When it comes to traveling, safety is a major concern. With these tips to stay safe when traveling, which can be used all over the world, we’d like to give you some practical advice for future travels.
In general, there are no “good” or “bad” countries because crime occurs everywhere; however, a few basic precautions will increase your safety and make your trip more enjoyable.
1) Get to know the language.
If you want to spend more time in a particular area, learning the language is highly recommended – not only will it enrich your travel experience, but it will also help you when you encounter difficulties.
When it comes to South America, there aren’t as many English speakers as there are in other parts of the country, so you’ll always get lost in translation if you don’t understand Spanish.
2) Know where you’re going before you go.
In large cities, you should be aware of which places are safe for visitors and which are unsafe. If you’re planning to travel to Africa, Asia, or South America – in urban areas, the rich and poor coexist, so you should research which areas are safe to stay in before booking your accommodations.
If you’re staying at a hotel, hostel, or apartment, speak with the front desk because they know the city better than you do and will give you advice about where to go.
3) Get travel insurance
If planning to travel abroad for an extended period of time, we strongly advise getting travel insurance to ensure emergency medical and evacuation assistance, as well as 24-hour help when you need it most.
4) Keep a close eye on your possessions.
You should always keep an eye on all your belongings, particularly when in transfer mode (= moving from one location to another with all your luggage). If you’re traveling with a backpack, you can use a rain-cover to protect yourself from pickpocketing.
Large stations, airports, and other congested areas are favorite places for pickpocketers, so you should never leave your luggage unattended.
5) Bank withdrawals are the only option.
Skimming is a popular occurrence all over the world, in which ATMs are tampered with and the data on your card is copied without your knowledge.
Since ATMs are most often skimmed during off-peak hours and in public areas such as shopping malls, you can withdraw money only inside banks.
6) Choose a reliable travel card
In an emergency, you should have a card from a provider/bank that provides 24-hour service and has some kind of safety feature. If you plan to get a credit card, read the safety section or ask your bank about it.
7) Don’t flaunt your valuables.
In some areas, carrying a 1000€ DSLR around your neck might be a problem – particularly when you consider that the camera’s value could be three times the local monthly income.
As a result, you can keep your valuables, such as costly technological devices, in a daypack and only use it when necessary.
8) Know the phone number to call to get your cards blocked.
If you are mugged or notice a misuse of your card, contact your credit card company right away to get your card blocked. This particular phone number is usually printed on the back of your card; make a separate note of it.
9) Keep your passport and credit cards close to you.
You can hide your most valuable possessions under your clothes with a money belt, which is not obvious to anyone and almost impossible to reach for pickpockets.
10) Pay out of your wallet.
After reading the previous tip, it may seem strange, but when paying in stores, on the street, or at markets, you should always use a regular wallet and bring only the money you need for the day.
If you are mugged, you will still have something to give to muggers.
11) Be wary of con artists
There are several different forms of scams all over the world, so you should familiarize yourself with the most common scams in your destination so you can avoid being pick-pocketed.
The mustard scam is very common: your shirt/jacket gets sprayed with mustard, and then some helpful guys appear and offer to clean it for you – while cleaning your shirt, they steal your valuables.
12) Bring just what you need for the day.
If you are not in transfer mode, you can keep your credit cards and passport in the safe/locker in your hotel/hostel. Just cash and a copy of your passport are needed for sightseeing, day tours, or a day at the beach.
13) A copy of your passport as well as your login details
Since losing your passport can get you into trouble, you should only bring it with you if you really need it (transfer mode / crossing borders) – in most cases, you only need a copy of your passport (Hostel, Tour operators…).
In addition, you should write down all of you login information for Email, Facebook, and other sites – this comes in handy if you forget your passwords or your laptop is stolen.
14) Pack light.
The less you bring, the less likely you are to get lost. If you travel often through congested areas, having just a small bag/backpack to manage and your hands free is a huge benefit – it’s much easier to keep track of your belongings on trains and buses.
15) Don’t try to be the hero.
If you find yourself in a situation where you have been mugged, behave responsibly and follow the directions. In such cases, resistance always leads to more aggression – it’s much easier to hand over your camera than your life.
16) Go out with a group, including the ride home.
When it gets dark, several areas become more dangerous. It’s always a good idea to go out as a party and look after each other if you want to have a good time.
17) Avoid getting blackout drunk.
When visiting a foreign country, excessive drinking can cause problems. Take it easy and don’t overindulge in alcohol; otherwise, you can become a convenient target for criminals.
18) Be careful with your drink
If you’re out drinking, keep an eye on your drink or keep it close to you – people have been known to put drugs or “roofies” in other people’s drinks.
19) After clubbing, take a cab.
Often plans fall through and your party abandons you at the bar. To return to your Hotel/Hostel/Apartment, you should take the safe route and take a radio taxi (see the following).
20) Radio taxis that have been registered
Let’s look at South America: there are a number of unregistered taxis in certain countries, which are difficult to spot because they still have a “Taxi” tag. These private taxis are more often involved in muggings, so it’s best to avoid them.
Using so-called licensed radio taxis is the safest choice. You can call them or have them call them for you at your hotel, restaurant, bar, or club – they might be a little more expensive, but they are much better.
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