People decide to go travelling and backpacking at all stages of life and at all ages, but staying safe is always important no matter what how old you are or how much experience you have. There are several ways of staying safe when out and about in other countries and they often fall under several categories.
Keeping your Health Safe
First things first, you need to stay healthy when travelling and backpacking. Make sure you’ve researched the necessary injections, and be sure to book them in with your doctor well in advance of departing. When you’ve arrived at your destination, steer clear of stray animals, don’t accept medications from street vendors and avoid anything that you think looks unauthorised. Be sure to keep a little first aid kit in your backpack too – fill it with some pain killers, plasters, bandages and anything else you think you might need along your way.
Another really important (and often overlooked) aspect of health is footwear! Invest in some good boots or shoes that are going to last and are going to looks after you ankles and knees too. Backpacking involves lots of walking and you’ll need the support of a great pairs of shoes, the last thing you want to be worrying about when seeing all the amazing sights is the blister on your foot.
Keeping Yourself Safe
Keeping yourself safe is crucial when abroad. Remember that you’re in a foreign country and you don’t know your way as around as well as you might like to think. Keep family up to date with an email every few days (if possible) so you have an account for your well being too – should anything happen they may be able to pinpoint where and when something went wrong. When travelling in the evening or after nightfall, take extra precaution with your safety. Only used registered taxi cab’s (most major towns or cities have them) and avoid any cars that offer you a ride from the curb – as it is probably an unregistered company. If you’re travelling in a group – assign meet-up places in case you get split up, and try and stick together even if you’re having a tough day and tempers are high.
Keeping Your Money Safe
Without money you’re not going to backpack very far – so it’s really important to have your money safe. An important thing to remember is to keep your money close, whether this means purchasing a fanny pack and keeping it round your waist at all times, or whether it means (and this is for girls only) stuffing your purse in your bra. Safety is the key. Remember to let your bank know you’re going to be abroad too as if they see foreign transactions on your statement, many banks will terminate the card use as it looks suspicious. The worst thing that could happen when abroad is to get cut off with no source of money to get you home.
Keeping Your Itinerary Safe
If you have flights booked – don’t miss them! Ask your hostel to wake you up in time or set an alarm (whatever, just make sure you get to the airport!) If you’re planning on doing lots of walking around, having a map is highly important. Just a little pocket map is all you need and it’ll save you so much time and so much panic if you get lost or are running late for something.