For most travelers, their vacation goes off without any troubles. There’s no need to be paranoid or fearful. However, it is always best to remain aware and take certain steps to ensure an enjoyable, incident-free trip. Most of these guidelines are common sense and are simple ways to keep you from getting into trouble.
Regularly tell someone back home, whether a friend or family member, where you’re headed. If you’re an American, you can register for free with the U.S. Government’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). The UK has a similar program called LOCATE. Doing so will make it easier for them to help you in case of an emergency.
Don’t draw attention to the fact that you’re a tourist. Don’t flash large amounts of money while making purchases. Don’t carry all of your money and cards on you, leave some at your hotel. Don’t outwardly showcase your valuables. Electronics and jewelry attract attention.
Walking at night
Know where the seedier areas of town are and avoid if possible. Be aware of your surroundings. Try not to walk in poorly lit areas or take shortcuts down alleyways and side streets. Keep on well-trafficked paths. Try to stay in a group if possible. If a woman walking alone, be extra vigilant.
Clean food and drink
Drink bottled water if tap water is unsuitable for foreigners. If that’s unavailable, boil your water or use other methods to sterilize it. Don’t use ice if made from tap water. If eating street food in one of these countries, err on the safe side by only purchasing food that has been thoroughly cooked or can be peeled.
Sick or Injury
Bring the medications you need with you in the original packaging. You might not be able to get the same medication in other countries. Always have travel insurance or expat insurance in case of medical emergencies abroad. If visiting certain areas in South America, Africa, or SE Asia, visit a travel clinic beforehand to procure the necessary shots and medication.
Alcohol tends to lower your inhibitions, making you more vulnerable, so don’t drink too much. Local foreign alcohol is often much stronger than we’re used to so a few shots with friends can quickly turn into something a lot messier. Be smart and know your limits!
Check the News
Keep up to date with what’s going on in the country you’re in. Be on the lookout for any warnings about natural disasters or alerts regarding terrorist activities. If you see a public demonstration or protest, avoid staying in the area in case it gets out of control.