The world isn’t dangerous or unsafe. Quite the opposite. There are some desperate places and people, even in your home town, but these are a minority. In fact, you’re more likely to get into trouble at home than travelling if you follow these common sense tips on your trips
1. Back (packer) glance
Get in the habit of looking back when you get up to leave somewhere. Travel is very distracting, and you’re probably carrying more stuff than when you’re at home, so you’re more likely to leave a jacket or journal at that Parisian cafe table where you were people watching.
2. Separate your sources of money
You know how you keep all your bank cards in your wallet/purse when you’re at home? Well, don’t do this while you’re travelling. Keep at least one in a different place, preferably not on your person. If you lose all your cards on the road it is very difficult to get replacements, and being without money in Timbuktu can be kind of unfun.
3. Don’t keep your wallet/purse in your jeans’ back pocket
To avoid being pickpocketed, keep your wallet in your front pocket, especially a pocket that can be buttoned up. Best of all, use the inside pocket of your jacket. There are also a load of different ‘money belts’ (see examples here) that either hang inside your shirt or wrap around your waist (under your shirt), etc. Make sure it’s waterproof because travelling can often be sweaty/perspiring work. I’d advise against the bum bag/fanny pack varieties. There is no better way to advertise the fact that you have a load of valuables on you…and, of course, they were never ever cool.
4. Scan all your major documents
Scan your travel documents and email them to yourself. It was traditional to photocopy your passport and visas, travel insurance etc, and keep them in a separate part of your luggage. But that’s old school. These days, digital is best – that way your documents won’t go missing even if your bags do.
5. Don’t trust strangers who wear turtle neck/polo neck tops
Only kidding about the turtle necks. It is hard to get to know the locals at a destination if you don’t trust them, but there are limits to how much you should trust them when it comes to your personal safety (going with them into a risky area of town), money, and consuming their food or drink (if they are not consuming it themselves). Do a search on Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree forum for the latest scams that travellers have reported for where you are going. Also, look at the ‘Dangers and Annoyances’ sections in your Lonely Planet guidebook and ask your hotel/hostel staff for safety