When you’re planning on going abroad, safety isn’t the forefront of your thoughts, because there is so much to see and do. Who would want to spend their time thinking about that? Unfortunately, it’s a necessity.
You’ve made sure your hotel room has a safe, you have a photocopy of your passport stored away, and you’re taking a pre-booked taxi everywhere. But what about your general demeanour? Is there anything you can do there?
If you’re concerned about your safety while abroad, take a look at our guide to behaviours you should avoid blending in.
Why is blending in important?
If you’re going on a city break with a lot of people around, there is bound to be some form of crime going on. Unfortunately, that’s just a universal rule of life. You can do some research on what crimes the country or countries you are aiming for are most prevalent and prepare. For example, a lot of European cities, on the better end of things, have a bad pickpocketing rate, especially at the tourist traps. If you look like a tourist, say with a backpack or a map out, you will be an easier target for pickpockets aiming for that wad of cash you had to convert at the airport, or your passport. Passports are valuable to drug and human traffickers who rely on them to conduct their business.
And of course, there is the social side. You will be a little more approachable if you don’t look like talking to you is interrupting a cherished memory in front of a famous landmark.
Behaviours to avoid
Do some research on the particular culture you are looking to blend into. Not only will you behave like a local, but you might also avoid offending someone, or worse, a fine. There are some odd social norms and laws out there in the world. For example, Singapore is famously clean due to strict laws against littering resulting in fines and has even banned chewing gum. If you’re in Asia, did you know that there is a lot of chopstick etiquette that can offend the people around you and the host of your meal. Worse, in Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey “no” means “yes” – or rather, shaking your head means “yes” and vice versa. Dressing appropriately in more conservative countries will also keep eyes off you for reasons beyond petty criminals.
This isn’t to see being who you are once you get chatting to someone you trust isn’t okay. Your otherworldliness isn’t something that needs to be a tightly held secret, just that when you are out in the world there might be eyes on you.
Stay confident wherever you go. That might be enough to deter someone from approaching you. And if you don’t like the look of somewhere or a situation, leave. Trust your gut and exit any situation you’re not sure of. Try and look like you know where you are going, and maybe keep the map-checking to on your phone.
Lock away your valuables in your hotel safe. Keep that DSLR camera under wraps until you absolutely need it and try not to flash that Rolex.
And if you are travelling alone, never ever tell anyone that. Someone might just be being polite when they ask are you here with anyone, but they could just as easily be wondering if anyone would miss you. Have a line about a friend taking a nap in the hotel room ready to fire.
Other safety precautions
And don’t forget travel insurance. Your medical expenses, lost luggage, personal liability, and, most importantly for now, cancellation of your trip is all covered. Staysure can give you up to 104 days of worldwide coverage should anything happen with a single trip. With the current climate, the status of your holiday is more likely than ever to be taken out of your hands.