
Also – research your destination.
There WILL be certain areas of every city you should avoid because they are dangerous.
When I was in El Salvador, there was a restaurant we really wanted to try – but even the locals told me they don’t go there because of gang violence.
Make sure you know which areas of town are off limits on your next trip.
A good meal isn’t worth endangering your life.
Don’t Flaunt Your American Pride
And as much as we love the American flag, if all of your clothes are American flags and other pro-America gear… you’re basically advertising to the world that you are an American.
What’s wrong with that, you wonder?
Well, to start, regardless of whether you’re actually wealthy or not, Americans have a reputation of being rich.
So by pointing out to every passing stranger that you are AMERICAN AND PROUD…
… you’re essentially announcing that you’re just a great, big money tree.
At best… someone might try to pickpocket your wallet.
At worst… someone might even try and kidnap you for ransom… yes… this still actually happens.
While in America it may be common to see everyone glued to their smartphones everywhere they go – keep your phone put away while traveling.
There are criminals who literally walk up to cars and snatch phones out of the hands of unsuspecting passengers.
And again, drawing attention to the fact that you have a nice phone paints a target on your back that you’re simply another wealthy American.
Finally, be aware of your surroundings and trust your instincts.
If you feel any hesitation or sense of dread about walking down a particular street, or alley, or even an establishment – don’t do it.
And pay attention to whether crowds begin to gather around you or people begin circling around you.
When I was in India for a missions’ trip, we went into the village to minister to the people, but had to leave as a massive crowd began surrounding us and our tour guide told us it wasn’t safe to be there.
Ideally when traveling overseas, you’ll have a local guide to show you the ropes.
But if you don’t have that luxury, then make sure you remain extra vigilant… but don’t forget to also have fun and soak up all the beauty and culture of foreign soil!
What travel tips do you have for aspiring international travelers?
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