Do your friends or loved ones warn you that leaving your hometown is the craziest and most dangerous thing you could possibly do?
Do you fear travel because of what you watch on the news?
What if I told you, that you could just change a few simple things in your traveling habits and you’ll be much safer?
Traveling doesn’t have to be any more dangerous than staying at home. Anywhere in the world has its own set of unique dangers, but if we implement these smart changes into our lives as we travel, we´ll greatly decrease the risk of harm and theft.
Of course travel in third world countries is a bit more dangerous because there is less wealth in these places. People are more desperate and will be more inclined to rob a traveler. That’s why we must adapt. Changing our habits and behaviors, as we visit different neighborhoods, cities, countries, and environments.
These simple tips will help you to be safer and feel more confident, wherever you decide to travel. Fear of travel should never be a reason for not traveling, because travel will always be one of the best ways that we can enjoy life to the fullest, and learn and grow as individuals.
So let’s go travel!
1. Showing Valuables to Others
Imagine if you were a poor struggling criminal asshole, who hasn’t eaten a proper meal or had his drug fix in days. Then somebody walks past you on the street, alone late at night, with an expensive watch, a nice cell phone, and an awesome name brand sports jacket. His scheming eyes are going to open up wide and the first thing the criminal is going to say to himself is, “Nice jacket/cell phone/watch! I can use that or sell it and buy some drugs! I want it now, it’s mine!” The person walking down the street late at night has set himself up to be a victim of crime. The criminal will then use whatever tactics of theft he has at his disposal, whether that be armed robbery or pickpocketing.
One of the easiest ways to get robbed is to show people your valuables. If you haven’t got anything of value, then why would anyone try to rob you?
For instance, you could be wearing clothes worth less than 10 dollars, with holes in your shoes and a scruffy beard, but have millions in your bank account and no one would even know. Strangers would probably offer you a meal and a place to sleep just out of pity for how pathetic you look.
In turn, you could be wearing super expensive clothes, drive a fancy European car and have the latest iPhone, but only have a few dollars in your bank account and thousands of dollars of debt.
Appearance is Everything
One of these men has a false appearance of wealth and the other man is truly a millionaire. Which one do you think would draw the attention of desperate thieves?
Our clothes are like a tool that we can use to display wealth and extravagance or to show that we are just an average traveler. So as we travel we should be conscious of our appearance and consider what kind of impression we want people to have of us. When we visit rich countries like Switzerland or Norway, dressing down shouldn’t be necessary. But for example, if we go to Guatemala or Bangladesh, then our clothes should be similar to what the average local person would wear.
The same goes for you ladies. If you are a beautiful woman, who is tired of getting stared at and harassed by men on the street, then look at how you are dressing. If you always wear super tight short shorts and your cleavage is hanging out, then you will be physically attractive to many horny men. One simple way to not be bothered anymore is to cover up your skin with loose-fitting clothes and stop wearing makeup. You can then show your beautiful body to a man of your choosing privately whenever you like.
2. Avoid Getting Wasted out in Public
Drinking and drugging is very fun and stimulating, but if we do it we need to be aware of the dangers. In all my travels, throughout many different countries, the most crazy and messed up shit I have ever seen, occurred at night. The freaks always come out at night. So being conscious of this is necessary to avoid many dangers.
I’ve seen huge bar room brawls, angry drunken girlfriends scratching and slapping the hell out of their soon to be ex-boyfriends, and random people just straight up passed out drunk laying on the sidewalk.
In all these situations, I did my best to avoid getting involved, but a few times I had to step in and protect my friends from getting hurt during all the chaos. I used to be the guy nursing his buddies while they were drunk or stopping fights from escalating.
It was very intense at times. Fortunately, when I drink I’m still quite conscious, I have never blacked out before. If you are a person who blacks out from drinking or doing drugs, then you need to be even more careful. You are putting yourself and others in danger, so you should only take very small amounts of mind-altering substances to avoid killing somebody.
When going out to clubs at night, always have your drink in hand to prevent having it adulterated with Rohypnol, which is becoming a more common way to drug and rob people around the world. On the dance floor be careful with sneaky pickpockets, and try not to steal another guy’s girlfriend, if he looks like a big tough bastard. Drunken jealous guys can easily start fights if you talk to his girl or try to touch her and squeeze her ass.
Wondering around aimlessly, alone at night in a strange city, drunk or high on drugs, could definitely be dangerous. If you do decide to explore at night, go out with friends or carry a fully loaded can of pepper spray.
For those who like to drink, drinking during the day is one way to be safer. Many bars open at 11am or sooner. Having an early morning drink could be relaxing, just try not to get wasted every single day of your journey.
3. Always Exude Strength and Confidence
Being confident will go a long way in helping you to protect yourself and to avoid being a victim. A wolf will always attack the weaker and unfit sheep before he goes after the biggest and strongest leader of the herd. Humans have the same instinct. If you arrive to a new land, with your bags unorganized, your pants on crooked, weighed down by a 100 pounds of clothes and stuff, then you are making yourself a target.
Be agile, fit, ready and able to move fast at any moment. Your reaction could save your life. Exercise regularly, learn martial arts and self-defense. Learn how to attack and where to strike your enemy. One swift punch or kick to the face or ribs could be enough to shock an attacker and give you the chance to escape.
When a person is strong, sharp, cool and conscious, everyone around will be able to pick up on their vibe. And hopefully, you will attract positive people into your life as you travel, instead of attracting criminals.
Even when you’re in a new city and you get lost, pretend like you know where you’re going. Never panic or show fear. If you look at your map or phone on the street and appear lost and confused, that will be visible to everybody around. People will pick up on your body language. A potential thief could see it as an opportunity to pounce and strike. So never appear lost or disoriented, even if you are. Stop into a store or local business and ask for directions. Look at your map indoors.
Confidence will make your travels safer and give you a sense of peace, which will help you to greatly enjoy and protect yourself in any situation.
4. Avoid Dangerous Areas Like the Plague
As you travel, you should be aware that each country and city has its own different dangers. Most local people know where the dangers are. If you talk with them, they can tell you which places to avoid and where the nice areas are. Each city and county has much to see, so there shouldn’t be a reason why you feel a need to expose yourself and visit the dangerous parts of a city or conflicted areas. Of course, some people are adrenalin junkies and prefer to live life on the edge. Which is fine as long as you know what you’re getting yourself into. Almost every major city in the world has its own “rough” neighborhoods, by simply not visiting them, you´ll be that much safer.
Besides traveling in cities, trying to avoid danger from criminals. Travel in the countryside has its own set of dangers as well. Animals like rabid dogs, bears, sharks, crocodiles, bats, snakes, and poisonous insects can also cause us great harm and ruin our vacation. Always be aware of the different types of animals that are in the environments you will be visiting. Again, by asking the locals for guidance, they will help you to understand what to expect in each different environment.
Awareness is one of the best behaviors we can have. Not only will being aware help you socially and artistically, it will help you to be safer wherever you are. Whether you’re on a tightly packed train, walking down the street on a dark quiet night, or hiking up a mountain.
One of the easiest ways to increase our awareness is by looking at our surroundings instead of looking at our phones and cameras when we are outdoors. This habit will decrease chances of theft, will make it safer to cross heavily trafficked streets, and even help us when we´re in the wilderness. One wrong step could be all it takes to end our life in the outdoors, falling off the side of a steep cliff or accidentally stepping on a poisonous snake and being bitten.
Other Crafty Tips
Don’t keep all your eggs in one basket. You should never have all of your cash and credit cards with you at all times. If you go to a sketchy area, you can keep some money in your front/back pockets and in your socks. Leave some cash hidden in your hotel room or in the hotel safe, and maintain various bank accounts as well. This method of spreading your money around will ensure that an occasional robbery won’t totally devastate your funds.
Bug bites are a serious issue in many hot tropical areas. Certain insects carry disease. One cheap and natural repellant to use is fresh lemon juice. Just pour and wipe some juice on your exposed skin and the bugs will stop biting. Covering all exposed skin with clothes also helps to prevent bites.
When hiking out in the wilderness, always bring water, food, a knife, matches, flashlight, and rope with you. These basic tools and supplies could save your life and be useful in an emergency. If you don’t have a camping mat to rest on, a piece of cardboard can be used. When spending a night out in the wilderness, you definitely don’t want to lay directly on the ground as this will suck all the heat from your body. Having something between you and the earth will help maintain your bodies temperature.
In a sunny environment, cover up to avoid sunburn, with a hat and your clothes. Make sure you’re always hydrated to avoid dehydration. In places close to the equator the sun can be so hot that it burns the skin in less than an hour.
After you get up from sitting down, whether you’re in a restaurant or sitting at a seat in a bus station, always look back and make sure you didn’t forget anything. It’s easy to rush off and leave something behind, a bag, a camera, whatever it may be. One time I stayed at a hotel for a few days with a friend and when we were all packed and ready to go I looked at my friend’s bag and noticed it seemed smaller, “Are you sure you got all your stuff?” I asked him. He said, “I think so, but let me go double check.” It turned out he had left several pieces of clothing in the dresser drawers. So always check the room or wherever you are before leaving.
One way to really stick out and tell the locals that you’re not from around town is by using a big backpack. A huge one strapped to your back, a medium sized backpack on your belly and a few bright patches decorating your gear is like waving a big flag, telling everybody, “Hey, I’m new in town, what’s up!” I know in my last post The Backpackers Workout, I discussed the benefits of using a backpack as weight for your exercise routine, but backpacks are also very noticeable and not something locals would use.
Instead, you can put all your stuff in a medium-sized suitcase with wheels on it and have a small dark colored backpack on your back. The suitcase is easy to pull behind you as you travel through most cities with paved roads. But when hiking through rough terrain in the mountains and wilderness, a backpack will be necessary. So keep this in mind, if you want to look more like a local.
Become a Chameleon!
The best way to blend into your new environment is through adaptation. Mimicking the dress, look, and behavior of the locals around you as you travel.
Why are you going to wear that crazy brightly colored cowboy hat on your first visit to Moscow in the middle of the winter? That would be an easy way to stick out and let everyone in the city know that you’re not from Moscow.
Instead, if the locals are wearing dark colors, then just wear black. In fact, black colored clothes can be worn in almost any country and you will fit in just fine. If you travel to tropical places, then bright colored clothes are acceptable and will help you to blend in as well.
If fear is the only thing stopping you from traveling abroad, then you should begin to ignore your fears and learn how to travel with confidence and brains. The main fear you should have is the fear of not living life to the fullest. Travel is one of the best ways to open our minds and learn as much as we can about our world.
Happy and safe travels everybody!
We hope these simple tips have helped you while traveling, got any other travel tips?
We’d love to hear from you!