Top 10 Travel Safety Tips
Traveling is exhilarating and opens doors to new worlds. But at times, it can also be terrifying. Keeping yourself safe is as important as enjoying your journey. I have gained a great insight about travel security, both from personal experiences and from other travelers. I am sharing the 10 best travel safety tips in this article. Most of these insights may seem obvious or common sense, but they say that common sense is the least common of all the senses.
Always beware of your surroundings.
A security study revealed that a thief or a robber would avoid attacking the people who are the most aware of their environment; so the first travel safety advice is to develop the habit of looking at your surroundings. You do not need to be suspicious of everyone around you, just keep an eye for any unusual activity or behavior around you.
Appear confident and don’t act or look like a victim
Continuing with this same study, (to see the complete study, click here) people select their victims due to certain traits. One of those traits is if they are low in confidence and appear to be someone who can easily be dominated. So even if you are lost or in trouble, don’t express it.
If you appear to be a person who is at least resisting an attack, chances are they will not attack you. If I am a thief, why would I choose someone who will battle if I can choose someone easier to mug? This brings me to the point 3.
Let it go
If you are unlucky and are attacked despite following step 1 and 2, then let it go.
Nothing is as valuable as your life, so if someone asks you for your money, wallet, cell phone, laptop, jewelry, or other valuables, give it and do not resist. Most likely, the thief will retire once he gets the things, so it is best to act calmly and let it go.
Separate your money
Never put all your eggs in one basket.
In case of robbery, theft, or accidental dropping, you can be sure that you have not lost everything and you can still continue traveling.
When I was traveling in Cambodia, I lost my wallet on a bus. Fortunately, I had kept most of my money and documents in my backpack. As a result, I could continue my journey without any problem.
Put your wallet in the front pocket
I can’t understand why so many people prefer to keep their wallets in the back pocket of their trousers. Over time, you will realize that keeping the wallet in the front pocket is not only safer but also more practical.
Know a little about the most frequent scams of the place where you go
Each region has a scam that characterizes it. There are a plethora of tourist scams- from the very common taxi and fake currency scams to the-children-posing-for-a-photo-and-stealing-your-money scams.
There is no country, however developed, that does not have some kind of scam. You can avoid most of these scams by not trusting the people who are "overly friendly" or "want to practice English" in the middle of the street.
I always follow this golden rule when it comes to avoiding scammers: I don’t trust people who approach me for anything- helping with directions, selling stuff or just being friendly. When I need any help from a trustworthy person, I approach her/him.
Do not show signs of affection in public.
In many countries, there is an open culture for being very affectionate. People have no problem kissing, hugging or walking hand in hand with their partner or "friend with rights". In other countries, this frowned upon and can even lead to fines.
If you are traveling through Asia, the Middle East and some regions of Africa, try to limit your signs of affection, however simple, to the privacy of your hotel.
Do not get separated from your belongings, and follow the two-bag principle
Your bags and backpacks will become an extension of you. Never separate from them, unless absolutely necessary.
The two-bag principle comes in handy if you have to separate from your backpack. Pack all your valuables- jewelry, cash, documents, credit cards, and other valuables in a small bag and keep it with yourself, no matter what.
There have been many instances in my journeys when I had to sleep with that small bag (because there was no locker in the dorms) and had to go to public toilets with that bag.
Put small locks on the zippers of the backpacks. If someone wants to steal, he will find a way to do it; but at least don’t make it easy.
Do not give money, sweets, or gifts to anyone on the street, especially the children.
There are two reasons why you should not do it:
From the safety point of view, sometimes when you take out your wallet to make a donation, the only thing you are doing is showing the place where you keep it. So another person is likely to be ready to steal it later.
On the other hand, there are countries where poverty will break your heart but it is precisely these countries where you do more harm if you give a little money, a candy, or even a pen to the children. By doing so, you are fomenting poverty and the person keeps asking. Children especially, seeing that extending their hands to a tourist gets them something are likely to be on the street asking for money instead of studying. In the long run, they will grow up seeing foreigners only as a means to get money.
However hard and radical this sounds, it is a reality. Please avoid giving things to the street children. If you really want to help, then you better donate or volunteer in an organization that addresses the root problem.
Avoid using your credit card or entering your passwords in a cyber cafe or with public Wi-Fi.
Many cyber cafés have programs that store what you type on the keyboard; so entering a password can be risky. If it is ABSOLUTELY necessary to access a personal account from one of these places, make sure to change the password as soon as possible. The safest way to avoid this is to use a VPN.
I hope that these travel safety tips will be useful for your upcoming trips. Most of the world is safe from human dangers; kindness in humans is an inherent feature and not everyone will try to hurt you, so go discover the world. You also want to make sure and bring awesome backpacks with you on the trip so prepare for the worst and hope for the best!