Backpacking safety tips

Safety is important in backpacking. Many places are indeed safer than what we hear in the media and you can travel safely in many parts of the world, if you use common sense and be careful. Below are some backpacking safety tips:

#1 – Use your common sense and don’t be paranoid about safety. Please don’t forget that if you worry about something, it will happen – negative energy attracts negative situations.

#2 – Don’t flash your valuables. In some poor areas, even having a nice watch may make you a target.

#3 – Carry a money belt and distribute your risk by hiding your money in different locations.  Sew a little pocket or pockets in your undershirt, panths and/or underwear, and use a belt with a hidden zipped pocket inside. Also, hide a small amount in your backpack too, in case you lose all the money on you. This way you will have some funds to survive until they send you money from home.

#4 – In some off-beaten-path destinations, you may have to carry high levels of safety cash as well as some other valuables (camera, laptop, etc.) on you. Try to forget about them and do your best to look cool and confident. Insecure and worried body language may make you a prime target.

#5 – Always have photocopies of your important documents like your passport, credit card and health insurance, and keep them in a separate safe place. Also, consider scanning them and storing them online.

6# – Don’t be paranoid about it, but also don’t trust everyone, who approaches you. Ignoring people in real life may not be a good practice, but ignoring people, who seem to be con-artists in heavily touristy areas may be a safe approach. Having said that there will always be many friendly locals approaching you as well, especially in non-touristy areas, and be nice to them.

#7 – Avoid deserted streets, dark alleys and being outside very late. Better be cautious than sorry.

#8 – If you think that you are in trouble or harassed by someone, don’t be silent. Make a fuss! In most countries, this will scare them away. In addition, the local will mostly be on your side and will come to your help too. Unfortunately, sometimes some backpackers may choose to keep silent, as they are afraid to react.  Please don’t forget that this may only make things worse.

#9 – Always have a plan B, if things go wrong. Hopefully nothing bad happens, but if it does, this will minimize your reaction time.

#10 – Always do your research before heading to your new destination. And, always question what you hear from the media, your friends and neighbors. Check travel forums on the internet and more importantly, ask locals when you arrive in your destination. Things may change quickly and places that are known to be safe may turn out to be unsafe or vice versa.




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