Traveling, as anything in life, can have some risks involved. We always question ourselves, What if “blank” happens? Well, there’s always a “what if…” on our mind but if we are cautious we can prevent those “what if’s” from happening and have an amazing trip!
It doesn’t matter if you’re traveling alone, with friends, or with fellow travelers you met on your way; there are basic precautions and approaches you should try to keep your trip as safe as possible while still having a good time:
First and foremost, be cautious. We all want to explore everything, but use your common sense. If you see a desolate area that doesn’t seem too safe, stay away from it. Or at least don’t go by yourself. If you have a local host at your destination, have them go with you; they might know how safe or not the area is. Also, try not walking by yourself on dangerous-looking alleys or late at night.
Be as friendly as you can, but don’t be a simple open book. If hanging with fellow travelers you met on the way, no matter how friendly they are, keep in mind that they are virtually strangers. So, be careful what you share with them and how you share it.
You should be alert and pay attention to your surroundings. That includes people too. Always keep an eye on your stuff so you don’t become an easy target to pickpocketers and thieves.
When in Rome, do as the Romans do… I know you’ve heard that one before. Right? Well, the phrase says it all. This helps from attracting the wrong attention or from unknowingly insulting a different culture.
Try being inconspicuous. Of course that big backpack on your back doesn’t help achieve this, right? But, when not carrying your backpack try looking as less touristy as you can. It’s kind of cliché to have that tourist look by wearing the “I love NY” (or whatever destination) t-shirt and by wearing that big flag patch from your country on your bag. You know… dress as you would dress normally back at home and dress appropriately for the place (i.e. sacred places, museums, etc.).
There’s nothing better than being confident while traveling. This is key to any traveler. Be confident or at least fake it. Act like you know where you are even if you don’t. Even though there’s nothing wrong with this, but flapping your map in the middle of a crowded street will definitely attract some attention, specially the scammers’ attention. Doing that just made you an easy target. So, if you need some direction, ask someone (still with confidence) or go inside a store or café and peek your map.
Always be polite. Not only it’s a good manner but also a way to have a good standing among other people. Don’t offend the locals with rude and crass behavior. You don’t have to be goody two-shoes but at least have a common sense of behavior.
So, these are just some “safety and approach” tips that will help you have a fun and amazing trip while being safe and cautious. After all, you are traveling to have fun, right? Thought so… Being cautious is not about restricting yourself, it is about having common sense. Exercise it!