While many of us have been wanting to go on holiday for a while, the prevalence of travellers getting in trouble and the media reporting about it can be a cause of concern.
But if there’s one thing I’ve learned over five years of travelling the world, it’s that we have a responsibility to keep ourselves safe, but that said, the world is really not as scary as the media makes it out to be.
While it would be incorrect to say that you’ll always be safe on holiday, by doing all you can to minimise the risks, you’re putting the power back in your own hands and are likely to have a much better (and safer) holiday.
Here are some tips for staying safe on holiday:
Use your intuition
Sometimes called a “gut feeling” your intuition is one of the key ways that your brain keeps you safe. Sometimes we feel bad or scared and can’t quite figure out why. This is because our brain is taking in information and making a snap decision, without letting us see the decision-making process. The best thing you can do is to listen to your intuition, which will usually tell you whether you can trust a person, if you should walk down that street, and even if you should stay at a particular hotel.
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Leave the valuables at home
It’s a sad fact, but tourists are continually targeted by thieves. In fact if there’s one thing you should not do, it’s take all of your valuables out with you. Store your cash in different places, spreading it out amongst your belongings and on you, and before you leave your hotel, consider whether you need to take everything you have on you. If you’re taking a smartphone with a good camera, you can probably leave the DSLR at home, and instead of taking your e-reader, consider downloading books to your phone or going “old-school” and taking a paperback with you.
Be careful with food
One of the most common ways people get in trouble overseas is by not paying attention to what they’re eating. While we all want to be adventurous and try the local food while we’re traveling, you can do plenty of things to minimise your risk of getting sick.
If you’re going to be eating street food (and often this is the tastiest and cheapest food), do a little research before you go. While I wouldn’t hesitate to eat street food in Thailand, it’s a different story in China where they use gutter oil and you can end up very sick. Take a look at the food cart or buffet table, and try to figure out how long the food has been out. Are there any flies around? Would you eat that food if you were at home?