There’s a great big world out there to explore – a world that, according to some, has danger lurking around every corner. Relax. You’re probably not going to get mugged the moment you set foot in Bangkok, or be accosted by gangs on a Mexican beach. The world is not nearly as dangerous as some people think. But it’s true that a bit of bad luck can seriously derail the trip of a lifetime, and travel safety should be your first priority on any trip.[related_articles]2476,5110[/related_articles]
We’ve got you covered. These simple travel safety hacks will help keep you safe, and make sure your journey is exactly as epic as you’ve imagined.
Send this to your mum and reassure her you’ll be fine.
#1 Foil pickpockets and bag snatchers
Petty crime sucks, and it’s one of the easiest ways to get into trouble in a foreign destination. Foreigners are often assumed to have money on them, and your pockets are easy targets for experienced hands. Bags dangling off a shoulder are also easy pickings for those with a fast getaway, like a motorbike.
Keep thieves at bay with a cross-body bag worn across your chest. These bags can’t be easily grabbed off you, and you can rest your arm over the closure as added security against pickpockets. Keep it in front of your body, and choose something with zips, inner pockets or a double-closure to make it trickier for anyone else to get into. You’ll look relaxed – and your phone, wallet and passport will stay by your side.[related_articles]41005[/related_articles]
Also? Don’t get a bum bag or a money belt, especially the under-your-clothes kind. Those just scream “I’m scared” and “I have something worth taking” – and they’re inconvenient to boot. If you don’t look like someone with something worth taking, you won’t be targeted.
#2 Camouflage your electronics
The nicer your gear looks, the more likely a sticky-fingered person might grab it. Items with prominent logos, like Apple phones and laptops, sell well on the “second-hand” market.
Cover your logos with a cute case or cover, and keep electronics out of sight when you’re not using them. Don’t leave your laptop sitting on your bed in a dorm – some lowlifes actually fund their trips by stealing from fellow travellers at hostels. Do bring your phone and lappy – how else are you going to start your career as a world-famous travel blogger or Instagrammer? But be clever about it. Keep them in your bag, at your side.
#3 Get a cable lock
Picture it – the beach of your dreams, crystal-clear waters lapping against golden white sand, a cheerful hut selling coconuts. You can’t wait to get in the water – but what do you do with your stuff?
The answer is simple – get a cable lock, or a little bike lock. Lock your bag and attach it to a tree or something sturdy. Keep an eye on it from the water – a lightweight cable is still vulnerable to bolt cutters – but no one will be able to casually pick up your bag and make off with it.[related_articles]41520,30182[/related_articles]
You can use the same trick on overnight buses or trains. Your belongings are vulnerable while you sleep, so make sure they’re locked, and never leave them on the overhead racks. You can use your cable lock to secure your bag to the seat in front of you, or even your seatbelt. And you’ll never have to wake up with fewer belongings than you went to sleep with.
#4 Pay attention
Ultimately, the best thing you can do to stay safe is to pay attention to the world around you. This is the #1 travel safety tip.
Read up on each destination before you get there, and learn about common scams, annoyances, and any areas that aren’t really safe for tourists. (Many amazing cities and countries have a few no-go-zones, even when the rest is a wonderful experience.)[related_articles]57490,42411[/related_articles]
Try not to attract too much attention. If the locals cover their legs and shoulders even in the heat, do the same. Don’t be flashy with your belongings. The less you stand out, the less you’ll be targeted.
Use your instincts. Pay attention to the people around you. If the taxi driver seems a bit off, tell them you’re texting your friend because you’re running late and they’re getting worried. If a strange man or woman seems overly friendly, just smile and say it was nice to meet them, but you have to go now. At the same time, try to make friends with people like your hotel front desk staff or the lady at the fruit shop on the corner. Good people will give you good advice, and look out for you.
Staying aware of your security is the best travel safety hack there is. Pay attention, and your amazing trip will be the memory of a lifetime – for all the right reasons.
After spending years as a music journalist and beer-taster, Alexis Buxton-Collins now travels the world searching for new adventures to write about, from navigating the Alps with Austria's last nomadic shepherd to hiking through the Central American rainforest in search of ancient Mayan pyramids.