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Being a somewhat cautious individual I have some reservations about our bold plan to travel the world. Mainly how we are going to deal with the issue of personal safety while on the road.

Reading government advice on travelling to some destinations can be quite unnerving and although they mostly just specify areas of a country that are designated ‘unsafe’ the helpful statistics listed for the country as a whole often leave a lot to be desired.

Phrases like →

There is a risk of ‘express kidnappings” – Peru

‘Levels of violence and crime are high’ – Brazil

→ and detailing recent incidents where UK residents have been the victims of car jacking, theft and personal attacks etc, left me feeling as though I wanted to call my boss and beg for my job back!

However what brought me back to my research was that these events happen to a minute proportion of the thousands of people who visit each year.

‘The most serious obstacle to your personal safety while travelling is an attitude of complacency’

Taking responsibility for your own safety and having a pro active attitude can influence the situations you find yourself in.  Basic common sense (as listed below) are some of the best ways to remain safe.

  • When travelling, dress casually; dress down where appropriate. Be aware of local customs.
  • Don’t wear excess jewellery. Reduce wallet and purse contents, particularly cards denoting affiliations, memberships, accounts, etc.
  • Stay awake and alert when using public transportation, and where possible don’t travel alone at night.
  • In any crowded situation, be aware of any crowding or jostling, even if it appears innocent. This is often a ploy by pickpockets to distract you.
  • Don’t put yourself in vulnerable situations i.e. drinking excessively in areas that are unfamiliar to you, accepting the invitations of strangers.
  • Avoid walking back to your accommodation alone at night, where possible take a taxi.
  • Consider, when in a position unfamiliar to that of your usual environment, how you would extricate yourself from there. Never put yourself in the proverbial corner unable to escape.

On a slightly lighter note one straight talking individual shared with me the following nugget of travel advice

‘If you get on the elevator on the 25th floor, and the Boogie Man gets on the 22nd, get off when he gets on’

Using common sense while travelling is a must.

Research and understanding are also key, going into an environment unprepared puts you at higher risk.

Heeding the advice of locals and paying attention to local news can often be a great way to avoid trouble. Trying to suss out the unsafe areas of town and making a point of avoiding them day and night.

All these steps reduce the risks you put on yourself, and in the words of my ever so knowledgeable father ’ the key to staying safe is risk management, assess the potential risk and decide if you are prepared to take it’.

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Do you have any tips for staying safe when you travel? Share them with me below.

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