Whether you’re travelling alone or with friends, safety should be your first priority. Travelling mishaps make great stories to tell after the trip, but make sure that you don’t unnecessarily put yourself in danger by following these simple safety guidelines.
When You Arrive
When arriving in a new place, particularly if you’re travelling alone, it’s a good idea to do so in the daylight hours. Whether you’re in the airport or exploring the new city you’ve arrived in, keep an eye on your luggage at all times. Your bag should always be within reach and you should never leave it in the possession of a friendly stranger. Check your body language. You want to give the impression of confidence and purpose, so as to deter thieves and con artists.
It’s advised that you keep your money in a couple of different forms, so take cash, cards and travellers cheques. The idea is that if you run out of one medium, you can access another. Don’t ever flash a large roll of cash when paying for something, as this can attract unwanted attention. Keep only a small amount in your wallet or purse, and avoid becoming a target for thieves. In some countries, it is expected for customers to haggle. Find out if this applies before you leave, otherwise you will end up paying extortionate amounts and you may even insult sellers by failing to engage in this practice. Try not to show off valuables such as jewellery or an expensive camera. A good rule of thumb when packing is to leave out items that you can’t afford to lose.
Be Culturally Respectful
It’s important to bear in mind that you are a guest in someone else’s country when you travel abroad. Learn some key phrases in the language. Not only will they prove useful, but they will demonstrate to locals that you’ve made an effort to understand their language, rather than just pointing at things and talking extra-loudly in English. Do some research on cultural practices before you leave. If the country is predominantly Muslim or has a large Muslim population, you should conform to accepted modes of dress. This may mean covering your head, or eschewing the crop tops and shorts, or refraining from sunbathing topless. When visiting places of worship these codes of modestly are even more important.
Make sure you have the correct travel insurance, to protect you if you fall ill or have an accident. You certainly don’t want to end up with a hefty medical bill, so insurance is the best thing to have. I recommend that you research and compare travel insurance that is available, talk to friends and make an informed decision – it’s better to be safe than sorry!