By Linda Gimmeson
Traveling can be fun, but at times it can turn risky. Whether traveling by plane, train or automobile, there are a number of things that can happen. Although you can’t control what could happen, you can still prepare for the unexpected and train yourselves and traveling partners with essential skills to stay safe. Here are five skills you can learn to keep safe while traveling.
Stay Aware of Your Surroundings
Moving between points such as the car to the hotel, train to cab, gas station back to car is the easiest time for something to happen–a purse snatching, mugging or even something more extreme. These are the quick trips where you let our minds wander and you lose track of what is happening around you. You start creating lists in your heads, or going over something that happened earlier in the day, and while worrying about this you might not notice someone following you to your car or sliding a hand into your pocket or purse.
Whether it’s a CPR certification, PALS recertification, or even just knowing how to change a tire, a great way to prepare for the unexpected while traveling is to know how to offer assistance in emergency situations. When traveling, it’s easy to stumble into a “wrong place, wrong time” situation, but by getting certified, you can turn that into a “right place, right time” situation. How many of us have drove past a vehicle on the side of the road unable to assist, had our own vehicle problems, or even experienced a sudden choking fit, head injury, or allergic reaction? Knowing how to handle anyone of these situations can be crucial and important whether traveling or not.
Keep Your Friends & Money Close
Traveling alone can be very risky, but we won’t entirely warn against it. If you can, travel with friends or family, and if you do, keep them close. Lone travelers are easy pickings for pick-pocketers. The buddy system was created for a reason, enforce it. Stay together even during quick visits, trips or errands; even the bathroom. If you travel alone, stick with groups to hide the fact that you’re alone. As for money, keep it even closer than your friends. Fanny packs, purses and backpacks are easy targets, especially when bulky. Use cross-body bags, especially one that you can hide under an item of clothing such as a sweater or jacket. As for wallets in pockets, don’t do it while traveling. If you’re really worried, invest in a hidden money belt.
Don’t Chat it Up
At least not with everyone, everywhere. Keep information-sharing to a minimum especially with cab drivers. We also suggest avoiding asking strangers on the streets for directions. If you stick out like a sore thumb tourist, criminals will take a quick and sudden interest and ask where are you staying, what are you doing, where are you going. Soon enough you might have unwillingly given a nice stranger your entire itinerary.
Avoid Standing Out
Between the camera, backpack, map or nice jewelry, it’s easy to stand out as a tourist. Which in turn makes you an easy target. To look like you belong, dress casually and comfortably. Jeans and sneakers are not only smart for helping you to blend in, they can also make for a quick getaway. As for maps, download any to your phone ahead of time so you look like another person looking at their phone, rather than a lost visitor. It can also go a long way to learn a few local phrases in the native language.
Whether you’re traveling abroad or even just a state over, being prepared is the best way to go. Whether or not something happens, you’ll be grateful you wore that cheap watch, hid all your money, didn’t take a taxi every night and walked with your head up.
Name: Linda Gimmeson
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