The point of this blog post is not to scare you. The point is to remind you that in all your excitement you should still have your head about you, while not being excessively paranoid.
So what do you need to read up on before you go so that you're safe?
Please start with this State page on tips for those traveling abroad. It will tell you how to register with the State Department in case there's an emergency and they need to contact you. It'll also cover tips on documents, health, and how to prevent yourself from being a victime of a crime. This State page is also great – a must-read.
When you're done with that page, go to this State Department page and select your host country from the drop-down menu. Click 'Go' and you'll find information specific to your country. Start reading from "Threats to Safety and Security." It's important to read this stuff. For example, I just found out that by law, everyone in Belgium has to have an ID with them at all times. And now I learned that in Argentina drivers often ignore traffic laws and drive too fast. Best to learn this stuff the easy way, not the hard way...
There's also a good British site that's similar to the State Department's site. Find your host country then click on "Safety and Security." Good to triangulate your sources...
Next, we recommend you check out HTH Worldview's YouTube channel. You'll find lots of tips on health and safety while abroad. Just click on any one with a title that interests you.
And if you're not feeling like clicking on any links, take a look at this list, culled from various sites, of some things to be aware of:
- To start with, make a photocopy of everything important, like your cards, license and passport.
- Keep a low profile. The bad guys might think you're more vulnerable if they realize you're foreign.
- Learn as much as you can about your host country and city.
- ***If you drink, drink sensibly. Sensibly. Sensibly. Sensibly. (Drink sensibly.)***
- Make sure somebody always knows where you are, as much as possible.
- Don't wear clothes and jewelry that might make you look like a rich tourist.
- Carry the minimum number of valuables.
- ***Learn about local laws and customs***
- Take only official-looking taxis.
- Don't be dumb.
by Fedor Zarkhin