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Safety Tips For Personal Safety While Traveling

Despite what the media may tell you, the world isn’t actually dangerous or unsafe. Forget what you saw in the movies, the truth is that you’re generally safe when traveling overseas. And in fact, the most serious obstacle to personal safety abroad is an attitude of complacency or fatalism. “It can’t happen to me” and “if it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen” – this is dangerous thinking.

Because really all it takes to stay safe abroad is common sense. Of course individual destinations will have country specific tips, so when researching for your next trip, and putting together a list of travel hacks for making your life easier on the road, be sure to also look into recommendations for safety precautions to ensure your personal safety while abroad.

Though in general, apply the following rules and you’ll be fine. These are our top safety tips for trouble free travel.

Keeping Track of Your Belongings

There are the basic and generic tips of keeping your arm and hand on your handbag at all times and never losing sight of your belongings.

When, for instance, do you ever think twice about leaving your bag on the beach? Or at your feet during a lunch with views of the Eiffel Tower?

Leaving your bag unattended, even if it’s just at your feet over a casual lunch, is making a pickpocket’s job easy. If it’s loose, it’s a target for theft.

Blend In

Don’t wear flashy jewellery or clothes than may attract extra attention. In most places where security is a concern you are also likely to stick out regardless, but it is better if you don’t appear like a millionaire.

Be extra careful in crowds and, if possible, avoid finding yourself in the middle of a demonstration or a large group of people where it is impossible to watch all of your belongings.

Don’t give to beggars

In general, it’s a very bad idea when traveling to give money to people on the street.

Leaving aside the fact that you have to pull out your wallet in public, this is encouraging begging, and once you give to one, you’ll be followed and harassed by others the entire way home.

If you want to do good while traveling you should look into volunteer work in the destination or donate some money to a local charity.

Don’t give to beggars. Photo CC Pedro Ribeiro Simões

Trust People, But Trust Your Gut More

Trust people but be vigilant – although not all the generous acts expect something in return, if you are in a tourist-friendly place, it is sad but safe to assume that acts of kindness have been polluted by the direct connection between tourists and dollar signs.

Ask how much before you embark on anything to avoid unwanted arguments.

Dress Conservatively

As a woman often traveling solo to the least visited places I always make sure to dress conservatively. I wear long sleeves, three-quarter length pants, long tunic-style tops and usually have my hair tied back to avoid the colour of my hair sticking out excessively.

I also avoid eye-contact with men and, if approached or talked to, I try to appear secure and strong.

Find a Local Contact on the Ground

If you are going to a country where safety is questionable, contact a local to understand the reality on the ground. Nowadays, it is extremely easy to reach out to someone who lives in the country you are trying to visit. There are travel bloggers, travel forums, friends of friends and social media.

Having someone on the ground who can be your point of contact can make the difference between a mediocre, outside-in visit and a meaningful one. When I visited Lahore, as a solo female traveller, almost everyone thought I had lost my mind. I knew I had not. I was put in touch with a local Pakistani who, not only took care of me for the duration of my trip, but also provided access to places I would not have got permits to visit and introduced me to the real way of life in Pakistan.

Moreover, if safety became an issue or I had any health emergency, they would have taken care of me. This is the best piece of advice I can give anyone: particularly in places that don’t receive many tourists, which tend to be those with safety concerns, having a local point of contact is the best precaution you can take and the best way to visit a place.

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Mar is an ultra-frequent traveller. She has lived in six countries, travelled to almost ninety and is constantly on the look out for the next adventure.

Her travels are out of the ordinary. Be it because they take her to places nobody goes to or because they involve the finest things in life. You can find her equally lost in a head-turning destination like Djibouti or Sudan or in an island luxury resort in French Polynesia, the Maldives or Mozambique.

Read about it all on, or follow her on FacebookTwitter or Instagram.

Photos of women by DVIDSHUB and Department of Foreign Affairs.

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