When you start to travel to other countries you will fall into one of these two categories: You will become extremely trusting of everyone, you will believe that all are 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, neither. Not everyone wants to be your friend but not everyone wants to hurt you. It will always be a mid-point, with a very pronounced inclination towards people’s kindness.
So it’s important to always keep in mind a couple of safety tips when traveling to Europe, Asia, Africa or anywhere in the world
Here are 10 safety tips for traveling abroad:
Most of these travel safety tips may seem obvious or common sense to you, but they say common sense is the least common of the senses so it doesn’t hurt to remember them.
Travel Safety Tip #1 – Always look around.
Whether the Taj Mahal, the Eiffel Tower, Machu Pichu, Angkor Wat or any other monument is before your eyes if there is a crowd watching the same thing don’t forget to look around from time to time.
Many people take advantage of these small moments of tourist perplexity to make their own so don’t let that happen to you. You don’t 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 environment, so as your first security advice to travel abroad is to develop the habit of looking at your surroundings.
Travel Safety Tip #2 – Don’t act or look like a victim.
Continuing this same study, people select their victims because of certain traits, including why they walk or act like victims.
I am a certified Krav Maga trainer and in every course I give I always repeat the same thing, when you walk on the street do not act like victims even though you are dying of fear.
If you appear to be a person who is at least going to resist an attack, chances are they won’t attack you. If I’m a thief, why choose someone who’s going to fight if I can choose someone easier to assault? Which brings me to point 3.
Travel Safety Tip #3 – Let it go.
If you were one of the unfortunate ones who despite following steps 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 won’t look for trouble and retire once he gets things, so it’s better to act calmly and give in.
Even if I have self-defense training, if you see me in an assault situation, I’m going to give up my things calmly. I don’t want any kind of fight, it’s not worth it.
Also, if you took out the same travel insurance I use, you’ll be covered in these cases, so what are you worried about?
Travel Safety Tip #4 – Set Your Money Apart
I have a specialized article on how to save money when I travel, and this is a travel safety tip you should not forget: never put all your eggs in one basket.
If any eventuality happens, like a robbery, you can be sure that you haven’t lost anything and you can still continue traveling.
When I was living in Madrid they stole my wallet and although I brought the whole month’s rent 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 won’t have any problems.
Travel Safety Tip #5 – Close your bag or backpack all the time.
When you’re in a foreign country everything you see around you is new and amazing and more than once you’ll want to get the camera out of your bag or backpack as fast as you can to take a picture but chances are at that time you’ll forget to close the bag again.
Most of the lost things of travelers are because they are not careful enough to reseal their bags and does not mean that they have been stolen, just walking is more than enough for some of your things to jump into the street without you noticing.
Make a habit of constantly checking that your bag and backpack are closed and you’ll see that you won’t lose anything again. I’ve seen this behavior, especially in Europe, so as a safety tip for traveling to Europe: Close your backpack.
Travel Safety Tip #6 – Don’t put your wallet in the back
Closing the bag is important, but what about men? The recommendation is simple, load the wallet in the front pockets of the pants so you know where you have it at all times.
Try to generate this habit since you’re at home so you’ll be easier when you’re traveling, over time you’ll realize that it’s not only safer but also more practical.
Travel Security 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, save them in your email, send a copy of that email to your parents or best friend and also save an additional copy on a USB to keep them at hand at all times.
Travel Security Tip #8 – Learn a little about the most common scams where you go.
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, other more elaborate involve Chinese students who want to “practice English” and you end up paying for a set of tea, in another scam they take you on a tour of the city in tuk-tuk and from one moment to the next you are paying for a tailor’s suit made to your specifications.
There is no country, no matter how developed, that does not have some kind of scam, it’s just a matter of being alert and not trusting people who are “excessively friendly” or who “want to practice English” in the middle of the street.
Here you can read more about the most common travel scams.
Travel Safety Tip #9 – Have Travel Insurance
Accidents and illnesses happen anytime, anywhere, there’s 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 worse yet, leave the country.
To be honest many of the activities 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 insurance to back me up.
The clearest example is going up 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 item number 9 on the list but without a doubt, it is the best security tip for traveling, especially if you travel to Europe where medical expenses can be exorbitant. The medical insurance I use and recommend is with World Nomads.
Travel Safety Tip #10 – Don’t forget your vaccinations.
Before leaving on a trip be sure to visit a clinic specializing in traveler’s illnesses to see if you need any vaccinations.
The only compulsory vaccination is the yellow fever vaccine but it is only applied if you travel to a risk area or come from such. Apart from that, the rest are recommendations, personally, I’m of the idea that in a matter of health is not spared and if there is something like a vaccine that eliminates the risk of getting a disease, I get it.
The clinic 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.