How to protect yourself and plan ahead while traveling. Know the local laws, customs, try to speak the local language, consider travel insurance, protect your belongings & accessing cash.
If you are planning on traveling around the world, then you need to do a lot of preparation. One area of particular interest is how to protect yourself, your belongings, and your money while you are away. Unfortunately, the world is full of dangers, and it is up to you to protect yourself while traveling.
Some of these dangers are pretty obvious, others not so much. Some may be local to a particular area, while others will be a global problem. Then you have all the laws you must stick to. One of the worse easy to get tied up with something is to do something unknowingly illegal. You are then at the mercy of that country’s penal system, and there are no guarantees of your safe return. The thing is, as long as you are wise and have researched thoroughly, there is no reason why you cannot go away and come back and have had a totally stress-free adventure with no safety incidents.
Laws and Regulations
It is vital that you research every country you intend to visit and learn about their laws, regulation, and customs. Every country is so different, and although you may live in a liberal country, some countries are far stricter. So do your homework. Some things to pay particular consideration to are the road laws. You may want to hire a car, or maybe you are taking a foreign road trip; whatever your circumstances, you have to be aware the laws change here.
The first is the speed limit. Check this before you leave. Then you have different alcohol laws. What puts you over the limit in one country is perfectly legal in another. In some places, it may even be a felony, takes a look at things like felony DUI laws. Another thing to consider with the car laws is the fact that some countries require you to have things in the car, such as a fluorescent jacket in case you break down, and you need to weather it on the side of the road.
The law also changes when it comes to your finances. Be careful not to go over your credit limit in some countries, as this is a punishable offense. If you are prescribed medication, then you better make sure that the country you a visiting allows that medication. If they don’t and you get caught, you could end up in a foreign prison. When it comes to taking pictures or recording videos, you may need to be careful in certain places. Religious places are one area, in particular, to pay attention to. It is wise to reach all the local laws of the country you are going to. If you don’t and you make a mistake, you may end up on the wrong side of the law, and your traveling adventure may be permanently postponed.
Learn the Language
Okay, it may be impossible to learn every language of every country you plan on visiting. But at least bring a phrase book and learn a little bit. If you are going to be in an area for a while, sit South America, it may be an idea to learn Spanish before you go. All the South American countries, except Brazil, speak Spanish – Brazil is Portuguese – so Spanish would be a huge advantage here. Learning a language can have more than one advantage. It can actually heighten the experience you have, and It can make the locals respect you more. You will have a more authentic taste of what it is like in the country you are in; it can even help you get out of trouble if you do accidentally commit a misdemeanor. An hour or so daily for a few months before you leave should be enough to get you by.
Research the Areas You are Going to Visit
Knowing the local laws is one thing, but there is far more to learn than that. You should research every city and town that you are going to and find out where the safe places to stay are, which areas to avoid, what are the local landmark worth seeing, how you should travel, what modes of transport are the best, are there any particular issues with certain crimes that you should be aware of.
If you do not do your research, you may end up staying in some seedy hostel that is used as a brothel, and you will probably become very uncomfortable indeed. You may want to learn how to not look so much like a tourist too. Tourists are easy pickings for professional gangs. They can be naive and trust too easily. Do not be taken for a ride. Remember that it is not just locals from that area you need to be wary of. Other travelers may be trying to fool you too. So you need to have your wits about you. This is probably good advice for the whole of your trip.
Be Careful With Your Belongings
When you travel, you are going to be taking a lot of stuff with you. Some of it is going to be a pretty expensive kit, too, like your phone, for example. You need to be careful with your belongings are you may be in pretty high crime areas sometimes. When you are on the train, ensure that your luggage is in your line of sight too. Don’t put it in one of those bag rack things. As a tourist, you will be pretty obvious, especially to the likes of people who are targeting the easy-picking tourists who look naive. Pickpockets work everywhere, especially in high hum traffic areas, like airports.
It may be an idea to have a money belt where you keep your cash and cards and any other important documents, like your passport. It may be wor your while carrying your backpack on your front if you are going through airports, train stations, etc. this is because using a lock may be great, but some pickpockets will cut open your bag and get inside that way, Unless you have a plastic backpack, carrying on your front makes sense if people will be getting close behind you, say in a queue or something. In some cases, they will be carrying devices that can steal your card identity. So why not stop the contactless feature on your card from working, so they are unable to do this?
Yes, you are going to need cash but using ATMs all the time is really not the best idea. Unfortunately, criminals commit a crime known as skimming. This is where the ATM has a device attached to it, which you will not be able to see or detect it in any way. This machine is able to copy all your information so that these people can commit fraud by cloning your card and using it wherever they want. You are far better off going into the bank and drawing the money you need out there. This may be a little inconvenient, but it can save you a lot of heartache and help protect yourself while traveling.
Traveling can be a dangerous affair if you are unwise, and unfortunately, some people are. The fact of the matter is, no matter how healthy you are or how fit you believe you are, you never know when you are going to be stuck down by bad luck and need some health assistance. The longer you go for, too, the more chances there are of something happening to you. And if you are into doing a bit of sport or going on long hikes, for example, then you are even more likely to suffer from an accident. If this happens and you need air rescue or something similar, then you could be charged an absolute fortune, this will kill your trip and your bank account for a long time. So, cover yourself. Look at all the types of travel insurance and make sure that everything you want to do is covered.
If you want to have an enjoyable trip, then you need to travel light. You may think you need this or that item, but you will end up chucking most of it away, including any oversized luggage. So start how you mean to go on. You will want a decent backpack, which you can easily carry, that contains everything you need. You are going to need clothes obviously but be prepared to wear the same thing a lot. There is no pride in extended traveling; it is not the Ritz here. It’s hostels and rough sleeping sometimes. You’ll need wet weather gear, as well as warm weather gear, trousers that you can zip away the half under the knee are a good bet. You need a small toiletries case with a toothbrush and paste and a small hairbrush too. A lightweight towel as well and maybe some travel wash so when you do stay in a hotel you can clean your clothes in the bath there. Less really is more when it comes to traveling. Research what you really should take with you.