Staying Safe Abroad

Author: Manny OG

No matter where you are in the world, there’s always danger looming around the corner, if you’re local it’s easy to get around but if you’re a traveler and a tourist, things are not easy. However, gaining understanding about the nature of risk in general, specific threats at your destination, and what you can do to minimize both general and specific risks can go a long way towards a safe trip. So, if you are a traveler or planing to make your first trip, here’s a few tips to guide you.
1. Carry What is Necessary


This is basic common sense but most people still choose to go over the top in their luggage, when they’re most likely gonna be returning with more stuff than they traveled with. Light luggage and baggage make for easy movement during border checks and especially in emergencies and getting a simple on-the-go bag. Any 17″ laptop sized backpack can work, you can have just what is necessary for your travels like a laptop, tablet, easy-wear clothing, toiletries, etc. Always put stuff back where you got them out from the bag, don’t leave anything outside the bag beacause, like I mentioned, you’ll never know when there’ll be an emergency situation and you just have to up and leave. However, baggage size and weight most times depend on the reasons for travel.

2. Let Family Know Details of Your Trip


This is an essential tip I learned from my mother, she’s been a business traveler almost all her life. She always had me memorize her ticket number, air carrier, departure and arrival times, address phone number and room number of the hotels she stays and even the contacts of the business associates she dealing with while there. When I became a family man myself, I introduced the same thing and it has helped a lot. Using this tip, your family would know who to contact when they sense anything is wrong. However, if you are traveling on discrete situations you’re best off not telling anyone, as it may hinder your movement.

3. Study the Terrain
This is something you might feel there’s no time to do, trust me it is worth it. Before or when you get to your destination, use a map look at your location, notice the highways and the small streets, take note of exits, entries, junctions and interceptions. Know where there’s high pedestrian movement against vehicle traffic and vice versa. Make sure your accommodation is not far from the emergency services like hospitals, police station and fire service. If you got an appointment to be somewhere, try and locate the place a day before, this makes it easier for you to get there on the set date.

4. Buy Safe


To buy anything, you’ll need money, which may make you a target for theft. To reduce your risks:
As much as possible, try to avoid looking like someone that a thief would target (remember, think like a criminal). To that end, don’t flash wads of cash, or wear or carry expensive jewelry or valuables (keep those in the hotel safe).
Follow local advice as to safe areas.
Have copies of the information/photo page of your passport. Leave your passport in the hotel safe if that is available and permitted.
Have an additional credit card and some cash separate from your wallet. Split everything up in such a way that if one wallet gets stolen you can still enjoy the trip.
Be aware of common scams. These are designed to get your money or business from you under false pretenses. They fall into three categories: overcharging you, deceiving you or coercing you into paying for a service you don’t want, and outright theft.
Take steps to protect yourself against pickpockets, which are a hazard in many tourist destinations.

5. Eat Safe


Find out about the water quality, and if there is doubt either use bottled water (ensuring the seal hasn’t been broken) or boil water vigorously for 2 minutes before using. Also, make sure to avoid ice cubes in drinks. Check in advance, and don’t rely on local advice.
Use your best judgment about restaurants. If the place looks dodgy, eat somewhere else.
Make sure food is fully cooked, unless you’re the type that like medium rare kind of meals.
Avoid dairy products, unless you know they have been pasteurized.
Wash your hands with soap and water before eating. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand gel (with at least 60% alcohol).
Don’t eat plants or fungi that you find in the wild. Some poisonous species in some parts of the world closely resemble edible species in other parts of the world. There is also a risk they have been sprayed with pesticide or herbicide that can make you sick.

6. Drink Safe


If you like partying and drinking, taking part in a city’s nightlife can be the highlight of a trip; however, nighttime is when the shady people of the city come out, so extra vigilance is necessary. If the nightlife isn’t your thing back home, don’t feel obligated to go out when traveling; the safest place to be at night is in your hotel room. If you do decide to go out, here are some tips:
Try to avoid walking the streets alone after dark, or minimally stay in well-lit areas.
Dress down, and don’t flaunt your wealth.
Try not to get too drunk. The risk of being a victim of violent crime and sexual assault increases if you are intoxicated.
Avoid accepting drinks, meals or gifts purchased for you. It can create an expectation in the giver, and can also expose you to drink spiking etc.
Avoid going back to a stranger’s house, hotel, or any other location. If you wish to socialize in this way, ensure you have a familiar, public, and safe location that you can nominate.
Avoid purchasing illegal drugs. The transaction is often a pretext for robbery, scams or worse.

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