The ability to travel freely around the world is a luxury few people have, so it would be a shame not to take advantage of the opportunity. There are so many wonderful sights, cultures and destinations to explore around the world, and with the summer months finally approaching, that travel itch is getting more noticeable. But when you do decide to travel abroad, it’s important to understand there are certain risk and dangers.
In no way is this meant to deter you from travelling, as your trip can be totally pleasant as long as you are prepared. The sad truth is that no matter what country you’re in, thieves see tourists as easy targets. The best thing you can do to prevent becoming a victim yourself is to ensure you’re not an easy target. Here are a few tips to travel safely and help make your trip a happy memory.
Make copies of your passport.
The extra precaution of some of these travel tips may seem to be bordering on the paranoid, but if you ever find yourself in such an unfortunate position, you’ll be happy you took such steps. Before leaving on your trip, make copies of all important documents, especially your passport. Keep at least one copy on your person and separate from your original. Also, email an electronic version to yourself that can be accessed easily. I know, it seems a bit much but these extra securities give you piece of mind.
Don’t stand out.
Fair or not, Westerners have a bad reputation as tourists. They’re seen as loud, obnoxious and totally indifferent to the customs of other countries. Typically these traits are given to American travels (regardless of if they’re true or not), but unless you walk around draped in a Canadian flag, these perceptions could very well be associated to you. The cure? Don’t stand out in a negative way. Don’t be too loud, don’t be stumbling around drunk in public. And don’t act like everyone should cater to you just because you’re on vacation. In short, act like a decent person and you’ll be seen as such.
Don’t trust unlicensed cabs/tours.
It’s true, some of the best sightseeing is done outside the regular tour group setting, but this opens you up to some pretty common scams. Be wary of the unlicensed cabs and tours in certain countries. Such tourist traps can appear to be great deals or attractive offers but they are not what they seem. Stick with the official means and you’ll be safe.
Understand and observe local customs.
Staying safe when travelling abroad isn’t just about avoiding those dishonourable people, it’s about conducting yourself as a responsible guest in another country. Laws and customs in Israel and Thailand are different than those in Canada. It’s your responsibility to know the difference and to assimilate into whatever culture you’re visiting. To ignore these customs is disrespectful and ignorant as a visitor, and dangerous as a travellers.
Learn the language.
We’re not suggesting you immerse yourself in the local language to the point we you’re fluent, but it’s always a good idea to learn a few key phrases that can help you when travelling. What do you think are some words or phrases you should know? “Hospital”, “police”, or “help” are smart choices, and it’s a nice way of being prepared for bad situations.
Be smart, not aggressive.
Hopefully you’ve never found yourself in a situation where you are being robbed through threats or force. Unfortunately, it’s not an unheard of situation for travellers and one that you need to understand how to handle. It’s a situation that can be scary and frustrating but you need to keep those emotions in check. Money, credit cards and personal belongings can be replaced. Don’t fight or show aggression and stay safe.
Trust your instincts.
The best way to stay safe is to use your head. You know what situations are riskier than they are worth so do your best to avoid them. Don’t put yourself in situations that make you uncomfortable. Use your instincts, trust them and make sure your vacation is one you look back fondly on.
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