How To Stay Safe As An Artist As You Travel

Photo caption: Taking precautions when you travel as an artist keeps trips safe and fun! Photo by Alexandr Podvalny from Pexels.

As an artist, travel adds a wonderful excitement to life and your artwork. Seeing new places and experiencing new cultures, the food, the architecture, the people—all of it is an incredible boost to your imagination and gets your creative juices flowing. There’s just one little thing that can dampen your enthusiasm and that’s your safety. How can you stay safe as an artist as you travel?

We live in an amazing world and yet there are unfortunately those who want to harm you. We’re talking about both humans and beasts. Sometimes they are one and the same. So, what do we do as artists who like to travel and who want to be relatively safe while doing it?

How Artists Should Prepare for Travel

Once you’ve determined where you’re going, do your research and prepare. Even if it’s a familiar place, you should still do your research and prepare. There are some very important things to know when you’re traveling. This is not an all-inclusive list, but it will get you started.

  • Make copies of your important documents (driver’s license, passport, marriage license, etc.). Leave a copy with one or two friends and take a copy with you along with your originals. Store your documents and the copies in different places. If your hotel has a safe, you may store one copy there. Always keep your originals with you. Hopefully, you’ll just end up shredding your copies when you get home. But, it’s a huge help in an emergency.
  • Know your itinerary. This certainly doesn’t mean you have to plan and know every detail of your trip. It’s just good to know some basics. This will help you in knowing what and how many supplies to take. It also allows you to plan what you can do. You may only be able to sketch quickly and take a few photos in some locations. Other places may allow you the freedom to set up an easel and have an array of supplies set out. 
  • Arrange to communicate with your family and/or friends regularly. If your loved ones know that you’ll be calling or face-timing at a certain time each day, they’ll watch for your call. Your regular communication will keep them alert if for some reason you don’t check in. It’s simply a safety precaution.
  • Add tracking tools to your phone. Keep your phone charged and tracking tools on. It can help track you and/or your phone.
  • Protect your home while you’re away. Depending on how long you’ll be gone, it’s good practice to stop your mail or have someone collect it while you’re gone. Also, don’t share information about your trip on social media. Wait until you’re home to share those incredible moments. Yes, we all seem to live on social sites these days. So do hackers, thieves, etc. It’s amazing what complete strangers can learn about you on Facebook (or any other site).

Benjamin Franklin said it best, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Again, being prepared doesn’t mean you can’t be spontaneous. It just means you’re being smart. In being prepared you are making ready for an incredible trip. 

How Artists Stay Safe While Creating

OK, you’ve done your due diligence to prepare for the trip. How can you keep safe while you’re actually creating (sketching, painting, etc.)?

  • Keep your supplies close. Miranda Gamel, one of our professional artists, takes a small backpack for important items like her wallet and phone. She keeps her art supplies in a larger bag. She usually carries her backpack in front of her and loops one strap over one shoulder. While she’s painting or sketching, she keeps both bags very close and in well-populated areas, will loop the straps around her legs to help prevent anyone from grabbing and running off with it.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. This is a safety tip that’s good for everyone, everywhere. Who are the people around you? Is the terrain you’re on rough, slippery, etc.? What kinds of animals are around? Snakes, spiders, even stray dogs, etc.? Have you been lost in your painting and didn’t see storm clouds brewing? Again, don’t take this to the extreme and jump at the slightest sound. Just be cautious.
  • Dress appropriately and in layers. Weather can change quickly. That could mean storms are brewing or simply that you began at dawn and are now a bit warm with the noon sun. Depending on where you’re painting, you may also want to dress in bright colors so you’re easily seen.  Also, wearing the right shoes for the terrain is very important in protecting yourself from sprains and strains. 

Additional Thoughts

Keeping safe as an artist while traveling is mostly common sense. Know where you’re going and research the area. What are the hazards as well as where are the stunning views? Keep your documents safe and your supplies close. Be aware of life and weather around you and dress appropriately.

In addition, you will definitely want to stay hydrated. This is crucial. Make sure you have plenty of water to drink. You may also want to have bug spray and a small first-aid kit with you. Keep a flashlight ready for those early mornings and late nights. Consider going with a group of artists. It is said that there is safety in numbers. It’s also very inspiring to be around other artists who see the world in beautiful ways that help keep your creative juices flowing.

Be safe. Be inspired. Be adventurous!

Read More About Traveling As An Artist…

Travel Sketching: An Interview With Traveling Artist Esther Franchuk, Pt 1

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