Travel Safety Tips

Travel Guide Information

Go to the web sites of the big three travel guide publishers for free information on anything from restaurants, places to see, maps, general information to tips about how to travel safely and comfortably.  Also check the travel section of major bookstores for both maps and books.

National Geographic
University of Texas (Library Map Site)

Airport Information and Maps General Information Continental Terminal Maps follow the links for individual maps US airport maps by state


1. Check out the Compleat Carry-On Traveler

2. Click on What to Take and What to Leave Behind

3. Click back at the top of the page on a section called The One-Page Checklist Download a copy of this convenient checklist

4. Check out sections on What to take it In, How to pack it, and Resources

5. Also check with Frommer’s and Fodor’s

Luggage Tips

  1. Check the airline website for restrictions concerning what you may pack for carry-on luggage.
  2. Use visible identifying marks on your luggage (special brightly colored tags). Put your name and address inside the luggage and on the outside, using strong plastic to hold the tag.
  3. Expect luggage to be mistreated during plane flights. Don’t pack fragile things.
  4. Anything liquid should be inside a ziplock bag in case of spillage or explosion.
  5. Double check and tighten all caps.
  6. On planes, nothing sharply pointed is allowed. Put it in checked luggage.
  7. Expect to lose checked luggage. Carry one day’s clothing change and all valuables in your carry-on luggage.
  8. Use layering for warmth, not bulky jackets etc.

Type of Luggage

  1. Soft-sided bags are most practical, since they hold more.
  2. Choose sturdy, non-complicated, practical luggage. Bags with wheels are an excellent investment. Try TJ Maxx for good buys on name-brand luggage.
  3. Steer clear of expensive, matched luggage sets. They set you up as a target for thieves.
  4. It is better to have a slightly scruffy, banged up set of luggage which looks unobtrusive and uninviting.
  5. Remember, the maximum for domestic flights is three bags.
  6. Most airlines will allow one carry-on, if it fits in the top compartment, and a handbag, and two checked luggage pieces.
  7. Check with the airline for requirements since they vary. International luggage restrictions vary.

Luggage Identification

  1. Tag your luggage with your name and home phone (not your address), and a heavy-duty attachment in two different places, one on the handle, one elsewhere in case the handle gets ripped off during transit.  Luggage tags fall off in airports, or are ripped off during travel.
  2. Place further identification inside the bag in a prominent place, in case the tags are lost.
  3. Each year, thousands of bags with valuable contents end up at the lost-luggage sales. Don’t let yours be one of them.
  4. Outside pockets with zippers frequently get ripped off during transit--leave them empty.
  5. Be sure to keep the luggage tags given to you at ticketing.  It is very difficult to track down a lost bag without these important documents.
  6. Even if you plan to travel by car, the tips offered here will help you to pack efficiently, and to be prepared for the trip.

Handling Money

  1. Do not take a large amount of cash.
  2. Use your ATM card, and credit card for purchases in the United States.
  3. In foreign countries, check whether you can use your ATM card. Mastercard and Visa have ATM’s in many countries, but the availability varies. Make sure you use deduction from your account, not cash advance at 18% interest with and access charge.
  4. Check the location for ATM’s at and The fact that London, England has only 306 ATM’s where you can use your Mastercard should tell you a lot about availability. (Imagine New York City with only 306 ATM’s!)
  5. If you need other forms of cash, use traveler’s checks. They are inexpensive and replaceable.
  6. It is a good idea to take a small amount of cash in the foreign currency with you, just in case you arrive and need to pay for something before you can get to the currency exchange.
  7. For exchange rates, and a handy conversion chart to take with you to a foreign country, check out or
  8. Purchase a small travel wallet which can be secured on your person for carrying your valuables, including your passport.
  9. Keep a photocopy of your traveler’s check numbers in a safe place, or leave it at home so that you can access it readily. 

Safety When Driving and Flying

1. Do not leave your car at any time unlocked, or with any forms of possessions visible on the seats to tempt break-in. While driving in major cities or towns, keep your doors locked, your windows rolled up, and your valuables concealed. Never leave valuables in an unattended car.

2. In the airport, keep your luggage directly at hand at all times:

  • Phone calls–keep luggage between legs.
  • In line do not allow anyone to distract you from your luggage. Thieves work in pairs. One distracts you, asks you questions, spills something on you, while the other grabs your luggage.
  • On the conveyer belt, place your luggage and wallet on at the last minute, and keep your eye on it while going through the metal detector. Remove all metal from your body ahead of time to avoid delays.
  • Take your luggage into the bathroom, or if you travel with someone else, have them watch the luggage and take turns going to the bathroom.
  • In airport restaurants, keep luggage at feet, or directly by table where you can place your hand on it.
  • Do not allow any person, for whatever reason, to lure you away from luggage you are watching.