Travel Advice – Top 12 Tips

This is my  top 12 pieces of travel advice after having safely traveled to over 60 countries, including Afghanistan, Iraq, etc.

  1. Soft targets make easy victims. Soft targets are anyone by themselves or anyone drunk. This might seem like common sense advice, but DO NOT WANDER AROUND DRUNK BY YOURSELF. I knew a girl that was mugged 3 times in Florence within 2 weeks because she stumbled around drunk by herself. Don’t be like that, don’t be an idiot.
  2. Don’t look like a rich westerner. The locals can walk around and not be mugged because the muggers know they are not likely to have hundreds in cash or an expensive camera on them. It’s fine if you’re in a resort, but if you are out in the street you should look borderline homeless. No one robs people that look like they might start begging for money.
  3. Avoid traveling on the street at night unless the area is extremely safe. Your mother was not lying when she said that nothing good happens after midnight. 90% of my peers that have been robbed or assaulted have had this happen late at night.
  4. Spread your money all over you, but do have some to give to a robber. Carry $50 or so in a front pocket. Keep the rest somewhere else. Why? A desperate person that is robbing you is fairly likely to just shoot you if you produce no money. It’s far better to have something small to give them.
  5. Keep your backpack to the front. It’s much harder to have your bag stolen from you if you can wrap your arms around it. Ladies, don’t sit your purse down next to you. If you’re traveling in an open vehicle (common in Asia) don’t have your bag or camera dangling out in the open. This goes for your wallet as well, keep it in the front pocket or zipped inside a jacket.
  6. Don’t take taxis or cars that you don’t know and trust. This one is huge. Remember your mom telling you not to get into cars with strangers? That still applies when you’re 25 and you’re on your study abroad. Get the hotel to call a driver that they know. Wikitravel has country specific information on which taxis are more reputable.
  7. Watch your drink. You shouldn’t be out drinking alone but you certainly shouldn’t be out drinking unattended drinks. If you want to avoid being raped, mugged or murdered then watch your drink.
  8. This one is pretty simple… lock your doors. Lock the car doors and lock your hotel doors. It’s no use memorizing great travel advice if you don’t even use common sense.
  9. Avoid getting into sticky situations by understanding local scams. How can you find out about local scams? Ask your hotel and consult wikitravel. One scam common in Poland is for pretty girls to invite guys into a bar. The unsuspecting guy has a few drinks with the girl and then he gets presented with a bar tab of $900. Good luck getting past the large guy at the door if you try to run out on your fake tab.
  10. Let people know where you are going and when you’ll be back. If something does happen to you then you’ll be glad people know you’re missing.
  11. Your vacation in another country is not the time to boost your ego and pick fights. If you fight a local it will almost certainly be you and not the local that is going to jail. Avoid confrontations. There is no shame in walking away from a fight.
  12. Gain local knowledge of what areas to avoid. This comes from doing your research online and asking the hotel. Remember that travel advice can still be gained when you’re abroad.

If you follow this travel advice you’ll have an enjoyable trip. If you want to add an extra layer of safety then you should use a group tour. There are dozens of benefits to using a group tour, and it is MUCH safer to do so in almost all case. I have used G Adventures for roughly a dozen countries. I’ve reviewed them here:

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