Our changing perception of what makes a place seem utterly dangerous is shaped by many factors. One of them is the dramatic media, always thirsty for a juicy story and not telling the truth. However, there’s an ounce of truth in every rumor, so it might not be a bad idea to prepare yourself before traveling to a seemingly dangerous destination. While common sense is the golden rule no matter where you roam, down below, you have few other unique tips to help you stay safe.
Check your facts
Before getting on board, you should sit down, have some tea, and make a quick inventory. Create a list of the worst things you’ve heard about the country you are about to visit and then double check them. One tip is to check out travel boards and Facebook groups.
Those places have many honest opinions from both locals and people who have traveled there before and have a real view of the area that is not influenced by the media. You can also try and ask a trusted tourism agency, to see if they sent tourists to your destination and if those came back in one piece.
Read travel warnings
By all means, we encourage you to visit the State Department’s poorly made website and review current travel warnings if you really must. But don’t rely just on that info, as sometimes governments can put them there just to mess with certain countries.
It might be a smart idea to learn your destination’s history, politics, and present state so you can get a feeling of what it is going to be like when you land. Check out blogs, local newspapers if you speak their language, and even travel magazines. Speak with a native if you can. Locals have a much different and more valuable perspective of themselves and their socio-political climate than outsiders.
Let people know about your plans
This sounds a bit fatalistic, but telling trusted people in your group of friends what your plans are, will make sure you are tracked down if something horrible happens to you. For example, if traveling alone, send an email to your mom or partner to say what your plans for the day are.
Make it a simple message. Some people also use things like Whatsapp and Facebook to send their GPS location every few hours, which is super handy. Technology is reliable in these situations, but we’re hoping you’ll never have to experience this on your own. Also, some high-tech health monitors also have built-in GPS, usually for those moments when you have an emergency in a remote area.
Keep an emergency contact card nearby
Most of the time, the passport and the driver’s license are useless for letting people know who to contact if something bad happens. Write a small card on a piece of paper in English and in the language of the country you are about to visit by using Google Translate.
Some smart things to write down are your name, your blood type, a relative’s phone number with the country code in front of it and, most importantly, write down if you have any allergies. If you already have one of those, make sure all the info is updated.
The last advice might seem like a no-brainer, but people are prone to ignore it. But it’s worth following, especially in countries like Thailand, where ghost taxies can charge a lot more and even rob you. It is a rather simple thing to do, but it makes all the difference. An alternative is to invest in high-quality shoes with wheels, so you can avoid getting a taxi altogether.