When heading off on your adventures you want to make that trip memorable for all the right reasons. It’s about enjoying great experiences, meeting great people, and seeing intriguing things. A little bit of forethought and planning goes a long way in keeping things positive and avoiding becoming a tale of caution. Here are some of the top personal safety tips for traveling, curated from experts around the world, to make that trip a good one.
Travel With Others (or at least look like you are)
The rise of solo travel is an amazing trend that’s enabling people to head out in the world and enjoy life’s adventures. However, the old adage ‘safety in numbers’ does ring true when traveling. If you do happen to be traveling alone it can be great fun, and safer, to pair up with fellow solo travelers for a night or day out. Another tip is to ask for a second key at your hotel, even if you don’t need one. It implies to staff you have another person with you.
Take Safe Transport
Personal safety isn’t all about people wanting to take advantage of you. More often than not it’s accidents that cause the issues. If you’re in a new place, make sure you’re taking safe transport, opting for cars over motorbikes where possible and always using a licensed operator. Also, use legitimate taxi services over people who approach you. Most airports have those warnings in place, but the same advice goes for in the city where you’re staying.
Think Clean Food And Water
Simply eating or drinking the wrong thing can pose a greater personal safety risk than any nefarious element we might get paranoid about. Always make sure a water source is clean before drinking from it. Check out reviews about places to eat for warnings about food quality. By all means, try that spicy local delicacy. Just make sure it’s not going to cause any problems once it goes past your lips.
Do Your Research (and ask locals for advice)
Before you leave on your holiday it’s always a great idea to check travel sites for the latest safety advice tailored to that area. Smart Traveler is just one site that’s worth a visit.
When it comes to safety advice for a certain area, sometimes Google doesn’t quite cut it. It’s a great idea to ask the locals about safe places to visit too. They’ll generally know the places you should go to from a cleanliness or security standpoint, plus know any times you should avoid being out. They’ll also know some cool places to check out you might not have considered. Of course, some locals might have a vested interest in you visiting certain places, so ask a few different sources and curate the results.
Project An Air Of Confidence
It’s an unfortunate side of human nature that the most vulnerable-looking people are the ones that get targeted. To make sure that’s not you, keep yourself looking confident and ‘knowing’ what you’re doing and where you’re going. That means figuring out where you’re headed before you leave, moving with purpose and generally keeping an ‘I’ve done this before’ look on your face. If you do get a little lost, head into a shop for directions, or check a digital map rather than a paper one. People will simply think you’re checking your Instagram feed or replying to a text rather than figuring out where to go.
Blend In With The Locals
Another side of personal safety is blending in where you go. It’s one thing to be confident and another to stand out as a loud tourist. Dress appropriately according to local customs and trends, do as the locals do when it comes to interactions, and generally keep a low profile at public events. That also means keeping a lid on alcohol consumption at bars (within reason). Most locals will enjoy a couple of drinks and then ease off because they have work or family commitments to think about. It will also mean you’re feeling fresh for a new big day, every day you’re away.
Keep Your Valuables Out Of Sight
In the spirit of blending in, it’s always a good idea to keep expensive jewelry or wads of cash out of sight. Temptation is the mother of bad behavior, so the less valuables you’re exposing for people to see, the less chance you have of becoming a target. If you need a portable safe to store your valuables safely here are some great options, or if you still want to keep things on you, some wearable pouches that hide under your clothes are also good.
Trust Your Gut Feeling
Sometimes you just feel like you’re in an unsafe place but you can’t put your finger on it. It might be people are looking at you a certain way, or there’s simply some activity that doesn’t add up. Often, we fight our instincts and tell ourselves we’re being silly. Expert advice is to actually listen to those instincts and remove yourself from the situation as quickly as possible. If you can’t jump in a good cab, at least seek out others for safety in numbers.
Stay On Higher Floors If You Can
This is a stat not known by many, but most crime in tourist areas (and frankly, residential areas) happens on ground or lower levels. That’s because they’re easier to access. If you have the option, ask to stay on a higher floor. It will not only statistically improve your personal safety when traveling but also give you a nice view of the place you came to enjoy.
Learn Common Travel Scams
Before you head of on world travels, it’s great to have the power of knowledge when it comes to avoiding any scams that might be out there. Here is a solid list of common travel scams, plus you can find out local variations with a quick Google search. Remember, any issues that can be avoided through a little know how are well worth the little bit of time it takes to get up to speed.
Take Some Security With You
There are a bunch of great, portable safety items out there if you want some extra peace of mind when going somewhere new. Think door stop alarms, portable whistles, stainless steel locking cables, and other things that are relatively cheap and easy to pack.
Of course, an anti-theft backpack is also a great start to keep your valuables out of sight in a secure place. Go here for Pacsafe’s full range of anti-theft travel solutions.
And, as always, Safe Travels.