Civil wars, famine, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, floods and fires and terrorist attacks are just a few of the things happening in countries around the world at any given time and affect you travelling safe. Not everything is preventable and sometimes you are in the wrong place at the right time. Here are some ideas to help you travel safe.
Research your destination
Of course you want to visit the tourist spots, but cameras and maps identify you as a tourist. This is why researching your destination is a good idea. Research things like how are you going to get around? And what do you want to see and do? Once you know these things you can work out your plan of being a tourist without actually looking like a tourist and this will help you look like you know where you’re going and what you’re doing (even if you don’t). Investigate using apps with maps of your destination on your device.
Looking like a tourist means you may attract unsavoury types so try to blend in, which can be pretty hard if you have fair skin and blonde hair in a country where people are predominantly dark-haired and dark-skinned, or vice versa. Unfortunately, there are some unscrupulous people in the world who like to target travellers.
Blending in can also mean wearing appropriate clothes. Although it might be normal to wear shorts and a t-shirt at home some countries have dress codes and it is advisable to adhere to those. Not adhering to dress codes makes you stand out and could trigger unwanted attention.
Know where your valuables are at all times
You should be conscious at all times of where your valuables are. Firstly, it is advisable to only travel with what you need, (passport, credit cards, money, devices, etc.). You will need an appropriate way to carry these. A small bag will suffice or try a money belt which could be worn around the neck or waist. Ensure you don’t expose this when a lot of people are around. Always have funds for the day readily available. Be wary not to put wallets in back pockets as they can be snatched.
If you don’t want to carry your valuables with you all the time find a secure spot to leave them. Many hostels/hotels have lockable lockers/safes where you can leave your items.
Be careful of the way you carry bags
Bags can easily be slit open without your knowing sometimes. A suggestion is to wear the bag with the bulk of it in front of you. This will be hard with a large backpack so take it off and leave it in front of you so you can watch it. If carrying a handbag drape it diagonally over the body with the purse part in front. This can be uncomfortable but slinging it over the shoulder could see a moped driver grab it from you as they can do it so quickly they will be gone with your valuables before you know it. Definitely don’t leave your luggage unattended particularly with anyone you have recently met.
Be wary of your surroundings
Now we aren’t saying don’t drink but when travelling you may over indulge in local experiences. This is why you should ensure you know where your valuables are and also be wary of your surroundings cause if you have had too much to drink you may become disoriented and/or lose control and not be able to protect yourself and/or your valuables.
Also be aware of your surroundings and adhere to any signs such as ‘danger ahead’, ‘crocodiles – do not swim’, ‘beach closed today’ – think of your own safety and follow the signs.
Purchase travel insurance
Yes, you really do need travel insurance. You just don’t know what might happen, you could lose your luggage, find yourself in a natural disaster or need to be hospitalised while travelling and travel insurance should reimburse you. There are many on-line providers so shop around and get a policy that suits you and your aspirations. I recommend WorldNomads Travel Insurance, I have taken out insurance with them a number of times. However, I do suggest you get a few travel insurance quotes before you purchase.
Check in regularly
It is a good idea to have at least one designated friend or family member to give a copy of your itinerary to and to keep in regular contact with so if you don’t contact them they can ring the alarm bells. It can be a good idea to register your contact details with the local Embassy/High Commission/Consulate in case anything happens to you or at home you can be located.