When you're traveling, you might not think about your own safety. But as a traveler, you're just as vulnerable as anyone else. There are things you need to do to protect yourself from being robbed and attacked on the street, but also steps you can take to protect yourself against being cheated or taken advantage of.

 

Somerset Maugham is believed to have said that to travel is to live. Those words speak to the thrill of seeing new places, meeting new people and experiencing different cultures. But travel isn't without its snags and frustrations, especially for first-time travelers. Fortunately, a bit of preparation and some smart decisions can help you avoid common travel mistakes. 

 

Here are 10 Travel Mistakes to Avoid when you're abroad:

 

  1. Not carrying your money with you. 

 

Traveling with less cash than usual is always a good idea. That way if something goes wrong, at least there's something left when you get back home.

 

2: Not taking precautions against pickpockets and thieves When traveling.

 

 it's important to take precautions against pickpockets and thieves who work the tourist areas. If you're in a city where pickpockets are common, like in Rome or Bangkok, use a neck wallet (a purse made of leather that hangs around your neck) or carry cash in your front pocket. In big cities like Mexico City and Paris, it's better to keep all of your valuables in one place so they can't be taken as easily. You can also use a money belt if you want to be really safe.

 

  1. Not understanding how things work in the country you're visiting.

 

If you don't understand how something works in another country, especially if it's what seems like a simple task, approach it with caution. For example, don't assume that your hotel room will have an iron or ironing board or that your clothes will be dry-cleaned before you leave them there. Don't assume that everything is familiar because it's similar to what you're used to at home — and don't assume any of this stuff is available at the airport.

 

  1. Buying bottled water. It's wasteful, expensive and unnecessary.

 

Tap water in most countries is perfectly safe to drink — it's just a matter of getting used to the taste. Buy a reusable water bottle with a built-in filter if you're uncertain about local water quality.

 

  1. Getting lost. 

 

Many travelers have been left in the lurch after missing their flights or failing to get back in time for their tours because they couldn't find their way around town or back to their hotel. A few minutes spent familiarizing yourself with your surroundings before venturing out can avoid a lot of trouble later on!

 

  1. Not researching local customs. 

 

Before you book your flight tickets and hotels, do some research about the country you'll be visiting so you don't offend any locals or break the law. For example, if you're traveling to a country where people practice a certain religion, dress conservatively and avoid public displays of affection with your partner.

 

  1. Forget to Bring More than One Credit Card

 

You'll need a credit card for car rentals, plane tickets, hotels and other big expenses. If your credit card is lost or stolen, you will be in big trouble if it's your only form of payment. Bring two credit cards with you on international trips, and keep them in different places. You can also get a prepaid travel debit card that has a fixed amount of money on it and cannot be reloaded, which may prevent you from spending more than what you actually have.

 

  1. Don't exchange money at the airport

 

Airports are convenient and easy to reach, so they can charge a lot more for things like currency exchange. They know that you have no choice but to use their services if you didn't prepare ahead of time, so they'll take advantage of your lack of options and charge a premium for everything from snacks to souvenirs — including currency exchange.

 

It's also likely that the rates will be higher than what you'd get elsewhere. When you're traveling abroad, it's natural to want to hit the ground running. But resist the urge to exchange money at the airport.

 

While you're waiting in line before your flight, spend some time searching online for good currency exchange rates in the city where you're going. You don't need anything fancy; just pop into an ATM and withdraw cash at a local bank or credit union when you arrive at your destination.

 

  1. Don't order a “soda” at a restaurant

 

As a smart shopper and traveler, you probably know that you should be aware of foreign language and cultural differences.

 

For example, say you order a “soda” at a restaurant or cafe in the U.S., you'll end up with an ice-cold drink with carbonation. But if you ask for soda in Germany, your waiter will bring out a bottle of mineral water. Or if you ask for soda in Italy, where they call carbonated drinks “fizzy,” you'll likely get a glass of fizzy water. But don't worry! If what you really want is something carbonated but not fizzy, just ask for “still” water — or “mineral water without gas” in other countries.

 

  1. Don’t assume you can charge your electronics anywhere

 

If you are traveling to a country that uses a different voltage than yours, it's important to find out if your charger will work there. You can do this by finding the label on the back of the charger; the label should tell you what voltage the charger is compatible with. If you don't see this label, you may want to consider leaving your charger at home if it is not compatible with the country's voltage.

 

Not all power outlets are universal!

 

Many countries use different types of power outlets than your home country. It's always best to bring a universal adapter so that you can easily plug in your electronics no matter where you go.

 

  1. Not packing light enough

 

If you're only going away for three days, there's no need to pack your entire wardrobe. Remember that every kilo counts when it comes to luggage allowances and can mean paying more for checked-in bags or checking out of the airport in tears after being forced to pay £50 for going over the limit. Packing just one suitcase will also save time by making the check-in process faster and less stressful — especially if you're traveling alone.

 

We’ve all done it at some point during our travels: arrived in a foreign country, stepped off the plane, and immediately realized we’re in over our heads. Maybe you just haven’t studied the language of the place you’re visiting enough, or maybe you realized your knowledge of the culture is sorely lacking. Either way, whether you are just traveling for fun or on business for work, these 12 mistakes will help keep you out of trouble when abroad.

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