As a traveling family who has never been abroad, I have created a collection of tips from seasoned travelers.
When you think of travel, your mind probably summons up images of laughter, sun, sand, and joy, as you explore new locales and splash happily in the tropical surf of whatever island paradise your family has found their way to.
You probably don’t think of getting mugged, or worse attacked, but unfortunately, there is always the risk of danger in everything we do in life, and travel is often a time when we’re more vulnerable than we would be at home.
It’s not difficult to see why this would be the case. We’re in a place we might not understand or know our way around, we’re out and about far more than we normally would be, and in a more daring and adventurous mood than we tend to be during our day-to-day lives.
Bearing all of that in mind, here are some tips from experienced travelers of how to stay safe when traveling abroad.
Understand that each country has its own risks
The different countries of the world aren’t all the same. No doubt you already know this, and that’s why you feel like traveling in the first place. To experience new cultures, meet new people, and enjoy the adventure of discovering new elements of the world you hadn’t previously thought of.
But the differences between countries also mean that it’s critically important for you to get some understanding of the idiosyncrasies and risks of the culture you’re going to visit, specifically.
If, for example, you’re going on a vacation to Mexico — it’d really be a very good idea to research safety tips for traveling to Mexico — rather than winging it.
Read up-to-date travel books, browse the web, and talk to natives of the place in question to help you orient yourself before your trip.
Do not make it any more obvious than it needs to be that you’re a tourist
You know the guy, with a fanny pack and a large map and a high powered camera. Haha. But seriously, tourists tend to be targets of unscrupulous criminal elements all over the world. Precisely because they tend not to know what to look out for in order to protect themselves and because they typically carry a good deal of money and other valuables with them.
When you’re a tourist try to avoid looking like a tourist any more than you absolutely must.
Walking around the streets wearing an “I heart [insert city here]” shirt, with a backpack on, a map in one hand, and a bulging wallet in the other sends out all the wrong signals.