8 things you probably think make you safer when you travel that don’t

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You might be surprised to learn that looking like a tourist can make you unsafe while traveling.

MinDo/Shutterstock

traveling routine might be making you less safe.

  • Bringing tons of cash, for example, can increase your chances of being robbed or losing money.
  • Posting about your trip on social media can also be risky, as it can inform strangers of your location.
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  • Many people take certain measures when they travel that they may believe make them safer.

    Some of these travel habits, however, could be doing the opposite. For example, bringing tons of cash could increase your chances of being robbed, and sharing vacation photos on social media might let people find your location too easily.

    Here are a few things you think might be keeping you safe on your travels that you could be wrong about.

    Flying in a larger plane isn’t necessarily safer than a smaller plane, according to some aviation experts.

    Weather conditions can often play a bigger role in a plane’s safety than its size does.

    Matej Kastelic/Shutterstock

    Many people think they may be safer when traveling on larger planes, but experts say this isn’t necessarily the case.

    “Many travelers believe large commercial planes are safer than smaller planes, when in actuality, air safety depends on many other factors such as maintenance compliance, type of aircraft, the weather and the pilot flying the plane,” said Charles “Chick” Gregg, the owner of boutique airline Air Unlimited.

    “Traveling in a large plane doesn’t automatically make you safer, so choosing a small airline with great perks and staff could provide you with the safety and comfort you seek – in addition to a better overall experience. This means travelers should look outside a plane’s size to determine the safest air carrier that meets their personal trip needs.”

    Some people give themselves away as tourists by what they wear or carry.

    Backpacks, passport holders, and maps can be key signals that you’re a tourist.

    MinDo/Shutterstock

    Those passport holders that you wear around your neck may seem convenient, but they can make you stand out as a tourist and can easily be snipped or ripped off. The same goes for backpacks.

    “Backpacks, they’re incredibly practical and make traveling a breeze, however, they also may mark you as a tourist. They’re also easy to reach into unnoticed and steal from when you’re on a busy street or public transportation. This also goes for putting anything valuable in your back pocket,” said Ali Andino, an expert at travel company Scott Dunn.

    Carrying a map is another giveaway.

    “People think carrying a map with them helps so they don’t get lost, but when someone is wrestling with a map in the middle of the street, they very much give away that they are probably a tourist, and can be targeted by pickpockets and the like,” said Kendra Guild, Director of Product and Operations for SmarTours.

    Instead, consider downloading maps to an app on your phone to play it safe.

    Only traveling to touristy areas or destinations isn’t always a safe bet.

    Paris, France, is often filled with tourists eager to see landmarks like the Eiffel Tower.

    r.nagy/Shutterstock

    Often, less popular destinations are dubbed unsafe or too dangerous and travelers think that as long as they go to well-known places like Paris or Barcelona, they will be safe because they are full of people.

    “I personally think that there is more crime in more touristy places than quieter local ones because criminals know where to find tourists and crowded areas [increase the] chance to for something bad to happen,” said Sahara Rose of Sahara Rose Travels, LLC, and founder of The Travel Coach Network.

    Bringing too much cash to avoid credit card theft might put you at risk.

    It’s sometimes safer to pay with credit cards than cash in foreign countries.

    Atiwat Witthayanurut/Shutterstock

    Credit-card theft and identity theft is certainly something to worry about and some people think that they can avoid having their details stolen while abroad by bringing more cash.

    But this may not always the smartest strategy.

    “I personally believe that the more cash you have on you, the greater the chance you have [of] getting robbed, having it stolen, or having too much anxiety worrying about your money on you,” said Rose.

    Traveling to English-speaking countries only probably won’t make you any safer.

    Sydney, Australia, where most residents speak English.

    Javen/Shutterstock

    Many people feel that if they can’t communicate with people on their travels, they probably won’t be very safe.

    But experts say this isn’t necessarily the case.

    “This could not be further from the truth,” said Rose. “Some of my favorite destinations are in Asia and South America, both regions of the world where English is NOT their first language.”

    Read more:8 warning signs you’re about to visit a tourist trap

    Checking state-department websites for safety information is handy, but not always fool-proof.

    You’ll likely want to do thorough research before visiting a far-away destination.

    muratart/Shutterstock

    Many travelers check with government websites to see if there are travel warnings in the countries that they plan on visiting.

    “While this may be a first step at prudency for safe travel tips, it doesn’t always mean this information is current and up to date. Oftentimes, these sites don’t explain why the destination is listed as a warning to travelers,” said Stefanie Michaels of AdventureGirl.com. “I always say do your research if you think that you aren’t getting enough information from one website.”

    That means checking with local papers, reaching out via social media to get a resident’s take, and contacting the airline to see if there have been any issues such as flight diversions due to turmoil. That said, it’s worth paying attention to serious travel advisories from the government, which you can check here.

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