These are very basic, but very vital rules you must follow to make your life easier, whether are traveling 2 hours or 2 days from home.

1)  ALWAYS carry an ID and/or Passport with you when you travel, even if its domestic.
If you are out of the country, keep at least 2 photocopies of your passport and/or ID. When you go out at night, leave the valid passport in the safe or hidden in your hotel room, but always carry a photocopy with you.  Should your wallet or purse get stolen, you have the original in your hotel room.  If your hotel room is robbed, you have a photocopy of the passport and it will be much easier to get a replacement in this type of situation.

2) ALWAYS carry cash, not a lot, but enough for a night at a hotel.
Keeping $100 in cash on you should not be enough to make or break your vacation.  Not every place accepts credit or debit cards, and you never know when you will need cash even for taxi fare. Never carry all large bills. It is a strong suggestion that you carry these bills: Two $20; Three $10; Four $5; Ten $1.  IF you need money for a cup of coffee you don’t have to stumble around and risk flashing big bills if you have change.  If its a larger amount for taxi or even a full meal, you will always have enough so that even if the merchant does not have change, you do and won’t feel cheated if they cannot provide you proper change.  Naturally, as times change and inflation increases (and it will vary from country to country), just remember to keep enough on you for one night stay at a hotel.  This can be $50 or $150, but remember to keep at least that much on you in that country’s currency.

3) ALWAYS carry a mobile phone with you.
While this might not even be a thought, there are many people that don’t want to be bothered by a phone call while going out and enjoying life. However, you can always turn the phone off. Today’s smart phones are essential, not just for phoning, but also texting, email and finding information online via web browser. Today’s smartphones have forms of payment like Apple and Android Pay features so your credit or debit card number cannot be copied because its all encrypted.  Of course this technology might not be available in many parts of the world, however, its one more reason to embrace technology, while it may seem more complex, it can make your life easier and safer.  Even simple apps like Starbucks offer a barcode cashiers can scan so your wallet, money or bank account is ever compromised or in jeopardy.  The bonus is that virtually any phone made after Y2K (2001) has a camera installed.  It might not be good enough to capture that perfect sunset, but it will be good enough to take a photo of that taxi that smashed the side of the car you rented which you might be responsible for.

4) ALWAYS leave a copy of your travel itinerary with a close relative, friend or even friendly neighbor.
You never know when things can go wrong.  If there is a bus, airline or taxi strike, you might need a ride home from the airport.  And if you ever need someone to make a deposit into your bank account, this information too will be helpful if you find yourself in a jam.

5) NEVER ASSUME that because you are in a good hotel or area that you are safe.
After all, if you were a thief, would you hang out where people are poor, or rich?  If you rob a poor person, you will get $10 at most and risk your life.  But if you rob a wealthier person, you easily get away with $100 or more with not even a fight.  Think like a criminal.  Its not easy or pleasant to do, but remember, that phone, watch or even fake jewelry that may seem meaningless can buy someone homeless, food for a week.

More to come…