By: Ben Pastore
Let me start off by stating a sad but incontrovertible fact: The world can be a scary place. That said, this unfortunate reality need not spoil your current or future travels. With the right mindset, even the most anxiety-prone among us can conquer (or at least allay) our fears and not only travel safely, but also unafraid. Here’s five tips for doing so:
1) Be Realistic
Yes, bad things can happen to you while traveling. They can also happen when you’re at home, work, school, your local gym or coffee shop. But just because something could happen, doesn’t mean that it will. Try to gain some perspective as to the risks and you’ll find that the vast majority of travelers return home safe and sound without suffering any trauma along the way.
2) Be Prepared
To help boost the odds in your favor, taking certain precautions before you go can also help ease your mind. Bringing along a hidden money belt, buying trip insurance and taking along extra medication can do much to calm feelings of uncertainty. And in the event that you are faced with a challenging situation you’ll be far better off than the lesser-prepared. By researching your destination ahead of time, you’ll also be better-equipped to avoid potential threats in the first place.
3) Be Aware
Would-be perpetrators will generally target those who are most inattentive to their surroundings. Taking stock of your whereabouts and making eye contact is a great way to alert anyone with bad intent that you see them, and that you’re not an easy target. As an added benefit, being aware of your surroundings will greatly lower any lingering sense of uncertainty, since you’ll be well-informed as to what’s taking place around you.
4) Be Smart
Would you wear flashy jewelry or sport expensive electronics in a bad neighborhood in your hometown? The same rules apply while traveling – especially in countries where poverty is rampant. This is not the time to show off your wealth, as it will only serve to draw unwanted attention. Be discreet as to where you keep your cash, passport and other valuable items. Avoid dangerous neighborhoods and regions and be especially wary after nightfall. While the level of criminal potential varies by destination, using good sense can do much to limit dangers just about anywhere.
5) Be Sensitive
When traveling to areas with vastly different customs and culture than your own, it is wise to be cognizant and comply with local sensibilities when it comes to dress and social interactions. This may entail dressing conservatively while visiting religious sites to limiting public displays of affection. By being respectful of the accepted standards, you will not only avoid drawing undue (and at times unwanted) attention to yourself, but could also defuse any eventual tensions stemming from cultural misunderstanding.Of course, even by following all of the aforementioned precautions there’s no guarantee that your travels will be without incident. However, the potential benefits of traveling far outweigh the small, but ever-present risks. This is an uncertain world and safety isn’t guaranteed anywhere. But by being realistic, prepared, aware of your surroundings and using common sense and respect, you can minimize those risks and enjoy safe and worry-free travel to the greatest extent possible.
- Tags: Travel and Adventure