Packed your bags and ready to get on the plane? Going travelling is always exciting, but it doesn’t come without certain risks. Travelling should never be accompanied by a fear the unknown, so before you embark on your next adventure, check out these simple things you can do to minimise risks during your trip.
Read up on rude gestures
You don’t want to end up showing the local equivalent of flipping the bird at the hotel receptionist when you’re checking into the hotel, or accidentally starting a bar fight because a gesture you made is insulting to the other guy’s mother.
There are many books and articles online that can teach you which gestures are considered rude in foreign countries, such as this lighthearted article on the Atlantic.
Do a thorough climate check
Is it raining daily in Prague? Is there political unrest in the country you’re visiting? If so, you might have to look into how you can be prepared to face the dangers. Check CBC News for global travel warnings with a fun interactive map. Read on for more government sources with updates on global travel warnings.
Plan your trips
Book your accommodation and transport before you travel. You can also contact the bank with your travel itinerary and notify them to watch out for unusual spending during your trip. Another reason for booking early is that you can check whether lockers and storage is provided for luggage. Heavy bags are not only a nuisance, they can also make you an an easy target for thieves.
Ensure your belongings are protected
No matter how vigilant you are, thieves can be crafty. Investing in a durable anti-theft bag can prevent damage from slashing, pickpockets, thefts, bag snatchers and gear thieves. It’s also useful to understand how pickpockets operate. Learn some of the ways they steal from Brett and Kate McKay at the Art of Manliness and find out how to avoid being pickpocketed.
Bring only what’s needed
Download an app or electronic dictionary to help you translate, and leave the phrasebook at home. There are also offline maps, digital pamphlets and camera phones that let you save your backpack space for essential items. Always keep your visa, credit cards, passport and important travel documents close by and in a protective wallet.
Be careful with who you trust
You might want to trust that person you just met over a nice meal at the hotel lobby, but be wary. Be cautious with who you give your trust to, and when. If you’re travelling alone, you are at risk of being taken advantage of. Don’t give people your private information and always think twice before saying more than you should.
Avoid large crowds or large events
If you’ve done your bit and discovered the place you plan to visit will be very crowded due to visits of cute Asian actors and boy bands (acts such as BIG BANG, Super Junior or Arashi can cause crowd congestion on the streets), be sure to stay alert when in these large crowds. Turn your bags to the front and keep your money in hidden pockets. Avoid potentially dangerous protests or demonstrations which may have the potential to turn violent.
Be alert, single female travellers
A single traveller may be targeted as easy prey. Remember to walk in well-lit areas at night, and travel in groups when possible.
Broaden your horizons while keeping your safety in mind. Don’t let the dangers spook you into staying at home. Instead, bravely go to places you have never been before. Have a safe trip!
Check out our ultimate travel safety checklist here.