Advice and precautions to avoid trouble while traveling abroad.
Every traveler and vacationer hopes for a safe and easy stay. As reality would have it though, foreign visitors are targets for a variety of mishaps, scams and nuisances. Each country has its own list of advisories due to natural disaster or political/ social unrest, but there are a great number of tips to follow when traveling abroad regardless of location. A lick of common sense and a check through the following pieces of advice can ensure a safe journey for every traveler, hitchhiker and vagabond.
- Take the time to learn about the country's laws and social norms. The sort of lifestyle that you are accustomed to may be taboo or even illegal in one or more of your destination countries.
- Research the current travel advisories for each nation, which can be found on their embassy's website. Political or social unrest may make it unsafe for you to travel there period.
- Learn about the roads, routes, and different ways to get around in the country. It is no fun and in fact somewhat unsafe if you find yourself stranded and have no knowledge of how to move forward.
- Have all your necessary legal documents ready, including your passport, tourist visa or working visa. Not having these on you in a country that is highly strict on these requirements can land you in some trouble with the law.
Traveling Between Destinations
- Travel light. A common problem for those using public transportation and/ or walking is having to carry too much. Hauling a giant suitcase makes you stick and you will most likely bring additional items home anyway, so make room.
- Do Not get into any unmarked taxis. This is the perfect way for you be kidnapped.
- Be sure you have enough cash on you in case you need to get on another train or need to purchase food and there is no ATM or bank in sight.
- Beware of pickpocketers. Strangers or children may approach you in a group in an attempt to distract you while another steals your purse or wallet.
- If you can, wear a strap around your chest that is attached to your bag. This makes it more difficult for someone to run up and slip it off your shoulder.
- Have a phrase book in the country's language on you to better enable communication should you need directions, to order food, etc.
- Have the local emergency phone number on hand.
- If someone you cross paths with seems suspicious, follow your instincts and take all actions you can to avoid them.
Relaxing at Your Destination
- If staying in a hotel, keep you door locked at all times.
- If you are staying in a hostel in which your are sharing a room with multiple strangers, ask the person at the front desk if you can rent a locker so that you can lock your valuables.
- Do not leave any valuable items in plain sight in your room. It is only asking for them to not be there when you return.
- If you find yourself in a country where political conflict breaks out, avoid all protests and public demonstrations. Foreigners tend to be the first targets in these sort of circumstances.
- If walking around a city, do your best to not draw attention to yourself. This means not dangling your camera around your neck, keeping an alert composure and adopting local behavior.
Avoiding Legal Issues
- DO NOT keep, purchase or consume illegal drugs while abroad. Even some quantities of prescription drugs may be illegal. It will only get you incarcerated in a foreign nation where you do not have the same legal rights as their citizens and may not be entitled to representation.
- Be aware of the country's firearms laws. It is wise not to have any firearm on you in the first place, but know the policies if you must. Holding weapons illegally can result in extremely long prison sentences in a number of nations.
- Know the laws regarding gender in the country. In some Middle Eastern nations, women are required to be escorted by a man when outside the home. This may come across as sexist and you may consider the rules strange or even appalling, but you can be punished if you do not follow them.