by Madison Carroll; Global Action Volunteer
There are many great things you can be when you travel – adventurous, spontaneous, organized, cultured, open, fun – but there is one thing you must be when you travel, and that is SAFE.
To Travel is to Live
I’ve spent my career organizing programs for students studying abroad across the world. As much as I want participants in my programs to learn & grow from the experience, none of that matters if they aren’t safe.
Here are my top T.R.A.V.E.L. tips for staying safe while exploring the US and abroad with Girl Scouts.
Although we always want to believe people are good at heart and only mean positive intent, when traveling, I pull back this belief slightly. Yes, most people are wonderful human beings, but there are pickpockets, thieves, and scammers in who are ready to mess with unknowing tourists.
If someone tries to sell you something, politely decline. If someone asks to borrow your phone, give them a coin to use a payphone instead. If someone is walking too close to you, quickly move in another direction. I believe there is always good in the world, but when traveling, always protect yourself first.
The best thing you can do for your safety when traveling is research! Research, research, research! Know what to expect when you get to your location. Know the local customs and what is normal/abnormal.
I always Google “What should I know before going to [fill in location]” before even starting to plan my trips. This helps you to know safe neighborhoods to stay in, safe phrases to say to locals, and the most common issues tourists encounter.
Stay aware of your surroundings. Don’t walk through cities talking on your phone or texting––this signals that you aren’t paying attention and puts an easy target on you, inviting issues.
Take in your surroundings, enjoy your experience, and be aware of your belongings. Which leads to…
Only keep things you absolutely need with you. Don’t wear expensive jewelry or whip your phone around. Keep only necessities with you––cash, your phone, and a credit card.
Keep all other valuables locked in your accommodations and keep your valuables as close to you as possible, ideally in a travel belt or a purse that you keep tucked under your armpit.
To ensure your safety and travels go as planned, insurance is always recommended. There are many different providers that will cover everything from travel delays to extreme medical expenses. I never travel internationally without it.
Lock up your suitcase before boarding the plane and use that lock to secure your belongings in your accommodations when you arrive. You can buy a cheap travel lock on Amazon, and I promise you it is an investment for all of your future travels!
Roam Around The World
Madison is a member of the Global Action Volunteer Team; a group of volunteers who love all things global and travel. They’ve traveled extensively locally, nationally and internationally with Girl Scouts and on their own.
People like Madison and the Global Action Volunteer Team are helping Girl Scouts broaden their horizons and explore the wide world around us! Learning about different traditions, meeting diverse people, experiencing authentic cultural immersion, and helping people all at once–– that’s what makes travel with the Girl Scouts so special!
Ready to travel with Girl Scouts? Check out all of your options on our travel page!