Although travelling can be one of the most wonderful experiences in life, it can also be one of the most daunting. While visiting a different culture might sometimes push us pleasantly out of our comfort zone, at other times, unfortunately, it might expose us to dangerous new threats.
But with a bit of common sense and some careful planning, travelling can be an extremely safe and rewarding experience. Here are five basic tips that will make it more difficult for those with ill intent to target you when travelling:
Travel guidebooks, forums and other online resources offer plenty of information on threats to look out for at most destinations. It’s a good idea to look up neighborhoods to avoid, common scams and dangers, as well as how to get from the airport to your hotel, office and other important destinations.
Situational awareness is key to safety no matter where you are. You can’t defend yourself against a danger you didn’t see coming. Paying attention to what is happening around you might help you spot someone following you, potential pick pockets or simply help you avoid getting run over by a car. So leave your earphones at home and your phone in your (inside) pocket and enjoy your surroundings while staying alert!
The more you stand out, the more likely you will be spotted as potential prey. Leave your jewelry and expensive designer bag at home and favor practical, comfortable clothes when walking around. Also, when you need to check the map for directions, try to go into a store so as not to attract too much attention. Remember that individuals with ill intent might look for what they perceive to be an easy target, so look confident and blend in with the crowd!
As soon as you arrive at an unfamiliar destination, sit down and observe the streets to establish what is known as a “baseline” which allows you to understand the typical scene in the streets, such as the sounds and behaviors. This practice helps you to blend in better and detect anomalies or potential threats.
Cultural awareness–knowing what is ok and what is not in a specific environment–will also help you get respect from locals and keep you from coming across as rude or disrespectful.
Learning basics of personal safety, such as how to stay away from danger, how to defend yourself when necessary and how to get away when possible will make you familiar with potential situations you might face. And it will also make you more confident and therefore less of a potential target.
Effective self-defense shouldn’t be complicated and builds on your natural reflexes. But some key concepts are important to know, especially if you are travelling with your family, and running away might not be an option. Remember though that the #1 tip in a dangerous situation is always to try to get away from danger, even if it means parting with some personal belongings.
One of the tools often used for personal safety is a tactical flashlight. It is a practical, compact tool that can be carried everywhere, will help you check your surroundings, blind your opponent and attract attention if you need help. Or, failing everything else, it will be incredibly painful when used properly as a weapon.
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