You have booked the flights, made reservations at your dream accommodation, bought a new bathing suit, and tentatively planned all of the places that you will visit to eat, drink and explore — but have you considered safety? As one of the lucky ones escaping the daily grind to travel abroad this summer, it is important to consider safety. Each destination has different risks and concerns but this list of safety tips should be considered by every traveller who would rather sip pina coladas on the beach than deal with thefts, confrontations, or other safety-related catastrophes.
Try to avoid bringing a suitcase full of valuables
You know the expression, ‘less is better’? Well, less is certainly better when it comes to travelling — especially in terms of your most expensive or treasured items. If you can survive on your ten-day cruise without your great-grandmother’s vintage brooch it would be a good idea to do so. Similarly, if your summer plans consist of trekking through the Himalayas, do you really need your smart phone, iPad, Kindle and laptop? Leave these items at home where they will be much safer.
Wanderlust may be a good thing — BUT aimlessly wandering around a foreign city when it is apparent that you are lost and do not know where to go — makes for a vulnerable looking traveller. To minimize your chances of getting approached, know your directions ahead of time and try to appear confident, even when you may not feel that way. A lonely traveller who is pacing back and forth trying to figure out what street the museum is located on looks like a very easy target for pickpockets and the like.
When communicating to locals, be sure that you do not get distracted. If someone approaches you to ask for directions, show you a piece of paper, or offer to guide you to an unknown tourist destination, they are most likely just trying to catch you off guard and snatch your wallet or purse. As these incidents are relatively common in popular tourist destinations, wearing specially designed travel passport holders and wallets are also a good precaution.
For many, a summer vacation is the perfect time to unwind and let loose. However, in order to prevent an incident (not to mention, a serious hangover), be cautious when drinking. Keep your drink within eyesight, make sure that your belongings and travel companions are always accounted for, and have fun without putting yourself at risk.
Consider your health
When travelling in a new country, there is no such thing as being TOO careful. Taking precautions when it comes to drinking the water or trying new food is always recommended. Gastrointestinal infections are all too common and risks can be minimized by drinking bottled water, avoiding some fresh fruit, and making sure that the food is thoroughly cooked. Different areas of the world have different risks when it comes to diseases and illnesses and it may be advisable to get some vaccinations prior to travelling. Also, while a seemingly unnecessary expense, purchasing travel insurance may save thousands of dollars and a lot of hassle in the situation that your first surfing attempt or city cycling tour does not go as well as expected.
Chances are, you have done the research about your summer travel destination — you know where to find the cheapest breakfast, the best coffee, and the most authentic souvenirs. Are you also aware of the cultural norms and appropriate clothing for the region? While short shorts and a crop top may be totally normal in the 90℉ heat of many Western countries, wearing that same outfit in a different country may be extremely inappropriate and could result in harassment or other unwanted actions. Additionally, by wearing traditional garb, you will blend in more and are less likely to be targeted as a vulnerable tourist.
Simply by doing adequate research on your travel destination and using common sense, you can save a lot of time and money by avoiding potential safety risks. Your summer holiday should be something that you remember forever — and not because of all of the items that were stolen or the scary situation that you and your travel companions ended up in. Consider these tips as you embark on your next international journey — hopefully they will not be necessary, but, as they say — it is better to be safe than sorry.