Travelling is one of the best pleasures people have. You get to know new countries, new people, new cultures, new gastronomies… You even get to know a new you, someone more powerful than before and capable of achieving things you never thought was possible. But traveling has its perks and cons, especially if you’re traveling to a more dangerous country. Believe it or not, even violent countries (or countries that are considered by many as violent) have wonders to offer. And if there’s no war happening, you can start preparing your trips to violent places, as long as you also prepare for your safety. If a violent country, city, or place is on your travel bucket list, read this article as I am giving you ten personal safety tips for trips to violent places.
1. Don’t wear showy jewelry
This is one of the obvious safety tips. Usually, a violent country is a very poor country because poorness brings out the worse people have inside. And if they are poor, they’ll do anything to get their hands in something valuable, like your shiny jewelry hanging around your neck, wrist, or ears. If you’re traveling to a violent place and want to have a safe trip, leave your expensive jewelry at home. You don’t need them anyway, and wearing them is like having a huge led arrow pointing right at you.
2. Be aware of popular scams
Before you travel, you should consider searching on the internet, which are the most common scams that happen over your destination. Sometimes they are as simple as using children to talk to you and get your sympathy. Others may ask if you want them to take you a photo, and you end up giving them your cell phone or camera. In worse cases, they may ask if you want a local guide, taking you right to where you don’t want to be, robbing, kidnapping, or doing something worse to you.
3. Only use know public transportation
Hitchhike is something you can do in a safe country – but even in those you need to be careful – but if you’re traveling in a violent place, that’s completely out of the question! You should always use public transportation that has a good reputation, or that is at least known by the locals. If you’re walking around the city and a car stops and ask if you want a ride to anywhere, just walk away and don’t enter the car.
4. Use the appropriate bag or backpack
Just like jewelry, having a fancy and expensive bag or backpack is a decoy for thieves. You should also know that wearing it hanging in only one shoulder or hand might get you in trouble, as thieves can grab it as they run or drive by you. Consider using a cross-body bag, since these are the safest ones. You need to bear in mind that you want to protect yourself and go unnoticed as much as possible. So don’t give them a reason to even try to assault you.
5. Get travel insurance
Getting travel insurance is something you never know if you should have until you’re in trouble and remind you should have got it. No, travel insurance won’t pay for a ransom if you get kidnapped, but if you get assaulted and lose your stuff, having them under insurance may save you lots of dollars. And since we’re living in a pandemic world, when you’re getting travel insurance, make sure it covers COVID-19.
6. Don’t share too much information with strangers
One of the best safety tips is that you should not share too much information with strangers. Telling them your name, where you’re staying, or your plans for the next few days, it’s like saying to them to show up with reinforcements and assault you. If anyone asks where you’re staying, and you don’t want to seem rude, just tell them it’s in a hotel around town or give a real hotel’s name but the one you’re not staying. It’s not lying. It’s making sure you are safe during your travel.
7. Locals give you the best advice
I’ve said before that you should not talk to strangers, but you can ask for advice from shops and restaurant owners or employees. These are the least people who will try to scam you and, therefore, the most trustable. Not only will they give you precious advice for places you need to know, but they’ll also provide you with advice for places you should totally avoid! Locals can be your best friends, as long as you speak with the right ones.
8. Keep digital copies of your personal information
When you’re traveling, you should consider that the less you carry, the better for you. If you’re carrying a big bag, purses, or wallets, you’re just asking people to assault you. One of the best safety tips anyone can give you is to keep a digital copy of your personal information in your smartphone, especially on a cloud. Keeping this information in a cloud (it doesn’t matter if it’s Apple, Android, or Google Drive) is the best way to have access to it, even if your smartphone is stolen. This can save you a lot of hassle, especially when you lose all your ID cards.
9. Call family and friends often and tell them about your itinerary
Family and friends are the most important people in your life, and you should call them often, especially when you’re traveling to violent places. You should also let them know about your itinerary. This will keep them informed of how you’re doing and where you’re going and inform the competent authorities in case of assistance.
10. Learn some basic self-defense techniques
You probably never had karate classes when you were a child, but now that you’re an adult and your travel bucket list is filled with violent places, learning some basic self-defense techniques may save your life. Street-effective styles such as Krav Maga and Muay Thai are the best ones to learn. Consider it as a worthwhile investment in your personal safety! I’m not saying you should go out and start fights with people around the world. I’m just saying that it can help you last until help arrives. But if someone tries to steal your phone or wallet and they have a gun or a knife, give it to them and run away as fast as possible!
These are just some personal safety tips for trips to violent places that will help you have safe travel. You should always consider if the wonders of a specific country are worth the danger it represents for your personal safety.