Chances that something will go wrong during your travels are quite small. But the fact remains that you’ll be in a strange country, far away from home, and if something does go wrong you can get stuck in a very nasty position. Here you’ll find a few pointers on travel safety which will help you prevent occasions such as theft and scams, and help you cope with bad events.
Carry your money wisely
Always carry a certain amount of strong currency on you (preferably US Dollars or Euros) in case of an emergency (like running out of money, or robbery). A decent amount would be around 50 USD or 50 EUR, that will provide you with enough money to survive for at least another few days.
Tip: Carry your emergency money in a money belt.
It’s normal to travel with a relatively large amount of cash on you, after all going to the ATM machine every day can become quite an expensive joke. Thieves naturally know about the ‘wealth’ of backpackers, so be safe with your cash, cheques and cards. Spread it out over a few places. Never keep more money in your wallet than you’ll use in a day or two. Keep the rest of your money somewhere separate, and fill your wallet up with it when necessary.
Tip: Attach a small chain to your wallet and secure it to one of your belt loops. This prevents easy pick pocketing.
Never lose sight of your backpack
Your backpack is your most precious possession when you’re on the road, because it has everything you own. Even though theft is not common, it does happen, so be careful. Don’t leave your bag anywhere unattended except in ‘safe places’ like a locker. While travelling (by bus or train for example), keep either body or eye contact with your belongings.
Abide the local laws
It’s better to avoid getting arrested in a foreign country. If you do get into trouble with the police, and if you reckon it’s possible to get him off your back by slipping him some cash , then do so if you please. It can save you a lot of hassle.
Use your senses
Human intuition is usually very correct in judging situations that are possibly a scam or dangerous. Listen to what your feelings tell you and act like it.
Bring phone numbers
Always travel with a list of important phone numbers and keep it in a safe place (for example in your money belt). The most important emergency number is your country’s consulate or embassy of the country you’re in. If things go really bad, they’ll be your most valuable help. They are representatives from your own country and they’re there to advise and assist you in times of need. Another good number to write down is the number of making collect calls from the particular country you’re in. It just might come in handy one day.
Make one or two copies of the important papers you’ve brought with you (passport, proof of insurance). In case your documents get stolen, copies will help you a great deal to take care of things. Naturally, don’t carry those at the same location where your actual documents are.
Tip: Scan in your important documents before you leave, email them as attachments to your own mail account. By doing that, you can always have copies at your disposal. All you have to do is walk into an internet cafe and print them.