Never let fear get in the way of your vacation or extended travel dreams.
Use the following 15 tips to get the most out of your travel experience while still staying safe.
1. Blend in with the locals:
Of course, this isn’t terribly difficult until someone talks to you and realizes you have an accent. Jocelyn hit it right on the head about buying local clothing.
2. Dress modestly:
This is tougher for some girls than others. Regardless of how tempted you are to show off your cleavage and curves, this is exactly what men want to see. The bad guys might follow you until you’re vulnerable, and well, we all know what can happen.
3. Walk with a local shopping bag:
This is such an awesome tip, in fact one that I don’t believe I’ve ever heard before. Jocelyn hit the nail on the head with this tip — pure gold!
4. Leave the flash at home:
A good friend of mine nearly got killed in Curitiba because he was wearing a classic Rolex his grandpa had given him. He’s 6’4 and 220 pounds. If the muggers aren’t afraid of him, they won’t be afraid of you. Lack of money and/or greed exists everywhere you travel.
5. Use a bag that zips up:
If you’ve never had someone rob you in plain site, it’s hard to fathom how easily an experienced pickpocket can grab things out of your bag.
6. Walk with confidence, awareness and hot coffee:
Fear attracts predators. Hot coffee? She had sort of a tongue-in-cheek look on her face while saying this, but it’s certainly true. Treat this tip as if you were holding a gun and deciding whether to pull the trigger though — you might be scaring away a billionaire playboy who wants to ask you to fly off to Venice with him!
7. Watch your surroundings:
Always be looking around, instead of walking with your head down. Watch the shadows, avoid wearing hoodies which can block your peripheral vision.
8. Take a self defense class:
This isn’t necessarily a bad tip, but truly being aware and blending in are far more effective. Still, when you’re in an inescapable bad situation, you have to know how to defend yourself. I’d take this a step further and make sure you have some insurances like one of these (not aff link).
9. Have a safety question to ask people you find threatening:
This could be effective in some hairy situations, but if someone has their mind set on robbing or assaulting you, I’m not sure how much this tip will help.
10. Plan ahead for the sites you want to go, so you can ask locals if it’s safe:
It’s so easy to get comfortable and just let the wind take you where ever. However, ask in advance if safety isn’t completely assured. Is the Vatican City a safe place to take a day trip? Of course. Should you go out walking around Nottingham, UK after dark? I wouldn’t recommend it!
11. Let people know where you’re going:
This goes without saying. International texting/bbm’ing makes this so much easier than it would have been a few years back.
12. Know the local language for “help” as well as the local emergency numbers:
Google, as always is your friend, unless you’re trying to identify a health problem.
13. Don’t take your eyes off your drinks and/or food:
You won’t know you’ve been roofied until it’s too late.
14. Don’t ride with strangers:
Hitchhike at your own risk and peril. Nuff said.
15. Know the local customs and use common sense:
This goes along with knowing your surroundings and not doing things (like crossing the street without looking, or walking down a dark alley) that you know can lead to injury or death.
*If you’re a lady who has solo travel experience, don’t hesitate to leave your own general and country-specific tips for female travel safety in the comments.
Main image by Kat N.L.M.