Hello world travelers!
When you’re out and about in different corners of the world, you want to focus on all of the new sights, sounds, and experiences, not on making sure your passport is secure or what the safest way to get around the city is. Yes, it is important to think about those things, but you don’t have to let safety concerns get in the way of having a great experience abroad. Following a few basic rules can make you feel safe without taking the fun out of traveling.
I have so much cash, I can’t even fit it all in my wallet!
Be strategic about where you keep your money and important travel documents. Try not to have all of your money in one place, and remember to bring multiple forms of money (local cash, U.S. cash, cash card for ATM’s, credit card, travelers checks). You don’t want to get stuck if the ATM won’t read your card or the local bank won’t cash your travelers checks. Keep some money and important documents with you, and some in a locked and secure place, and always be sure to leave photocopies of your passport and credit cards at home with a friend or family member to make them easier to replace should that become necessary. Some alternatives for carrying a purse or bag/backpack are a money belt for the waist, or a travel pouch around the neck.
You mean my brightly colored American flag shirt isn’t fashionable here?
Respect and be aware of the new culture you’re living in. Pay attention and take note of your surroundings. How do local people behave while using public transportation? While eating at restaurants? While meeting foreigners? Attempt to learn at least basic phrases in the local language. Try adapting your style of dress to more closely match local dress. Local people will most likely be appreciative of your efforts to fit in, and it may also prevent you from being a possible target for pick pocketing.
Maybe I like being lost!?
Ask questions about the area you’re living and/or working in. It is a good idea to consult locals about neighborhoods that are safe and areas that you should avoid at night or when you’re alone. It is helpful to scope out the area you’re living and working in to locate these places: ATMs, a bank, a post office, an internet café, a clinic or hospital, a grocery store, and the nearest bus or train stations. Find out the safest ways to get around and how to use the local transportation systems (e.g. cost of tickets, types of tickets, location of nearby stops) and what time they start or stop running each day. This could save you time and money, or a possible ticket/fine over a misunderstanding.