When traveling, it can be quite easy to get caught up in the moment and forget to take extra precautions in order to protect yourself and your group. No matter where you go for your vacation, it's extremely important to be prepared at all times. Follow these holiday travel safety tips for a much smoother, safer vacation!

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Take photos of important documents

It’s frustrating and anxiety-inducing to lose any valuable documents, such as a passport, social security card, plane ticket, etc.

The great thing about technology is accessibility! Take a photo or scan the documents you’ll be traveling with beforehand, email them to yourself, and you’ll be able to access them anywhere, even if you lose them. If you’re traveling with a trusted friend or partner, you can also send them copies, as well, in case you get separated.

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Always have your money, phone, and passport

These are going to be your travel trinity items that need to be protected at all costs. Anything else can be replaced by using one of these; but these three are extremely hard to replace if lost. Be sure to keep them in a zippered pocket in your clothes, if possible. If not, be sure the bag or purse where they're located is always right by your side — safe and secure.

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Bring multiple forms of payment

If you can, bring at least two credit or debit cards on your trip. While traveling, keep them separate at all times (one in the hotel, one on your person, etc). It’s helpful to have another method of paying for expenses if your primary form of payment gets misplaced or stolen.

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Know the laws, customs, and culture of your destination

If you're traveling out of the country, be sure to do some research on any customs that you may not be familiar with beforehand. There are many countries that frown upon things Americans consider normal, and vice versa. It's important to make sure you are respecting the culture of any country you visit, to ensure you’re not accidentally breaking any laws or disrespecting someone’s religion or holy place.

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Practice situational awareness

This may seem a bit simple, but it’s probably the most important holiday travel safety tip. Be very aware of your surroundings at all times when traveling! It may sound a bit paranoid, but things can go south quickly, especially if you're not paying attention. Be sure you know where you are and who is around you while you’re out and about. Always be mindful of what you take from strangers, who you take directions from, etc. Additionally, try not to be on your phone too much if you are walking down the street, as it can be a distraction that someone may try and take advantage of.

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Leave precious items at home

There are some things, like expensive jewelry or other items that have sentimental value, that should be left at home. The risk of losing them while traveling may not be worth bringing them along, and could also make you a target for pickpocketing.