Safety

In both the United States and abroad, dangers exist in this day and age, and travelers should always be mindful of their safety. Here’s a look at some precautions you can follow to minimize the risks associated with travel.

  1. Do some research on the place you are planning to visit. Know whether the crime rate is high or low, and act accordingly. Every country has some places that are shadier than others, and it might be best to avoid those areas. The US Department of State has great information for travelers and is a good starting point, but you should check with other sources as well.
  2. Although terrorist attacks are very infrequent in most of the would and should not deter you from traveling, avoid tourist hot spots in countries with recent terrorist activity as a precaution. Many travelers make the mistake of not voyaging abroad because they are afraid of terrorism. The reality is you are probably just as likely to be a victim of terrorism in the United States as you are abroad.
  3. Do not wear flashy clothes or accessories, as this will make you a target of theft. Keep your wallet or purse in a secure location on your body where it cannot be snatched easily.
  4. Blend in. If you can pass for a local, do it. If you are lost and do not know where you are, avoid showing it.
  5. Make sure someone always knows what you are planning to do next, even if it is just your hostel reception desk attendant or an acquaintance you meet on the road. That way, in the unlikely event you are reported as missing, the authorities will be able to track your whereabouts more quickly.
  6. Do not trust anyone who approaches you first even if they seem nice, especially if you are not in an English speaking country and they speak to you in English. On the other hand, generally you can trust someone if you approach them first and are not in a touristic area.
  7. Avoid traveling alone in extremely remote areas. If something goes wrong, there will be nobody there to help you and you will likely not have cell phone reception.
  8. Check the Center for Disease Control’s website to make sure you have been vaccinated against any diseases you may encounter. Often times, sickness gets overlooked as a risk while traveling.
Crowded Street

A crowded street like this one can create opportunities for pickpockets. Be aware of your surroundings and secure your valuables.

Remember, the best tool you can use to stay safe while traveling is your own common sense and judgement. If you get the feeling that something does not feel right, stick with the safe option. These tips are among the many things you can do to reduce your risk while traveling, and after you have more experience you will figure out what makes sense for you. Safe travels!

-Josh

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