How to Stay Safe Whilst Travelling Overseas
Published: September 5, 2022 | Last Updated: August 8, 2023
Travelling overseas and being in a new environment presents many different risks, especially if you’re travelling to somewhere deemed unsafe.
This blog post will help you to understand the importance of taking precautions to maintain your safety and explain how you can develop and use situational awareness to stay safe in any environment.
Understanding Your Destination
In order to stay safe, it’s paramount that you take the necessary steps to understand your destination, including its culture and the laws of the surrounding area.
One of the first things you should do before travelling anywhere is to learn as much as you can about the country or region you’ll be visiting. It’s a good idea to have a strong grasp of the local culture, beliefs, laws and customs. If you have any friends or contacts in the area, you should ask them for travel advice. They may be able to help you when it comes to the climate and cultural expectations.
If you’re travelling to somewhere with a history of natural disasters or any form of social or political unrest, it’s essential to understand how to practice situational awareness, in order to stay alert and in control of your surroundings.
How to Stay Safe When You Reach Your Destination
Much of this comes down to common sense; you should avoid wearing expensive clothing or jewellery and avoid displaying expensive items such as mobile phones or laptops or carrying large amounts of cash.
If you do need to carry cash, expensive items or travel documents such as passports, it’s a good idea to wear a money belt, making it harder for anyone to gain access to your belongings.
Before travelling overseas, it’s important to plan and organise exactly what you’re packing, the less you carry with you, the better, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take essentials with you.
Only take belongings that you absolutely need or that you can afford to replace, and leave valuable, irreplaceable items at home as it’s possible that your possessions get damaged or lost while travelling.
You should always carry enough to keep you safe if plans go wrong. This can include packing excess medication and making sure you bring adequate documents or copies just in case. Depending on the destination, it may be wise to bring sunscreen and water purification tablets as well.
You may also benefit from a comprehensive first aid course and could consider bringing your own first aid kit, as constant access to healthcare may not always be available, depending on your location.
While Out and About
While travelling out and about, it’s crucial to be aware of your surroundings and avoid drawing unnecessary attention to yourself. This includes being aware of the clothes and accessories you wear and the items you carry. You may wish to conceal your mobile phone, as well as any currency you carry, by using a money belt to keep credit cards and cash secure.
You should also consider carrying a duplicate wallet with old cards and insignificant coins to hand over if confronted or threatened by criminals.
Try to avoid visiting enclosed or unlit areas, and avoid using ATMs unless absolutely necessary. If you do use an ATM, be aware of your surroundings while doing so, and make sure to conceal your pin and put cash away swiftly once you’re done.
It’s vital that you remember that just because threats may not be visible, this doesn’t mean they aren’t there. This is why situational awareness training is so important to learn, including spotting and understanding local scams and crime trends.
Eating and Drinking
A key time to make sure you’re putting safety first is while eating and drinking. Not only are you at your most vulnerable while eating and drinking, but food and drink make for a prime opportunity for criminals to take advantage of you through drug spiking.
Aside from this, you should make sure the tap water is reliable and safe to drink. If it’s not potable, then only drink bottled water. Also, avoid ice cubes and foods that have been prepared directly in water, such as salads.
You should also never take gifts from strangers, especially in the form of food, and avoid street foods where possible.
Travel Safety and Awareness Courses
To get a deeper understanding of how to maintain safety while travelling or whilst in hostile environments, consider a comprehensive travel safety course like those offered by Advanced Tactical Resources. We’re a proven provider of high-quality and reliable travel safety training on a global scale.