Travel Safety - Tips on Backpacking Safety, How to Stay Safe While Traveling Foreign Countries
While help can usually be found eventually it is always better to take precautions and avoid becoming a victim of crime in the first place.
Personal Safety Staying safe while out and about in a foreign country is usually a case of being aware of your location and noticing those around you.
One of the most important things to do is to know your destination.
Try to learn about your travel destination before you arrive there, do some research and be aware of any scams that are particularly popular there, as well as finding out about any areas that are known to be dangerous and best avoided.
Avoid becoming the target Even in areas that you think are safe it is important to be aware of possible dangers, criminals can operate anywhere and you can't always spot them by sight.
Most criminals are opportunistic, they are looking for an easy target so as a tourist you need to make sure you are not going to be that easy target, keeping yourself safe often just means doing simple things like: • Not keeping valuables in your back pocket - Money and other valuables should be stored somewhere that is difficult for someone to put their hand in unnoticed.
A zipped pocket is ideal, or a least a side pocket that no-one can reach into without you being aware of it.
• Keeping your money out of sight - Some travellers like money-belts, others find them to be bulky, sweaty, and unnecessary.
Whether you choose to use one or not the principle is the same.
Keep most of your money concealed.
You are going to need some money in your wallet or pocket to pay for your daily expenses but limit this to small bills and only take money from your main money stash when you are alone.
• Being aware of distractions - Many criminals operate in pairs or groups, one will distract you while the other empties your pockets or bag before you notice.
Be aware of what is going on around you.
If anyone approaches you to ask a question, take a photo, practice English etc.
, then take care that they really are alone and no-one is going through your belongings while your attention is diverted.
Minimizing the damage if you are a victim If you do have the misfortune to be targeted by criminals then you can ensure they do as little damage as possible by taking precautions before they strike.
Splitting your money helps.
If you only have a little money in your pocket then that is all they can take.
The same is true for credit cards, if you must carry them with you then don't keep them all in the same place, that way if someone does manage to get them out of one of your pockets then there is a good chance that everything in the other pocket will still be safe.
Having a spare credit card and some cash can be vital if you do get robbed.
You are probably still going to need somewhere to stay the night, and transport to get there, you could be miles from your destination at the time it happens and you don't want to be left stranded.
Using credit cards while travelling can make life much easier, but it can also open up the possibility of new dangers.
Apart from the risk of having your card stolen, card skimming is a very real danger almost anywhere in the world.
If you do take a credit card on your travels then make sure it is not one you use for any other purpose.
It may be a good idea to apply for one specifically for your trip and cancel it when you return home.
You don't want to leave a criminal gang with your card details to use as they please long after you return home.
Stolen passports are big business in many parts of the world and if you lose yours it can be a big hassle trying to get a new one issued.
It is a wise precaution to keep a copy of your passport, card numbers, and bank details somewhere safe, either hidden on you or stored online where you can access it if required.
Hostel accommodation is cheap and usually safe if you follow a few simple rules.
Knowing the facilities your hostel offers is a good place to start.
If the hostel has a safe then make use of it, there's no point taking more risks than you need to.
Thefts in hostels are rare but they can happen, using a sturdy lock on your backpack is always a good idea, and not checking on your valuables while other guests are watching is common sense.
Following these simple rules will help you to have a great travelling experience and steer clear of anyone trying to target you for criminal purposes.