Traveling can be a wonderful experience full of opportunities and chance encounters. However it can also be a minefield of thieves, opportunist fraudsters and dangerous situations.
To minimize unpleasant incidents it is good to take a few basic precautions.
Leave your valuables behind. Don’t travel with copious amounts of jewelry, lots of cash or lots of electronic equipment. You can easily be identified as a target by criminals.
Avoid dark and lonely places. Ask locals about no go areas in their country. Take their advice and do not think your status as a tourist gives you any form of immunity, especially in areas controlled by local gangs or mafia.
Be aware of pickpockets. Do not make yourself vulnerable to opportunist theft. Don’t travel with too much luggage. It leaves you no free hands and too many possessions to keep track of. Carry your money and passports in a safe and secure place on your person.
Use official taxis. Avoid people offering you special deals in unlicensed vehicles. Most of the time there will be no problems but your risk of misadventure is increased.
Don’t take unnecessary risks. Heed warning signs indicating danger. In first world countries, warnings are often exaggerated, a product of high litigation and expensive law suits. In third world countries, a warning sign saying ‘Danger -Sheer Drop’, means just that, and you may find yourself teetering on a tiny ledge at the edge of a precipice, your life in the balance if you ignore it.
Be prepared for weather. Beware of the sun. Take precautions to prevent sunburn. Don’t lie in the sun at midday when the sun is at its hottest and wear a hat.
Be prepared for cold weather. You do not want to be stuck outside in a blizzard or snowstorm. If you are hiring a car and driving in mountainous, snowy terrain, be sure that you know how to engage 4 wheel drive and put on snow chains. Get some good advice on how to drive in icy conditions.
If you are hiking take warm gear, water and food. Tell somebody where you are going and when to expect you back.
Safety on holiday is a primarily a matter of common sense. Don’t place yourself in uncomfortable or precarious situations and you should have a wonderful, safe holiday.
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