Once upon a time, there was a nice little girl and a nice little boy who dreamed of traveling. Brought up in the land of Care Bears, they believed that the whole world was like their haven filled with peace, respect and looooovvve…
They traveled on the back of their flying unicorn for many hours, many days, with the hope of reaching the land at the other end of the world and sharing beautiful moments with its inhabitants.
However, the inhabitants of that land, although welcoming them with a smile, were not all as honest as the two travelers would have hoped…
Or maybe it’s the opposite, you were born in an environment where you were always told not to trust strangers? Whether you are more on the naive or cautious end of the spectrum, safety is a topic that touches all of us.
Here are some tips that might significantly (and positively!) change your traveling experience.
Walk with your head up high, look relaxed, as if you were home. Avoid looking lost and opening large maps in public; act like it is normal for you to be there. Your attitude can change everything and keep you safe!
Be sensible to the customs of the area you are visiting: before you travel, find more information on their usual attire, their manners, their ways of interacting. For example, by choosing to wear clothes that are similar to their fashion you avoid looking like a tourist and reduce the chances of being robbed.
Personally, if I am staying at a local’s place (Couchsurfing), I prefer leaving my passport and other valuables there, because I usually really trust them. However, if I am sleeping at a hostel, I keep my passport on me. I put it in a belt well-hidden under my clothes or in my anti-theft purse.
Tip: It is recommended to hide cards and money in different spots. Therefore, you can keep your visa card and some cash on you (in your belt, shoes or bra), but leave your debit card where you are sleeping. That way, if you get robbed, you will not have lost all your resources! That’s also what it means to stay safe!
In large cities, it is common that a group of men, women and even children work together to trap or rob tourists. A man enters the subway in a strange way? A child follows you and insists you give them money? A man comes close to tell you how pretty you are? In those unusual moments, keep an eye particularly on your pockets, your bag and your purse!
Although the temptation is there, it is essential to consume in moderation when you travel, whether you are a man or a woman. You are the outsider, and your family and friends will not be with you in case of trouble.
Many have been in your shoes before and might have written on the topic. Do some research! The internet and many books are filled with tips for safer travels. Take the time to read comments from other travelers about accommodations, transportation, areas to visit (and to avoid!), proper budgeting, etc.
**You can also visit the Canadian government’s website: many relevant articles are available.**
Whether you are 18, 36 or 70 years old, traveling abroad presents certain risks. Make sure to share with a friend your host’s contact information, your hostel’s address or your schedule and itinerary for traveling (by bus, plane, etc.) so they can rapidly inform authorities if something was to happen to you.
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