When you start traveling to other countries you will fall into one of these two categories: You will become extremely confident around the world, you will believe that they are all your friends and are there to help you or quite the opposite, a paranoid believing that all they want is to kidnap you and hurt you.
The truth is that neither. Not everyone wants to be your friends but not everyone wants to hurt you. It will always be a midpoint, with a very pronounced inclination towards the goodness of people.
So it is important to always keep in mind a couple of safety tips for traveling to Europe, Asia, Africa or anywhere in the world.
Here are 20 safety tips for traveling abroad:
Most of these travel safety tips may seem obvious or common sense, but they say that common sense is the least common of the senses so it is worth remembering them.
Travel Safety Tip # 1 - Always look around.
It does not matter that the Taj Mahal, the Eiffel tower, Machu Pichu, Angkor Wat or any other monument is before your eyes, if there is a crowd observing the same thing, do not forget from time to time to look at your surroundings.
Many people take advantage of these small moments of tourist perplexity to make their own, so don't let that happen to you. You do not need to distrust everyone around you, just a little look over your shoulder will suffice.
A security study revealed that a thief will avoid attacking people who are more alert to their surroundings, so as your first safety advice to travel abroad is to develop the habit of looking around.
Travel Safety Council # 2 - Do not act or look like a victim.
Continuing with this same study people select their victims due to certain traits, among them, why they walk or act as victims.
I am a certified coach of Krav Maga and in each course I give I always repeat the same thing, when they walk on the street do not act as victims even if they are dying of fear.
If you appear to be a person who will at least resist resistance to an attack, chances are they won't attack you. If I am a thief, why choose someone who will fight if I can choose someone easier to assault? Which brings me to point 3.
Travel Safety Council # 3 - Let it go.
If you were one of the unfortunates who, despite following step 1 and 2, assaulted you, then let it go.
Nothing is as valuable as your life, so if someone asks for your money, wallet, cell phone, computer, etc., give it to them and don't resist.
Most likely, the thief will not look for problems and withdraw once he gets things, so it is better to act calmly and give in.
Even I who have self-defense training, if I find myself in an assault situation, I will give up my things calmly. I don't want any kind of fight, it's not worth it.
Also, if you purchased the same travel insurance that I use, you will be covered in these cases, so what do you worry about?
Travel Safety Tip # 4 - Separate your money
I have a specialized article on how to save money when I travel , and this is a travel safety advice that you should not forget: never put all your eggs in a basket.
If any eventuality happens, like a robbery, you can be sure that you have not lost anything and you can still continue traveling.
When I was living in Madrid my wallet was stolen and although I brought the rent for the whole month the most annoying thing was having to replace the cards or find a way to withdraw money, so if you follow my advice on how to save money you will not have problems.
Travel Safety Tip # 5 - Close your bag or backpack all the time.
When you are in a foreign country, everything you see around you is new and surprising and more than once you will want to take the camera out of your purse or backpack as fast as you can to take a picture but it is likely that at that time you will be forget to close the bag again.
Most of the lost things of the travelers are due to the fact that they are not careful because they close their bags again and it does not mean that they have been stolen, just walking is more than enough for any of your things to jump into the street Without you noticing.
Create the habit of constantly checking that your bag and backpack are closed and you will see that you will not lose something again. I have seen this behavior especially in Europe, so as a safety advice for traveling to Europe: Close your backpack.
Travel Safety Tip # 6 - Don't put your wallet back
Closing the bag is important, but what about the men? The recommendation is simple, load the wallet in the front pants bags so you will know where you have it at all times.
Try to generate this habit since you are at home so it will be easier for you when you are traveling, you will eventually realize that it is not only safer but also more practical.
Travel Safety Tip # 7 - Scan all your documents.
Passport, birth certificate, national medical expenses insurance and international medical expenses insurance , driver's license, national identification, military service card (if you have one), proof of address, etc.
Scan them, keep them in your email, send a copy of that email to your parents or best friend and also keep an additional copy in a USB to have them at hand at all times.
Travel Safety Council # 8 - Learn a little about the most frequent scams of the place where you are going.
Each region has a scam that characterizes it, in another article I will talk about them but before traveling try to inform you. Most involve children who steal your wallet while you give them a candy or take a picture with them, more elaborate ones involve Chinese students who want to “practice English” and end up paying for a tea set, in another scam they take you on a tour the city in tuk-tuk and from one moment to another you are paying for a tailor-made tailor suit.
There is no country, however developed it may be, that does not have some kind of scam, it is only a matter of being alert and not trusting “excessively friendly” people or “wanting to practice English” in the middle of the street
Here you can read more about the most common scams when traveling.
Travel Safety Council # 9 - Have travel insurance
Accidents and illnesses happen at any time and in any place, there is nothing worse than having to interrupt your trip because you had to pay a hospital bill and you no longer have money to continue or even worse, leave the country.
To be honest, many of the activities that I have done during my trip would not have been possible or I would not have felt safe doing them if I did not have medical expenses insurance to support me.
The clearest example is to climb to Everest Base Camp , in case of any emergency my insurance covered the evacuation by helicopter and this can cost more than $ 3,000 USD.
This will be point number 9 on the list but without a doubt it is the best tip for travel safety, especially if you travel to Europe where medical expenses can be exorbitant. The medical expense insurance I use and recommend is with World Nomads.
Travel Safety Council # 10 - Don't forget vaccines.
Before leaving on the trip, be sure to visit a clinic specializing in traveler diseases to see if you need any vaccine.
The only mandatory vaccine is that of yellow fever but only applies if you travel to a risk zone or come from it. Apart from that, the rest are recommendations, personally I am among those of the idea that in a matter of health it is not spared and if there is something like a vaccine that eliminates the risk of contracting a disease, I put it on.
The clinic that I visited in Mexico was the Traveler's Clinic in Terminal 2 of the Mexico City Airport, you can contact them to tell you which is the closest traveler's clinic to your home.
Travel Safety Council # 11 - Avoid drugs.
I am not against them, but in some countries the use of drugs can have very serious consequences such as the death penalty.
They do not need to be “strong” drugs, some countries even alcohol is prohibited, so be very careful and better inform yourself before going to that country.
Travel Safety Council # 12 - Do not show affection in public.
Latinos are recognized for being very affectionate, we have no problem kissing, hugging or walking hand in hand with our partner or "friend with rights." In other countries this is very frowned upon and can even lead to fines.
If you are traveling through Asia, the Middle East and some regions of Africa, try to limit your affection, however simple, to the privacy of your hotel.
Travel Safety Council # 13 - Do not separate from your belongings, if you carry two backpacks that are always attached to you and put a lock on all locks
Your suitcases and backpacks will become an extension of you, never separate from them, unless absolutely necessary.
If you travel by train with bunk beds, try to keep your backpack in the same bed where you sleep. I have heard stories of travelers throughout Asia from some people who sneak through the train cars during the night to get what they find from the backpacks.
Place small locks on all backpacks closures, if someone wants to steal you will find a way to do it but at least do not make it easy.
Travel Safety Council # 14 - Do not give money, candy or gifts to anyone on the street. Much less children.
There are 2 points why you shouldn't do it.
Regarding security, sometimes when you take out your wallet to make a donation, all you are doing is showing the place where you keep it, so it is likely that another person is ready to take it out later. This is common in Europe where pickpockets (pocket thieves) are the order of the day, so always consider this safety advice for traveling to Europe.
On the other hand, there are countries where poverty will break your heart but it is precisely these countries where you do more damage if you give a little money, a candy or even a pen to children.
In doing so you are promoting poverty and keep the person asking. Children especially, seeing that with extending their hands to a tourist they get something will make them prefer to be in the street asking for money instead of studying. Over time they will grow up seeing foreigners only as a means to get money.
As hard and radical as this sounds, it is a reality. Please avoid giving things to street children.
If you want to help then you better donate or volunteer in a civil association that addresses the problem at the root.
In my case, when I was in India, instead of giving things to the children, I went with a civil association in Varanasi to make a donation of notebooks that I bought and some pens that some friends gave me to leave them there.
Travel Security Tip # 15 - Avoid using your credit card or putting your passwords in a cyber café or with public WiFi. If necessary, use a VPN better.
Many cyber cafes have programs that save what you type on the keyboard so putting a password can be risky. If it is ABSOLUTELY necessary to access a personal account from one of these places, be sure to change the password as soon as possible.
But this is not all, in some public places where they give you free Wi-Fi there are people who can read the data you are sending and receiving, including your bank account information when you buy something online or access your electronic banking .
The safest way to avoid this is to use a VPN, but I will discuss this in another article since it is a bit technical, for the moment my recommendation is: avoid putting passwords in cyber cafes and accessing or making purchases using Wi-Fi networks Free or open.
Travel Safety Council # 16 - Avoid feeding wild animals.
Similar to point 14, in doing so the only thing you are contributing is by accustoming animals to receiving food from humans, which alters, not only their behavioral patterns and makes them more aggressive, but on a larger scale you alter everything the ecosystem.
Animals are largely responsible for maintaining the ecosystem's balance by feeding on certain plants, animals or other insects that could be pests. If you use a species to consume what tourists give it and not what it should cause a very strong ecological impact.
Not forgetting that you also encourage animals to become aggressive towards future tourists who decide not to feed them, so you better not enter this vicious circle.
Travel Safety Council # 17 - Don't give in to social pressure.
“If your friends jump off a bridge, will you do it too?” Our moms would say, because here it is the same. It doesn't matter if you're the spoiler or the boring traveler, if your instincts tell you that it's not good or it's risky then don't do it.
It does not mean that you become an antisocial that avoids people or does not want to party, just listen to your instinct when you owe. Many of the most dangerous activities I have done have been to get carried away by collective thinking. (Who in his right mind learns to ride a motorcycle in India? It only occurs to me)
Travel Safety Council # 18 - Don't look at the cell phone when you walk down the street.
If you find yourself lost or have to answer a message, stop and go somewhere to do it. Being with the attention to the cell phone in an unknown place causes you to lose concentration which makes you vulnerable to accidents or assaults.
Did you know that in Ho Chi Minh or other cities in Asia 2 subjects ride a motorcycle on the street, while one drives the other takes your bag and cuts the handles to remove your bag or backpack more easily? If you are seeing your cell phone, you are its potential victim No. 1 and at risk that it will cut you in addition to your backpack.
Travel Safety Tip # 19 - Keep your hotel door locked with insurance all the time.
Not necessarily by assault but on more than one occasion the odd drunk has tried to enter at 4 in the morning while he was asleep. To avoid these situations, always close with insurance.
Travel Safety Council # 20 - The problem is the shell or the ice
I traveled 3 months in India and the reason why I never got sick from my stomach is why I don't eat fruit.
The main problem in countries where they do not have a supply of drinking water is not found in food, because it is cooked at high temperature killing bacteria and microorganisms.
The problem is in the fruit or vegetables that wash with this water and then do not cook. Most foreigners, especially Europeans, marvel at Asia and South America for the variety of fruits available and the cheapness of them, but they are the first to be victims of Moctezuma's revenge.
If you want to eat fruits, try to buy thick skin like oranges or if they are washed from a reliable source of water. Otherwise, wash them.
An exaggerated recommendation they give is that you brush your teeth with bottled water, the truth is that I never did it and personally it seems ridiculous.
General travel safety recommendation
After several years of travel and various countries visited these have undoubtedly been the travel safety tips that have served me in many situations, how the time is nothing of the other world but sometimes we forget even the most obvious.
The world is a perfectly safe place, goodness in human beings is an inherent characteristic and not everyone will try to harm you, so go out and discover the world on your own but don't forget to pay attention to your common sense.
As additional advice, once I was asked if it was necessary to have some kind of training in self defense, first aid, fire, etc., to travel, my answer is that it is not mandatory but this type of training will be useful at any time in your life.
Also you must know the code of the city you are traveling to as Country Code is different all over the world and its not easy to remember them all, so always rechek them.
Do not postpone a trip because you do not have this knowledge, right now when leaving your home you could go through an emergency where any kind of knowledge could make a big difference, so it is better to be prepared for any eventuality and not only on trips.