Are We There Yet? – Being Smart

Travel safe and smart.

Jennifer Coxby Jennifer Cox

There are a lot of things to remember and stay on top of when you're on vacation in a foreign place, and you should have two main objectives when traveling – be safe and be smart. Depending on your destination you may not be able to saunter around with wads of cash in your pockets or decked out with a fanny-pack and a camera around your neck, and there's a few precautions you should take and plan ahead for to fend off any unexpected emergencies.

Trust me – after years of going here, there and everywhere I've had to learn these lessons the hard way, so take my advice on how to travel safe and smart and avoid a vacay emergency.


– Conceal valuables. Don't meander around with tons of bling or your most expensive watch. Again, depending on the area you're visiting, you don't necessarily want to draw a lot of attention to yourself.

– Don't look like a tourist. Try and blend in. Forget your neon pink Lacoste shirt and opt for something a tad more understated. Don't make it obvious that you're a newcomer. Again, if you're at an all-inclusive resort or visiting a popular tourist destination like Rome then you're already in a tourist hotspot, but if you've chosen a more obscure location to check out, be more discrete.

– Make copies of important documents. You'll want to have copies of your passport, healthcare cards and photo ID (like a driver's license), and keep them tucked away in another part of your luggage in case you misplace the originals.

– Don't stick to one form of money. Bring some cash but also make sure you have traveller's checks and at least one credit card.

– Pack things in original packaging. Don't bring medication or toiletries in your own travel bottles – make sure you have everything in its packaging with proper labels in case there are any problems at customs.

– Do your homework. Don't just show up in Thailand and expect to know all of the laws, customs and more. Do some research on your destination and familiarize yourself with local life, rules and regulations.


Bon Voyage,



Jenn Cox is a Montreal-based freelance journalist. Visit her website or email her at