People often tell you to follow your instinct. Listen to your “gut” about an emotion or a situation you’re experiencing. That same instinct can help when you’re traveling distant lands, or even when exploring somewhere local.
Safety is an important part of travel, and of our daily lives. We all have our safety net or bubble. We choose who we let in and how comfortable we are in our surroundings. We feel happy with the familiar, but simultaneously excited about the possibility of the new.
Sadly, I’ve heard terrifying stories of others being harassed, cornered or even assaulted while traveling. Luckily, I’ve never experienced any situations during travel that made me too weary of my surroundings. Yesterday, I followed along and participated in a Reality Abroad Twitter Wednesday (#RATW) chat about travel safety. Fellow travelers shared their safety tips and stories. Below is a summary of five tips that we all could agree on:
Top 5 tips for Travel Safety:
- Keeping a close eye on surroundings & your belongings
- Not letting media influence your travel decisions too much, but still keeping up with news & developments
- Handling stressful situations with reason and calmness.
- Checking state department guidelines for dangerous areas.
- Researching a country or region before visiting.
Tip #5 sticks most with me. Learning about a new country – its history, its culture, its people, its traditions – is one of the best parts of travel. I couldn’t imagine traveling somewhere without first researching it. And, safety can certainly be influenced by the overall culture of a place.
Many years ago, I traveled to Egypt with family. Since then, to say the country has seen much unrest and violence would be an understatement. But, would I consider visiting again? Absolutely.
An insatiable curiosity and desire to explore the world wouldn’t stop me from seeing even areas that most would call “danger zones.” Of course, you must keep in mind heightened security risks for certain regions or countries in the world. On the flip side, you’re at risk anywhere. Travel safety encompasses common sense and above all, trusting your instincts. If something doesn’t feel quite right, assess the situation and try to plan your way out.
What situations have you experienced when traveling (or even when commuting to work) that made you feel less safe? How did you handle them? How would you approach travel safety? Has anyone ever been to a particularly “dangerous” area? Did you feel less safe there? What did you do to feel safer?