When you travel it’s so important to remember that where you are going is full of people exactly like you. People who go to work, who fight with their families and love their favourite coffee shop. What I’m trying to say is don’t let fear rule you - them media can make the world can seem really scary but it really isn’t that bad.
It makes me so sad to think that people might not travel the world because they think the second they leave they are going to be mugged or kidnapped or ripped off. The world is so magical and there is so much to learn from seeing how others live.
Of course this doesn’t mean not being cautious and I have a few tips below for being safe without being silly:
Keep an eye on the news
Most hotels have wifi or newspapers so just keep half an eye on what’s going on - especially if you’re going to multiple places. We were about to travel to Paris on the eve of the Charlie Hedbo attacks. When we saw the terrible news we immediately checked what was going on in terms of travel and also checked in with our families to let them know what was going on. We still went to Paris and I have very fond memories of those days there - but we were far more conscious of regular check ins with family and keeping an eye on flights.
Do a little research before you leave.
The world is changing but sadly in some places in the world if you are gay or a woman you may need to be a little more cautious with how you behave. Lonely Planet has some great tips for most countries about how you are likely to be treated.
Now I don't think you need to strap your belongings to yourself but you are more likely to be pick pocketed or sucked into a scam in tourist areas. In addition the police in some places (such as France) can demand evidence that you are allowed in their country at any time so keep your passport on you (or other travel documents)
Other cultures are not like yours. Check in to see if there are particular customs that you need to be conscious of such as being covered when visiting churches or the appropriate way to greet people.
Keep some cash in your bags at the hotel as well as photocopies of your passport and other photo ID and for the love of god purchase travel insurance. If you don't keep all your eggs in one basket it will be less terrifying if something does happen. Also if you're travelling in a group make sure all of your phones are unlocked to make calls overseas.
Don't be an idiot
Don’t take stupid risks you wouldn’t take in your home country. If that alley looks super creepy and you’re by yourself don’t walk down it. Most places are no more or less dangerous than your home town so just act like you would at home.
Photo courtesy of Death to the Stock Photo