One of the major disadvantages to travelling is that it can be quite dangerous. Violence, pickpocketing, accidents – these are all the reality, especially in poorer countries which tourists like to visit such as Mexico, Philippines, and, yes, South Africa.
I know you’d rather not think about all of the things that might go wrong on your trip, but we’ve all heard the stories: People losing their luggage, cell phones and wallets getting stolen, car accidents, getting lost, you name it.
So be a smart traveller and put safety first. In effect, your stress levels will be low and you’ll be able to have a lot of un on your trip.
Here are some tips to help you travel safer; tips to help you prevent danger and tips to help you deal with danger and accidents.
1. Travel insurance
Although it may seem expensive and unnecessary, it could be a huge help, especially when travelling for two weeks or more. Travel insurance ensures emergency medical and evacuation assistance and 24/7 support when you need it most.
2. Keep your documents organised
Before you leave for your trip, make copies of your passport, medical card, bank cards and travel itinerary. Give one set of copies to a friend back home and keep another set in a plastic envelope folder you keep with you at all times. In the same folder, add a list of emergency numbers (insurance, family/friend, bank, a local doctor, etc.).
In addition, email any relevant information to yourself through a web-based email account (like Gmail) so that you can get it from any hotel or internet café if needed.
3. Be vigilant
Always be aware of what’s going on around you. Pay attention and show it, by keeping your head up and your eyes looking around. By appearing vigilant at all times, thieves will be a lot less likely to target you.
Moreover, keep an eye on your belongings, especially in busy spots like train stations.
Respect the locals
Be friendly and respectful towards the locals at all times.
Have a chat with the receptionists, waiters, shopkeepers and taxi drivers who you come across. Ask them their names and chat about their lives: their work, family, etc. They might give you tips on being safe, e.g. which areas to avoid.
And who knows? Maybe they’ll even help you in an emergency.
If you’re planning to go out at night, do so safely. Go out with a group so that you can take care of each other – you’ll be less likely to get lost in the foreign town or city. If you happen to lose your group at the end of the night, take a taxi home instead of walking alone.
Furthermore, don’t get so drunk you don’t know what’s going on around you. Don’t take drugs (rather experiment at home if you really want to). Watch your drink at all times to avoid getting roofied.
Remember, your number 1 priority is to get home in one piece. May your next trip be as safe and as memorable as possible.
Can you think of more ways to stay safe while travelling? Simply leave a comment below.