For most of us travelling means living the dream – nothing to think about but adventures, culture and new and interesting sights, people, tastes, smells and sounds. However, the world, no matter how beautiful, is sometimes very cruel and dangerous. Thatâ€™s why your number one concern should be your safety.
Take Care of Your Health
Nothing is more important than your health. Before you book anything, research travel health tips and medical requirements for a specific destination. Consult your doctor about what shots you might need, and check out the safety conditions of the place you are visiting, like whether or not they have drinking water, what are their crime rates like, or cultural aversion they might have towards you and your people. Additionally, getting travel insurance is another thing to consider, to ensure you have access to medical care.
Look Out for Opportunists
The travel industry is a greedy one, looking to exploit your desire to travel. When signing up for a package deal, or booking tickets and accommodations always read the fine print. Some travel agencies put in additional travel fees, dictate their own exchange rates, or charge extra for something you donâ€™t even want. When booking something always check the reviews, or use services like TravelPay that are known to be interest-free. If you can, follow the advice of your friends, or the people you know who have traveled to that particular destination.
Keep Your Passport Close
Always know where your passport is, and always keep it in a safe place. Together with cash, it is the most valuable piece of paper you have on you. Before you leave, make sure you know what to do in case you lose your passport. If you think you might lose it during a sightseeing tour or excursion, leave it at the hotel reception, rather than in your hotel room. Alternatively, if you choose to carry it with you, make sure to place it in your front pocket, preferably one with a zipper, and leave a copy in your room.
Be Mindful of How You Dress
Different cultures have different customs and views when it comes to clothing. To avoid offending anyone and awkward situations always dress comfortably and conservatively. This doesnâ€™t mean you should wear a sweater at the beach, but you also shouldnâ€™t wear short shorts when visiting some place for the first time, especially if itâ€™s a highly religious nation or patriarchal society.
Be Careful When Meeting Someone New
Often, the allure of travel comes from the prospect of meeting new people. Even though most of the people we meet are either friendly locals, or someone who is on the same â€missionâ€ as you are â€“ i.e. to have a good time, this is not always the case. To avoid any potentially hazardous situation, keep a distance during the introduction phase. Donâ€™t give out detailed information about yourself unless you are sure you can trust that person. Alternatively, if a person gives off a terrible vibe and you have your doubts about them, be creative and develop a story about how you are visiting your uncle who is a policeman. It just might scare them enough to leave you alone.
Donâ€™t Forget to Call Home
Above all else, at least one person back home should be aware of your whereabouts on a daily basis. Be it a parent, partner, sibling or friend, they will know that you are safe, once you give them the green light. Also, make a list of important local phone numbers, like the local emergency hotline, or your countryâ€™s embassy, and inform the hotel about your emergency contact back home.
Whatever you might encounter during your travels, never be afraid to travel and explore. Taking the time to think just a little bit about your own safety is much better than avoiding traveling all together, just because some people choose to be bad. Stay smart and stay safe while traveling, and you will surely have a good time.