Safety is an important factor in picking one’s travel destinations. You don’t want to put yourself at risk when planning and taking your dream holiday. Whether you are a seasoned traveler with many trips and destinations under your belt or a first-time adventurer… safety is always key.
For myself, I don’t always think about if a destination is safe or not. I personally feel with a little common sense you can make a great holiday in even the most “dangerous” cities or countries. In my travels, I have experienced some of my fondest memories in places that the “First World” would label as dangerous.
If you follow my twitter or have read my blog in the past, you will know that I currently live in Bogotá, Colombia. In the past, I have spent time in Culiacan, Mexico and Cairo, Egypt. These three places have made a name for themselves for violence, and/or unrest. I am here however to say that the perception of danger is perpetuated by media and the so-called “First World.”
Here are 5 tips on safety that I can share from my experiences around the world.
Do your research
It doesn’t matter if this is your first trip or your 100th… read up on your destination. Use materials from more than just one outdated guide-book. Use the internet. Read personal experiences from fellow travelers. Meet people from the location you are wanting to go. Become acquainted with the local culture and customs.
Like any place, you should always be aware of your surroundings. As an American, I generally feel safer in a foreign country than I do in the nearest big city in the USA. Keep track of your belongings: Money, Passport, Phone, Laptop, etc. Nothing is worse than losing one or more of these important things… I know this from experience.
Travel smart. Travel light
Before you leave, decide what you absolutely cannot live without for the length of your trip. I prefer to travel as light as possible. I don’t like to be over encumbered with bags and unnecessary things. I like to just wake up and go. Not only is it easier to move with less… it’s also less you need to keep track of. Less likely you will lose something you treasure.
Talk to locals
While you grew up being told to avoid talking to strangers, I find that the best way to learn about a city is by talking to locals. They know the city better than you ever will. They know where to go and where not to go. They can be your safety net. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or directions. Usually people are a lot more willing to help than you would think.
Instead of filling yourself with panic and fear… let go and enjoy yourself. You’re going on the vacation of your dreams. Why waste it fearing the unknown. Embrace it and learn from the vast world around you. There is so much to see and learn that you can’t learn from a guide-book. Take it all in and have fun!