The advice I would give a younger relative
The advice I would give a younger relative Reviews
Is it safe? This is what I would tell a younger relative. Sep 01, 2013
Lots of people ask for safety on the forums. This is what I would tell a younger relation who was going traveling, which I am writing as a review to save me typing it up from scratch each time.
First, the disclaimer- I am not a safety expert or a police officer. This is the advice I would give and (mostly) follow, but I am open to comments below.
Is iit insane to go there? Check the official advice for travellers from your country. The British www.fco.gov.uk or the CIA world book are also good sources. Now, both those sites have a tendency to look a little alarmist about the risks of crime and terrorism so take it with a pinch of salt. But of the FCO is advising either "no unnecessary travel" or "no travel" to a country or a part of a country, take that seriously.
Beyond that, I would tell any young relative- INCLUDING BOYS- exactly what I would tell them on a day trip to London.
1) watch your bag and wallet like a hawk. Crime against the person is rare compared to pick pocketing. Don't flash cash, don't flash high value goods like iPhones or digital cameras in poorer parts of town, and if you're carrying a lot of money split the stash, always zip things properly. That said, in the very rare circumstance of a mugging, hand your wallet over. Money is easier to replace than injuries are to heal and if you can surrender your bag then run, do that. This is also why many police forces advise against carrying your handbag across your chest- if the mugger can snatch it without having to hurt you it's less likely to result in injury.
1a) my father carried a dummy wallet with some cash and expired cards, which he could surrender if he had to, and kept his real money and cards somewhere else, when he went To rough areas for work. I have been known to take my real purse out of my handbag and carry it somewhere else, so my bag can be snatched if it has to be and
1b) make a note of your bank's international lost card number.
2) trust your gut. Something tells you your new friend is dodgy, or that maybe you should let this taxi go and take the next, go with it even if you look a little silly. Sometimes it is paranoia - sometimes you clocked something in your peripheral vision or some body language was wrong and although you didn't register it consciously you judged a risk
3) no open drinks from strangers. Boys get spiked too, often for robbery. If an over friendly new friend plies you with drinks, offer to help carry and watch the barman pour it. And drink by all means, but don't get so drunk you lose awareness of your surroundings.
4) if it looks too good to be true, it's probably a scam (after controlling for local prices, naturally)
5) trust local knowledge - it was a Ugandan local who pointed out to me (in a traffic jam) that most bag snatches were from cars and I might want to put my phone somewhere better hidden from the window. Locals may well warn you away from the local bad areas or the nightclub with the rep for spiked drinks.
6) know how you are getting back to your hotel/hostel, including a plan for how you're getting back if your new friend turns out to be an idiot and you need to get back alone.
7) keep a photocopy of your passport and any other important documents, and ideally a spare credit card, separately from the rest of your documents.
8) try to be aware of local social norms. Much as you might feel it's your right to wear what you like or drink what you like, you will get better treatment if you make a little effort to dress appropriately and not break too many social taboos. The obvious ones are that there are plenty of countries where adult men do not wear shorts or enter building shirtless, and where women are treated better if they dress conservatively. But there are other things, like taking off your shoes before entering a guest house in parts of Asia and not pointing in some countries. Watch the locals carefully and try to learn them.
9) be aware of drug laws and the penalties for breaking them.
5 / 5 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!