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I will start by saying, that I personally have never had any safety or security problems whilst travelling – other than having a bottle of half empty shower gel going missing after I left it in the shower (I was gutted!). If you follow basic advice and use your common sense then neither should you.

Destination Safety

You should always check your country’s foreign office for information on how safe your destination is. This will provide the official position of your government on that destination’s safety.

However a travel warning from your foreign office doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t go. Often there may only be a small part of that country that isn’t safe, but the foreign office will declare the whole nation unstable. Therefore it is a good idea to cross check with other foreign offices and bureaus.

What To Do If Your Destination Becomes Unsafe Once There

You are not likely to experience political change, especially outside of cities, but it can happen – military coups in Bangkok seem to happen every 3 or 4 years.

Usually tourists are not a target and your trip will be unaffected, but you should always avoid any mass protest or demonstration.

If you find yourself in the highly unlikely situation of feeling unsafe or a target, you have two options. The first is to go to your embassy. Be aware that embassies can sometimes become targets themselves – if your embassy is a target, then neighbouring embassies will often provide refugee – I.e. a British Citizen, should be fine to go to the Australian, American or Canadian embassies and vice versa.

Note down embassy addresses before you go.

The second option is to get out as quickly as possible. This may be as simple as getting a bus out of town, but as complex as calling the foreign office back home for specialist advice. I must reiterate that this is extremely rare, and has not happened to me or anyone I have met.

Safety Precautions For Females

You should dress appropriately when travelling to certain destinations. Respect religious customs in regards to dress code and avoid sexual harassment by dressing conservatively. Consider wearing shoes you are capable of running in, when in high risk areas.

Avoid being alone after dark. If it is unavoidable stick to well lit and crowded areas.

Keep a rape alarm with you when you go to places where you may be vulnerable. Make sure it is easy to access – in your pocket or attached to (not in) your bag.

Western women can often appear promiscuous to some cultures, so if harassed either ignore it or tell them you don’t like it and they should back off. If followed walk into a store or hotel and tell the owner. If necessary ask them to call the police.

If grabbed or attacked, scream as loud as you can or activate your rape alarm, don’t try to plead or bargain. Fight back, use any objects around you and aim for the head, knees or privates.

If you are sharing a dorm with another traveller that is making you feel uncomfortable, you should let them and the hostel management know – ask to move rooms if necessary. Most hostels provide female only dorms, so if you are uneasy about sharing with men this is the ideal solution.

How To Avoid Getting Robbed

A similar principle to not getting robbed anywhere – use your common sense.

Don’t show off your valuables, particularly not in a risky area or in a country where valuables are uncommon or hard to come by.

Never have too much on your person and ensure valuable items are secure and concealed, either in a zipped pocket or locked bag. Keep other valuables safe in your hostel.

Blend in. What I mean by that is don’t act like a tourist. Don’t sift through that big wad of notes in your wallet, looking for the right currency.

Seek safety advice from your hostel. Don’t go to an area that you have been advised not to or an area where you will stand out and become a target.

Stay Alert. Especially when at ATM machines and when handing over currency. Prime locations for pickpockets are markets and transport terminals.

If you are going to be drinking, don’t take any valuables out with you and be extra cautious.

Don’t fall asleep on public transport or store items you don’t want to lose in the overhead compartments. From what I have heard from fellow travellers this is the most common scenario where people have items stolen.

Don’t keep valuables together. Particularly cash – always have an emergency stash, I.e. in a pair of socks. Documents also, you should have photocopies of your passport kept separately from the original.

referred

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