Travelling can be scary. Especially when you go far away to a place where you don’t know the culture or language. It can seem daunting and your mom is likely worried. People might be trying to give you well-meaning advice about how dangerous it could be. You’re slowly starting to feel like you may have made a mistake booking that plane ticket to Asia, Africa, South-America, etc.
But it isn’t. Travel isn’t dangerous, it isn’t scary. As long as you keep your wits about you, there is only adventure. So calm your nerves (and your moms) by following these tips to stay safe while you travel*:
*This is by no means a guarantee and unfortunately, bad things can happen. But these are some steps you can take to limit the risk.
1. Be smart
Staying safe while you travel is a lot like staying safe in your normal life. Most of it comes down to one thing: don’t be an idiot. Don’t walk home alone at night, don’t be naive and don’t leave your drink unattended. But sometimes being smart is very travel-specific: you don’t want to arrive in a foreign country, or a new city in the middle of the night with no idea where you are going. So plan your flights/trains/buses accordingly.
2. Be prepared
Look up where you are going and how to get there. Make sure you have packed your essentials and charged your phone. It is much easier to go with the flow and handle unexpected situations when you know you have a way to contact people or a little spare cash on hand. And it can never hurt to read up on local customs and culture as well as ask fellow travellers for advice.
3. Trust your gut
If it feels wrong, it is wrong. Nervous jitters are normal, but if anything is making you feel uncomfortable or seems off, just walk away. People are surprisingly good at assessing danger, so trust those instincts.
4. Don’t flaunt your wealth
While most people you’ll meet are nice, welcoming and well-intentioned, there are always those few bad apples. Don’t invite danger by flashing that new iPhone or expensive camera, especially in poorer areas. Pickpockets are annoying, but getting mugged can actually turn quite dangerous.
5. Don’t take unnecessary risk
You’re more likely to take risks while you’re travelling or on vacation, and you should. Travel is all about having new experiences and adventures, but again: don’t be an idiot. Assess your own capabilities and the safety measures present. Don’t ride a scooter without a helmet, just because the locals are doing it. Don’t jump off a cliff without testing how deep the water is. Don’t go rock climbing without the proper equipment. And make sure you do high-risk activities only with accredited organisers and guides. Safety first!