Backpacking around the world can be safe, and you can have an amazing adventure and return home safe and sound, if you have the right knowledge and take the right precautions.
Tips for a safe backpacking travel
With these top 10 tips, you can minimise the risk of anything happening to you and be assured that you will have a safe trip and enjoy your travels.
6. Don’t stand out. Don’t advertise the fact that you are carrying expensive equipment or jewellery or a big wad of cash around with you. Don’t hang that £3000 camera with oversized lens around your neck for all to see. You may as well stick a big neon sign over your head declaring you a target for thieves.
7. Blend in. Don’t look like a tourist. If you wander about dressed completely inappropriately for the environment (think hot pants, bum bag and bikini top straight off a cruise liner in a Muslim country, and yes I have seen that!) Or wonder about with your nose in a guidebook looking lost, you are advertising the fact that you are in new, unfamiliar and confusing surroundings and will make yourself a target for touts and scam artists. Wear comfortable but respectable clothing that lets you blend in with the majority of people around you, act confident and look like you belong there.
8. Develop your situational awareness. All this means is just staying alert and being aware of your surroundings, that’s it. Take out the earphones unless you are in transit or in your room, lift your head up from the screen of your pad of smartphone and pay attention! There is no need to take this to the point where you are paranoid about everything and everyone, just learn to pay attention to your surroundings and the people around you.
9. Separate your sources of money. If you keep a week’s worth of money with you while you travel, then have just what you will need for the day in your pocket (so you are not pulling out huge wads of money every time you buy a mango juice), keep some of it in your main purse or wallet, some in a secure bra stash or money belt, then maybe have a little bit in a cheap throw away purse or wallet that you can pull out when making little purchases and won’t mind parting with if something does happen. Losing £10 or £20 is much more preferable than the alternatives. It is also a good idea to have your emergency credit card with a little bit of cash hidden carefully in your main pack just in case you do lose your main wallet or purse.
10. Get a pacsafe. If you don’t know what these are, they are essentially steel wire nets that cover your backpack and have a chain and padlock to secure it to something. Basically they stop anyone getting into your pack or taking it away if you are not there or your bag is in the cargo hold of a plane. They are expensive, heavy and take up space, but they are more than worth it.
Finally, just relax. Okay, I know this isn’t technically a safety tip, but I want to give you some reassurance too. I want you to be able to enjoy your trip and not worry about anything happening to you. It is good to be careful, excellent to be prepared, but bad to be paranoid. If you are confident, relaxed and follow the basic common sense advice above, because that is essentially all it is, then you will be absolutely fine. So go, enjoy your travels.