“One’s destination is never just a place, but always a new way of seeing things.”
When we travel we are often going to places with different cultural expectations and possible a different language. It is important to stay aware of this and not forget that some things will be done differently at our destination.
Over-planning is no fun, but a little thought can help to avoid an incident that makes your trip memorable for all the wrong reasons.
Some of the things to bear in mind include:
1) Keep your travel plans to yourself: This may seem weird, but your fellow travelers are an unknown quantity. Someone who seems fun on a night of celebration may seem off in the cold light of day. Of course we do encourage keeping your family up to date with your plans, just in case.
2) Be wary of hitchhiking. Thousands have done it and come to no harm, but why become one of the few who is remembered for when it went wrong? When you get into a stranger’s car you are literally putting your life in their hands. If you insist on doing it please don’t travel alone, and try to avoid joining a bigger group in the car… 3 of you and 1 of them is definitely safer than 3 of them and 1 of you… but even when you have numbers if your driver has a weapon you lose.
3) Keep a photocopy of your passport, travel insurance, tickets and all other important documents. You might forget the originals but a back up copy will often suffice and makes life easier at the embassy or consulate if you do have yours stolen, or simply lose it. You may have photos on your phone but that could also go missing so photocopies in your suitcase is the best option.
4) Use ATMs during the day: There is a higher chance, of robbery after dark, and it is statistically safer to withdraw money in the morning hours. Similarly put money away promptly and try to avoid anyone seeing how much you took out. If you can then keep your money close to your body and inside clothing.
5) If you are mugged do not fight back, you might lose some cash, but you are more likely to stay safe.
6) Keep an eye on your suitcase even at the hotel lobby and in the airport, as you never know when it might get stolen. Use a smart tracker to keep it safe after check in, and use a good quality lock to stop baggage handlers having a crafty look through your belongings
7) Book local transport through the hotel and ask for advice about local areas. They will have approved taxi companies and will tell you where not to go. It might cost you a little more but is definitely safer. Don’t accept the taxi touts who hang around at many airports they are often more expensive and maybe uninsured.
Try to fit in with local customs; drinking in a Muslim country is bound to be frowned upon for example, but less obviously so might public displays of affection like a kiss or even holding hands. There have been stories of westerners being jailed for getting over amorous in places like Dubai.
Read a little, online or in your guidebook which will give you the big No No’s and try to be sensitive to local customs. It shouldn’t stop you having fun and creating awesome memories and may make you stand out a little less, which ultimately should keep you safer.
For all our more conscientious readers, please also take a look at our post on responsible travel: –
9 Tips for responsible travel
Don’t forget The Aimviva Travel Club has great security features like smart baggage tags and ID theft protection