Traveling abroad is always fun and exciting. Common travel advice like keeping an eye on wallets or not drinking tap water is a must to hear before you go on a trip. However, there are more exceptional issues and travel taboos to be aware of when traveling abroad. Keep these eight tips in mind on what not to do to be safe and enjoy your trip.

You may be accustomed to storing your passport, money, tickets and other valuables in the hotel safe, to avoid losing them when you are on the move or being stolen.

How secure are hotel safes? Not particularly – some very old models can be opened in the event of a power outage. Other safes can be opened if they are reset to their factory settings. Then there are those that pop open if you hit the lid.

Safes in hotel rooms often present a small obstacle for thieves as they are only mounted in the wardrobe or on the wall with screws so that they can be easily removed from site, an advisory center has warned. German consumers in 2019.

It is safer to use the safe at the hotel reception, where you can deposit your valuables. You will receive a receipt and your items will be fully insured, unlike using the room safe.

When it comes to storing valuables, it is best to use the hotel reception safe, as room safes often present a small obstacle for thieves. (ODA)
  • Make phone calls or upload a video on board a ship

If you’re on a ferry, for example from Germany to Sweden or Norway, you might not hesitate to take your smartphone, after roaming charges in the EU and some other countries have were reduced in 2017.

But this only applies to terrestrial networks. As passengers would otherwise not have a mobile phone connection at sea, large ferries often have a mobile phone network on board, connected to a satellite network.

Unfortunately, these in-vehicle networks are very expensive and the costs are not capped at a certain level. A short call costs between €3 ($3.17) and €7 per minute.

You can also expect to pay up to €2.50 per 100 kilobytes of data – and keep in mind that a short WhatsApp video under a minute is around one to three megabytes in size. , which means it can cost $25 to $75 to read. The cost of letting the kids watch a YouTube movie would be exorbitant, so you’re safer if you put the phone on airplane mode until you reach the land.

  • Pack everything in your check-in bag

Another essential travel tip is to put your things in your carry-on. In 2019, airlines around the world lost around 25.4 million pieces of luggage, or just over 5.5 suitcases per thousand passengers, according to IT service provider Sita.

That’s not necessarily a cause for concern, as 99.5% of all missing baggage ends up, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA). But if you want to avoid being part of the remaining 0.5%, make sure your bag doesn’t have loose straps hanging down and your suitcase isn’t too worn.

Another issue to keep in mind is the minimum connection time at a transfer airport. If you have less than the specified minimum, time may be tight and your suitcase will likely only reach your destination on the airline’s next earliest flight, to be sent by taxi or courier.

So if you want to avoid ending up without clean underwear and without a toothbrush, pack the bare minimum in your hand luggage.


Airlines around the world lose millions of bags each year.  (ODA)
Airlines around the world lose millions of bags every year. (ODA)
  • Not being prepared for an emergency

Have you ever checked where the hotel emergency exit is? No matter how good the sprinkler system, you want to know the exit if something catches fire, especially if you’re on a higher floor, since the firefighters’ ladders only reach to the seventh or eighth floor.

While we’re at it, make sure you know what emergency number to dial in the country you’re in – and if it’s worth calling there. Just over 70 countries (two thirds of which are in Europe) have a national emergency service that is always available. Elsewhere, you must make your own way to the nearest hospital.

  • Skip a leg of a flight

It seems strange that a plane ticket from Oslo to New York via Berlin costs less than a ticket from Berlin to New York, without the outward journey. You might be wondering if I really should board the plane in Oslo? Yes, you do.

If you skip a leg of the journey on your ticket, the airline may charge you the difference from the price of the regular route. Legally, this can be a gray area, but it could be an expensive headache down the line.

  • Ignore local laws

Most travelers make every effort to follow local laws, but sometimes this requires additional research. Be aware that if you are in Thailand for example, you don’t want to set foot on a banknote, because it has a picture of the king on it, so you might get in trouble.

Meanwhile, in Buddhist countries, some people don’t like to see tourists posing playfully next to Buddha statues. If you are in the native islands of the Maldives, which are not part of the tourist resorts, bikinis are prohibited. In Bhutan, smoking in public is prohibited. And if you’re in Singapore, you can’t carry the musty-smelling durian fruit underground.

Taking photos with drones can get you in trouble in several places – special permits are required in many countries, while the practice is completely banned in Morocco, Iran, Kenya and Egypt, for example. Flying a drone without the correct paperwork near a military zone could land you in jail.


Drone flying is banned in Morocco, Iran, Kenya and Egypt, and a special permit is required in many other countries.  (ODA)
Drone flying is banned in Morocco, Iran, Kenya and Egypt, and a special permit is required in many other countries. (ODA)
  • Being careless with your medications

There are pills for everything from high blood pressure to fear of flying, but think twice about packing them when you travel.

Many countries have strict drug laws, such as the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Singapore, Malaysia, and many others. So while a drug may be common in Europe, for example, even a small amount can land you in jail abroad.

Check embassy websites before traveling and a letter from your doctor confirming that the medication is needed is also recommended.

  • Checking your bank balance at the hotel

It’s a bad idea to do online banking at the hotel, especially if the wifi isn’t password protected. You could end up in the wrong network if you see something like “Guest” on the list of free networks and assume that’s the right one for you. It could be a scam installed near the hotel and if you are unlucky, thieves can find your email ids and bank passwords, track all your activities, install malware or redirect the connection to phishing sites.

Beware of similar issues at airports and in restaurants. For safer browsing, you can also use your own mobile data or VPN tunnel software.

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