9 Travel Safety Tips (Alone or in a Foreign Country)

Today I’m sharing 9 Travel Safety Tips.

Whether you are traveling alone, with a tour company or traveling to a foreign country, these 9 tips for safety on your vacation to any destination will help.  I will discuss RFID technology, I will discuss travel safety apps and more.  Female travelers as well as male travelers can benefit from these safety tips while traveling.  If you are traveling alone, you are already helping yourself be safe by watching this Travel Tips by Laurie video.

Traveling safety tip #1 is:

Plan ahead before travel.  Be smart before you start.  Enroll in www.step.state.gov/step/ This travel tip for safety is The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). It is a free service to allow U.S. citizens and nationals to log their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

You will receive safety information from the Embassy about conditions in your destination country.  Enrolling in STEP will allow the U.S. Embassy to get in touch with you in an emergency: natural disaster, civil unrest, or family emergency.  I love this idea especially for family emergencies.

I also think it is safe to take a picture of your passport and email your passport info to a family member IN CASE you are the one who is incapacitated. Yes, you can get it from your email as well.  But if you are in a coma, a family member can act quickly.

Keep paper copies of your passport and health insurance card in a secret place, keeping originals on your person.  We use passport holder belt. There are other RFID blocking purse crossbody bags.  A subscriber wears a neck wallet instead of a belt one.  I am buying a package of these RFID sleeves that would just hold a few cards. If you haven’t watched my 33 Travel Hacks video, there is a great hack on how to secure your purse while you’re eating at an international outdoor cafe…like in Barcelona for example. travel hack for purse to protect from pickpocketing

Does an RFID blocking purse or wallet help your safety?

There are RFID blocking pouches and sleeves so you do not have to buy a purse per se. rfid block sleeve pouchRadio frequency identification. RFID is an electronic way to skim information off of your cards.  I thought that if my card had a chip, that meant that it is RFID capable. But in an article by Loss Prevention Media they shared that less than 1% of cards are.  If you can wave your card over a terminal and payment go in, then it can be stolen with radio frequency technology.

They say that the microchip on your payment card doesn’t mean that its ID can be stolen.  It means that it’s extra secure.

And in an article by Afar they found that in order for your passport id to be stolen, the little machine needs to be within 6 inches of the book.  When the passport book is closed there is a security tape that makes stealing your identity info impossible. 

Traveling safety tip #2 is:

There is safety in numbers.

I would search tour group companies in the country of your travels. You will find guardian.com as well as albatross.com

The Albatross tour company has specific tours for single travelers.  So you are traveling with a group, but you sleep and have time alone.

You want to walk down streets and cities where there are people or crowds.  Walking down a street alone can be prevented, be smart and stay where the crowds are. travel-with-tour-company

Travel safety tip #3 is:

Write down those numbers.  Write down the #s of your credit card company’s phone numbers in case you have to cancel your credit card, your credit union or bank #s so you can call them from your destination.

Travel safety tip #4 is:

Be observant.  Look up. Be aware of your surroundings.  Be prepared for diversions.  Barcelona is the #1 city for pickpocketing.  Our friend Roxane in Barcelona on Las Ramblas was eating at an outdoor cafe at night.  She put her bag under her chair (but failed to wrap around chair or her foot). Joe was smoking a cigar and two different times someone stopped and asked for a light. She thinks they were casing them out then.  Then a man sat two tables down and struck up a conversation…. that’s when she thinks they stole it.  Joe had the same cards as her, so she got phone numbers to her bank and credit card company off his wallet to call and cancel cards and report theft.

You can write your credit card telephone numbers in your Notes section of your phone before you travel.  Or you could enter the phone numbers in your actual phone’s contacts.  Like Credit Card Visa: 1-800, etc.

Traveling safety tip #5 is:

Go on food tours.  You will be in a group and go to locally known businesses.  It’s our #1 way to see a city and dive into their culture.  And take euros or small change for a tip.  I have forgotten cash for a tip while I was on a food tour in Maine.  I was so embarrassed.  But I hunted down the tour guide and mailed him cash.

There are also foodie meetups in other countries that you can visit.  I typed in foodie meetups in Barcelona.  Search for them online before you travel. holding-food-while-on-food-tour

Traveling safety tip #6 is:

Tell me what you think about this one.  Ask hotel desk clerks for their advice on where to eat alone and what to see alone.

I can highly recommend YouTube videos.  YouTube is the #2 search engine so you can google things but don’t forget about YouTube for travel tips on specific destinations.

Traveling safety tip #7 is:

Use travel safety apps. I saw on Too Many Adapters that they recommended a Free Safety App called TripWhistle SOSWith 196 countries in the world and more than 70 different emergency numbers you can contact police, fire, and ambulance emergency numbers anywhere in the world. 

Travel safety tip #8 is:

Read through tsa.gov or call them from their Contact tab.  The TSA even has a YouTube channel and Instagram page.  Staying safe starts with planning ahead as a traveler.contact-tsa-number

Speaking of TSA I don’t think it’s necessary to lock your luggage for the airplane; if TSA or ground workers want to get into your bag, they will cut it and it may harm your suitcase.

Travel safety tip #9 is:

Listen to travel podcasts.  I found Women Who Travel podcast.  It seems okay to start with, but you can be really specific in what you are searching.

For peace of mind, if it makes you feel better, secure your wallet or passport with an RFID blocking bag or pouch or sleeve.  But definitely utilizing the eight other tips to travel safety will help you and your peace of mind…and your mama’s!  Traveling is very safe, even if you are all alone.  But be smart before you start.

Other Travel Tips by Laurie videos:

33 Travel Hacks

Winter Travel Tips (5)

Let’s be friends on Instagram sometime!

I use affiliate links at times, and all opinions are my completely honest ones.

God, Who Do You Say I Am?

Today I am asking God, “Who do you say I am?”  Have you ever questioned your identity as a woman?  At different stages in my life, I have asked GOD who I am.  In 2019 I can ask MYSELF who am I, but in this video I turn to God and ask him who he says I am.  God says I am loved.  God says I have power.  God says I am secure.  God says I am comforted.  And God says I am beautiful just to name a few.

Click to see the video of who God says I am.

As a grown woman I still ask: On what is my identity based? Am I just a mom?  Am I just a wife?  Who am I now that my kids are grown?  What do other people think of me?  If you are a Jesus follower, I know you have asked that too.  Just because you believe in God doesn’t mean you won’t question who God says you are.  There are so many lies in the world (and in our minds) telling us who you should be perceived as on social media, how thin or voluptuous you should be, how successful you should be, at what age you should be married, and so forth.  Questioning who God says you are is going to help you confidently keep living while you are questioning who he says you are at different times of your life.  Psalm 41 is a chapter of truths that the Lord says to Israel.  Verse 10 says So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.  Even though we feel like we are in a pit of despair or wallowing around with no direction, the Bible says he is holding us up!

Love

God says I am loved by him.  He loves me!  He says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” Jeremiah 31:3 Why does that matter? Knowing that God loves me helps when I do not feel worthy of love.  When my I feel unseen by my husband or not invited to a close friend’s hangout.  He is the creator of the universe.  Yet he loves me and you.  He love is also personal.  1 Peter 5:7 says Cast all your anxieties on him because he cares for you. His relationship pierces into my heart and he lives in our heart if we ask forgiveness from him and for him to be our Savior, or our God. And Romans 8:35 asks, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?” And then it says nothing shall separate us from the love of Christ. 

I may say churchy things, please ask me if it’s confusing. This is a Travel Tips by Laurie Channel, but these thoughts have been traveling in my mind as we are in this new year, having traveled around the sun one more time.

I’m going to say “find my identity in Christ” when I mean “who do you say I am, God?”  That means I believe that God made me and that he is my heavenly father.  That’s church talk for I am a sinner (do wrong and could never be perfect) and when I asked God to forgive my sins, he did immediately.  When that happened, my heart got a new life.

Instead of me being in charge of making myself feel good and doing good to make up for all the bad I’ve done, God sent Jesus to die on the cross to be the “payment” for me doing anything bad – past, present and future.  Now, I can be free of guilt and trying to be good enough.  Now, I get to walk around free of any chains the world may put on me; I get to walk around free of any lies I tell myself.  But while I’m walking around all free and clear, I’m looking at Jesus in the Bible.  I’m reading more about who God is and who Jesus is.  I’m behaving in a way as to say thank you to God for clearing me.  I’m not trying to be good because I should; I’m trying to act like Jesus because I get to.  Jess Connoly talks about this in her book (I’ll link it below).  I get to dance; I don’t have to.  I get to.  My 14 year old thinks like a lot of other people in this world think.  He does not enjoy going to the main church service and asks why we have to go even on a holiday.  I said, “We don’t go to church because we have to; we go because we get to.”  As I went to church and read the Bible every once in a while, I realized who I was because of Jesus.  I realized that I am worth it because he thinks the world of me.  I am worthy.

Ephesians 1:13-14 says When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession…

I have heard words from my father growing up, like he would help me canoe down a scary river, like I was his princess and I was beautiful inside and out.  But that was from my daddy.  Of course he thinks that.  I heard those words from my husband.  But he’s my husband; of course he said that.  I don’t hear those words from my teenager.  And then I start telling myself lies; I’m not a good mom.  I failed him by being too strict.  We should have tried harder to adopt.  Our family is boring. When I was single, I thought I’d never get married and my life would only be fun if I was married.  The lies I tell myself can spin out of control even if we have had the best upbringing and even if we are a Christian believer.

But we’re still weak

So you have the Holy Spirit in your heart telling yourself truths.  And the Holy Spirit will never leave you; you will never be alone.

So we constantly have Jesus in our hearts telling us truths.  Then why do I keep questioning, God, who do you say I am?  Because we’re not perfect.  We will be asking this till we die and understand everything.  But we can set ourselves up mentally strong to push through those questioning times while confidently loving ourselves by setting boundaries, by stating truths and by just saying his name out loud.

To set this up for you I want to give you a perspective picture.  1 Corinthians says in verse 29-so that no one may boast. Anything good that comes my way or great personality quality that comes my way is not because of what I have done or made of myself.  It is because God made me that way, and I have worked hard or realized that trait.  I enjoy speaking in front of a camera, and that is a trait God created in me.  As I took steps along the way and made decisions, now I’m speaking in front of a camera.  It’s not because I’m awesome; it’s because He led me along the way.  So I have to set myself up as not on the throne of my life.  I need God to help me.  I need to say, “I am weak.  Without God on the throne, I can’t do it.  By saying that I am weak, I’m actually being strong because he is with me every step of the way.  Because when I am weak He is strong.”  So being weak is a good thing, y’all!  It’s like I’m getting ready for parents night when I was a 2nd grade teacher.  I was so nervous about the impression I would make, and God is paving the way in front of me as I walk to the front of the class, giving me smart thoughts and creative ideas and helping me stand a little taller.  But when you see me standing confidently, know that I am really just a girl standing in front of you with the king of the universe standing by my side saying You can do it.  I’ll go before you and pave the way.

Power:

So saying I am weak on my own is step one.  Step 2 is realizing how much power you have as a Christ follower or in Christ.  If he is the king of the universe, then we are princesses.  And with that title comes power because of him in us. Psalm 91:1-2 say Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”  With such awesome power, comes rest.  When I rest physically, I am more powerful.  When I rest mentally, I’m more sane and my reactions to disobedience in my teen or reactions when I’m angry are more controlled.  My tongue is more controlled.  I have power over words that come out of my mouth.  I won’t cut down my husband.

When I dwell somewhere, that is where I live, where I do laundry, where I do the dishwasher and make school lunches every single day.  It’s not glamorous, but God is there in the mundane and that verse says it’s a fortress of strength. My outfit of the day does not need to be trendy; that’s not real life.  The Most High God is he who looks at the earth, and it trembles, who touches the mountains and they smoke.  Power over the mountains!  God is my refuge and my fortress; he’s my safety zone and my strong tower.  My husband is a pilot, and he is with women pilots, women flight attendants.  I trust him to be faithful to me.  He does not stay at the same hotel as the flight attendants, but sometimes the captain will pay for everyone’s dinner at some point during the trip.  One night he called me to say good night while waiting to go into the restaurant.  I could hear people in the background, and that bothered me so much.  I had a tinge of doubt.  I had to talk that out with God and my hubby for a few days or weeks.  That was in the beginning of our marriage.  I had dealt with infidelity with a long time boyfriend and hated that those fears were coming out again.  Trusting him while he is on a trip gives me rest.  If I didn’t trust him, I would be worried sick.  So having God as my fortress and refuge means I can trust him and in that trust have rest-mentally and physically.

Psalm 18:1-3 says the Lord is my rock my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I tell young mothers a lot, you will get sleep again one day.  I want to give them hope to make it one more day on 4 hours of sleep.  But them knowing I’m saying that they will get sleep one day only helps so much.  They need constant reassurance from Jesus that they can do it.  They have a purpose that is powerful.  And this purpose they’re in right now is huge.  Proverbs 16:3 says commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.  That means even going to the same old job each and every day.  That means when I fail or make a terrible video, I can still be confident because I’m in Christ.  And God is in me.  I keep walking in power and weak, depending on God.  I keep going.  I don’t quit. Isaiah 30: 21 says Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”  God says that “we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” in Romans 8:37.

Beauty

I always felt awkward since I was tall so early.  My 7th grade boyfriend came up to here.  I towered over most middle schoolers in the halls of Sharp Middle School.  But in middle school and high school I don’t remember feeling like I had to have a boyfriend all the time.  I was loving life and had resigned to the fact I was not one of the pretty girls.  But I remember my dad calling me Princess and telling me not to look at all the other pretty girls…that I was beautiful inside and out.  My mom encouraged me to be myself and allowed me to express myself with poor fashion choices or hair choices.  I do not remember her giving me her opinion thinking I’d made a mistake.  I so appreciate that now.

As I get older, I can tell myself lies about my aging looks etc.  But Psalm 54 says Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me.  John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.  I challenge you to look in the mirror and say, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful; I know that full well.”

I was so worried when we moved from Georgia to Northern Virginia near DC that parents would not think I was a qualified teacher because of my southern accent.  The first time, I completely wracked my nerves with worry.  But I knew I was qualified…by having a degree and Masters degree.  I had like 6 years of experience teaching these ages.  But knowing those earthly accolades didn’t help me.  Jesus helped me stand up straighter, do my best by planning out what I was going to say, and helped me think of what scary questions the parents my have.  What he thought of me on the inside helped me feel more confident and I’m sure I looked more confident.  But here’s the thing.  I had to turn to him for these truths.  My earthly trophies were not enough.  Matthew 6:20-21 – But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  Those will give way; heaven will not.  Do not let yourself be blinded by the lights of popularity, fun family outings, loving marriage scale, or how big your house is.

Fear

I thought after having our son biologically that I our family would not be fun or complete if we couldn’t give our son a sibling.  I kept telling myself that. Then the fear of not being able to have another child set in.  After years of anger and sadness with failed infertility procedures, we decided to adopt.  Long story short, we took the 13 month old girl in (named Aubrey) thinking we would have a family of four and still have a relationship with the birth mom and dad.  It’s called Open Adoption.  The birth mother wanted us to adopt her daughter, but the birth father wanted the girl.  So after 9 days we gave her back.  We met at the Dulles Mall, and as I handed Aubrey back to the birth mother she said, “No, you can just put her in the car seat yourself.”  Then my fear for Aubrey growing up in a peaceful house overwhelmed me. But I sensed God wanted us to just pray for this girl for the rest of her life.  After healing from that loss we felt empowered with our family of three.  I started seeing how awesome it was for our son.  The fear can be so irrational at times and for real at times.  Fear is a real, valid feeling most of the time.  Mrs. Morrison told me right before I got married, worry is like a rocking chair; it gives you something to do but don’t get you anywhere.  We are more than conquerors.  I am going to need to fight that battle mentally or physically or emotionally…with God’s help; not on my own.

So many verses use refuge and strength in the same phrase.  That tells us we need to hear that over and over, and we will battle.  There is danger and awful-ness out there.  We will need to mentally feel safe and mentally feel strong our whole lives because we will battle our whole lives.  For me, when I do not feel strong or when I don’t feel fun enough, God sees me as enough just like I am…with his qualities in me.

John 16:33 – I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.

When we are scared, Jesus is our safety net. When we feel weak, he is our strength.  When we feel ugly or not worth a second glance, he is our weight.

Isaiah 26:3 – They will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.  I happened upon this verse the day after my dad survived his first heart attack.  It was on my first day of school in a brand new school.  The whole family was able to be together with my dad in the hospital room, and I remember there was such peace.  But 3 years ago my dad died after a long, brutal battle of Alzheimer’s and my mom was there alone with him.  How awful for her!  How awful for all of us.  But our minds are all confident that he is not suffering anymore.  Death is awful and unfair, and I do not have answers for why bad things happen; I just have to focus on the hope of the end of the story way down the line.  And we have to keep living.

Peace – He is the Prince of Peace.  He is our peace.  Not only is he our peace, if we have him in our heart as our Savior, then we have peace too.  We cannot get rid of it; we just have to look for it.  Realize that it is in us and walk.

Psalm 119:114 says You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word.  He is our protector and our defender.  We will be in battles, and while we are fighting mentally, we will feel safe and strong and have rest because we are standing on solid grounds.

Philippians 4:6-7 As children of the Most High God, we’re told not to worry about anything, but with prayer, petition and thanksgiving make our requests known to God.  And the peace that surpasses all understanding will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. 

You have peace, security, power, love and beauty because you belong to Jesus.  Those qualities make up your identity.  They are in there; I want you to see them and live life to its fullest-mentally and physically and emotionally strong.