Tips for Staying Safe in a New City
For the most part, the world is a pretty safe place for travellers. However, there are bad people out there and it is wise to be prepared for the worst as it happens to the best of us.
With that in mind, here are some of the best travel tips to help minimise your bad luck and reduce the chances of something happening to either you or your belongings that will ruin your adventure.
First things first, read up on the specific countries Government Advice.
Most governments have comprehensive country advice online, and you should ALWAYS look up the advice for every country you are travelling too. As well as visa, health and terror advice, which will also lead you to finding information on local laws and culture, which will include rules and tolerance on topics such as gender, drinking, dress, religion and LGBTQ+. We cannot stress enough how valuable this research will be to you. Things that we take for granted as acceptable in our home countries may be seen very differently abroad, and it’s not worth getting caught out. One of the best methods of research is reading real advice from those who have previously visited the country, for example the use of other specified travel blogs is perfect for this as some governments will simply not advertise the bad aspects of the country. This real and raw information will allow you to prepare for anything.
Next – Insurance, Vaccinations and Visas.
Possibly the most inconvenient, but the most essential part of travelling. In simple terms, you should never travel without insurance, being covered for lost luggage, travel delays and medical issues is priceless when abroad. Same goes for vaccinations, while the initial outlay of jabs may be expensive, some countries simply do not let you in without specific vaccinations, whilst insurance companies will not pay you out for something that could have been avoided. In terms of visas, check what you need, and then check again. Do not assume that you can get visas when entering the country, these may take months to attain, so get planned in advance!
I think sometimes we take for granted knowing the emergency numbers off by heart, someone falls ill or you witness a car crash, just call the same number. However, leaving the UK means 999 is not efficient. Make your life easier and simply Google all of the local emergency numbers you may need BEFORE you visit each country and keep these safe in your phone book for easy access, as well as the numbers of your own emergency contacts at home if something goes wrong (but don’t worry, with these tips it shouldn’t!)
Make use of free apps or accounts available!
First things first, make sure that someone at home has your flight and hotel details, yes, every flight you will go on and every hotel that you are going to be staying! Even posting on Facebook and Instagram lets your friends know you are safe. There are many free apps out there that offer an extra layer of security, such as Life360’s GPStracking system that shows your current location (perfect for backpackers). Preparing for the worst is the best thing to do, as nothing is predictable – and remember that Apple’s ‘Maps’ app works even when you don’t have internet!
Booking and packing the basics comes in next.
Even if you are just booking the first few nights of accommodation in the new country, or the first bus or train journey, it’s the little things that count. Not only will this save you money and ensure you are not lost or homeless for the night, you might even need the name of where you are staying to fill out visa applications or arrival landing cards. In terms of packing, make sure you have access to the important things you might need on route, such as flight details, hotel details, local currency, passport and visa. It’s also worth thinking about the small things such as a power pack in case your phone runs out of charge or a padlock for a hostel locker or even your bag. Safety comes first!
Always trust your instincts and if you need to, spend the money!
I know that travellers have budgets, but don’t spare your safety to save some pennies. If you are feeling unsafe somewhere, there is probably a reason why, trust your instincts! For example, if you are thinking you should get a taxi home because walking would not be safe, book the taxi! Do not let your ego get in the way of your safety.
Final touches include simply staying in touch.
Sorting out a SIM card that lets you use data internationally is key before you leave your home country, or at least having an idea of how you do so when you arrive! Maybe your travelling to ‘find yourself’ or even to get away from everyone at home, it doesn’t really matter – your safety matters and letting friends and family know your whereabouts and that you are safe once in a while in important! (But yes, that includes showing off in Instagram)
Now it’s time to fake it til you make it!
Try your hardest to avoid looking like a tourist, we understand that sometimes this is not easy, but act confident! If you get lost then you get lost, take a minute and reroute, just always keep your valuables hidden in a tightly closed bag and stick to roads that are well lit.
There is never too much researching and time spent Googling that will prepare you for what could possibly go wrong in the world. We trust you to stay safe and so do your friends and family, its other people we don’t trust! Keep your instincts about you but don’t forget to have fun. The world is your oyster!
By Jessica Hughes