Traveling abroad can be an exciting experience, but it also necessitates heightened safety practices. Unfortunately, not all parts of the world are as safe as you might be accustomed to at home. It’s important to travel with a good head on your shoulders in order to avoid putting yourself in compromising situations abroad. Here are some general things to keep in mind when traveling to a foreign destination:
Research Your Destination
There are plenty of places in the world where the safest thing you can do is to not visit them at all. For instance, certain non-tourist areas of Mexico and Brazil are considered dangerous for travelers due to risks of kidnapping and violence. While it’s not pleasant to think about, there are many places in the world that have been overran by negative elements. It’s best to avoid visiting these areas altogether. Before planning your trip, do some extensive research online to see what other travelers are saying about the area.
When traveling abroad, especially to poorer nations, it is always a wise idea to travel as inconspicuously as possible. Avoid wearing any type of flashy clothing or jewelry. A foreign nation is not the place to be announcing how much money you might have to strangers on the streets. Wear a modest wardrobe, leave valuables at home, and carry only the cash you need for that particular excursion out of the hotel. Leave the rest behind in a safe.
Register Your Travel
If you are a U.S. citizen, you can register your travel with the Department of State. It’s a simple process that basically just acts to “check in” with your government in case troubles arise while you are traveling or if you need to be contacted while away.
Keep Guard Up on Streets
Beware of pick-pocketers and scam artists while out and about in a foreign destination. Pick pocketers will try to distract you by creating some sort of disturbance. Groups of children might work together to distract you while others rob you. Carry only what you need and try to keep your hand on your wallet or purse at all times. Never leave anything of value unattended in a foreign country, even for a moment. Be suspicious of scammers who try to sell you merchandise or a tour at a bargain rate. Never give anyone money for something without seeing the product first. Basically, just be paranoid and assume that most people are trying to scam you and you’ll be in approximately the right frame of mind. In the U.S., we’ve grown accustomed to not having to worry as much about being scammed on a daily basis. You cannot travel abroad with this type of reassured attitude.
Never accept a ride from someone not driving an officially marked taxi. It is also a wise idea to negotiate the price of your ride before getting in the vehicle. Some taxi drivers will take you to your destination and then confront you with an exorbinant bill for the ride. It makes for a very uncomfortable and compromising situation.