Some travel tricks can make your trip better, others will save you money. But these travel hacks can get you out of a sticky situation, and could even save your life.
From where to hide emergency cash to splitting up valuables amongst your group, these tips will help to keep you safe if the worst should happen.
Display vital health information on your phone
Certain smartphone apps let you display essential health information (such as severe allergies or medical conditions) right on your lock screen so doctors and first responders can see them even without your password or fingerprint.
This is particularly useful for solo travellers who don’t have a companion to speak for them.
Such apps include the Health app on your iPhone and the Medical ID app for Android.
Stowing money in your shoe
One ageless tactic to get you out of a jam is to keep the local equivalent of a £50 note in your shoe.
While it’s easier to get cash and pay with credit these days, this can still be a life-saving travel hack if your wallet is stolen and you’re left without your credit and debit cards.
It’s best if the money is in the local currency, so when you first arrive in country, take a note from your initial cash point withdrawal and stash it away.
You could also try hiding money in a lip balm tube.
Split up your valuables
If you’re travelling with a friend, don’t have one person carry all the critical stuff such as passports, credit cards, cash, and hotel keys.
If one person loses or is robbed of their wallet or purse, you don’t want to lose all the critical things you’ll need to dig your way out of a jam.
If you’re travelling alone, get the two hotel keys that are usually on offer, and put one in your wallet or purse and the other in your pocket or money belt.
Split up cash and credit cards in a similar fashion, with some easily accessible and some hidden in a money belt or your hotel safe.
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This way, if you are robbed, you can hand over what appears to be everything you have and will hopefully be allowed to go safely on your way without being left without resources.
Save emergency numbers in your contacts
Look up the emergency numbers for the country you’re visiting before you get there and save them in your phone.
Note that many have different numbers for ambulance vs. fire vs. police, so be sure to save all of them in your contacts.
Depending on the type of phone you have, you might have an automated way to call the local emergency number.
If your iPhone is running iOS 11, you can access Emergency SOS by either pressing and holding the side button plus one of the volume buttons (for iPhone X, iPhone 8, or iPhone 8 Plus) or rapidly pressing the side button five times (iPhone 7 or earlier).
This will trigger an Emergency SOS slider that will let you call emergency services no matter where you are.
Stay between the third and sixth floors
You probably choose your hotel room for its views or location, but you should also keep your safety in mind.
Sarah Schlichter writes in book Hotel Safety Tips: “Don’t accept a room on the ground floor if you can avoid it.
“Many safety experts recommend staying somewhere between the third and sixth floors—where rooms are high enough to be difficult to break into, but not so high that they’re out of the reach of most fire engine ladders.”
Don’t let your petrol tank get low
Keeping an eye on your petrol tank will help you avoid running out of fuel, or having to top up in a questionable area.
This is particularly important if you’re travelling in harsh environments such as deserts, remote areas, or extremely cold parts of the world, where being stranded without petrol could quickly become life-threatening.
Use caution when drinking
Being in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language or know the local laws makes you vulnerable – don’t compound this by drinking foolishly or to excess.
Watch your drink being poured, don’t let it out of your sight, and don’t have more than one or two, especially if you’re travelling alone.
Be willing to spend when you feel unsafe
Everyone wants to save a few quid when they travel, but it’s not worth your life.
If you’re unsure of your surroundings or facing a long walk back to your hotel at night, don’t hesitate to spend some extra money on a cab ride to get yourself to safety.
The same goes for an Airbnb whose host makes you feel uncomfortable or a hotel in an iffy neighborhood. Don’t stick around if your safety is at risk.
Follow your taxi or route on a mapping app
Keeping an eye on the route when you get into an unfamiliar car can help you avoid getting lost or ending up in a sketchy area.
If you sense trouble, call your emergency numbers and get out of the car if you can, preferably in a populated area where someone can help.
Manage your allergies
If you have any life-threatening allergies, make sure you learn how to say and spell the name of that item in the local language.
You’ll also want to advertise your allergy somehow, perhaps by wearing a medical bracelet or carrying a food allergy card.
Update friends and family
It’s never been easier to keep friends and family up to date on your location, and having someone at home know where you are supposed to be can be very useful in an emergency.
Send quick texts or emails home noting the city, hotel, or attraction you are visiting so folks know where to find you if something happens.
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Several apps can help with this life-saving travel hack. Options include Red Panic Button, which lets you send an emergency email or text to any contact you determine, and Trusted Contacts, which lets loved ones track your location.
This article originally appeared in Smarter Travel and was reproduced with permission.
Sun Online Travel previously revealed the safest and riskiest places to head on holiday in the world.