Safety is and should be an important part of our travelling plans. If we keep waiting for all the crimes to vanish from the surface of Earth, we might end up never stepping a toe outside home. This is not an option as our lifestyles require us to move from one place to another, all the time. And hence, the responsibility is on ourselves to ensure no harm comes to us, whenever we are travelling, be it from work or to outside the country, be it solo or in a group.
I may not be the most well-travelled person out there, but I do travel often. Having lived away from family for more than eight years now, sometimes I am taking the trip to my hometown in a train and sometimes to a new place for vacation in a big jet plane. Here are few safety tips to follow, that have helped me stay safe on the go and hope shall help my readers too.
Number 1: DO YOUR HOMEWORK
Yes, you read that right.
Spontaneity is not my strong suit and I would agree if you believe otherwise, but a little bit of research about the place you are travelling to, is essential for your safety. Even more necessary, if it is an unknown territory. A lot of us would already be following this as part of the planning process. Like we tend to check the weather and pack accordingly. What I am talking about here is finding out how safe is that city/town, has there been any recent attack/incident, does it have any curfew, any unsafe zones to keep away from.
I think I can explain it best with an example.
As much as I was excited for my trip to Europe in August 2017, I was nervous and scared too. I was absolutely sure I wanted to see Paris and the French Riviera. However around that time, Paris was constantly in the news due to terror attacks in the city and whenever I was discussing my itinerary with friends who had been to France or Italy, they would ask me to be careful of pick- pockets and hawkers. We were only two girls after all. If we were to make this trip, we had to work around it. And hence, I got to work. I looked for the relatively safer districts in Paris, to book our accommodations. I spent hours reading on how to avoid falling pray to petty crimes in Europe and watched every damn video on YouTube, that could prevent us from any form of harm.
Now, one does not have to go overboard like me. Homework starts with just glancing at some recent news about the place, before we head out for vacation. It starts with having conversations with people who can give us handy safety tips from their experiences. And it does not end once we are at our destination. Locals are a great source of dos and don'ts. While we were heading out for our first day to see Rome, the cleaning lady at the guesthouse asked me to keep an eye on my purse. Not that I needed a reminder - I was fully prepared to take on the streets of Europe - but it was very nice of her. Her English was bad but her intents, good.
Number 2: KEEP YOUR EYES AND EARS OPEN
This would be a quick one - Be aware of your surroundings. It is key to maintain situational awareness for your safety. Wherever you are, always be watchful of what is going on around you. I live in one of the most unsafe cities in the world, which seems to only go up with the records of crimes against women. If I have avoided any kind of assault in all these years, it is because I have been vigilant and kept my eyes and ears open. Only then can you identity a possible threat, coming your way and get out of the vulnerable situation immediately.
Number 3: CARRY A GUN
My message here is : be equipped, be prepared. You do not need a gun to protect yourself. It could be anything, from taking self-defence lessons to carrying a can of pepper-spray. It actually would give you a sense of assurance that you can do things as you like. Good news is you might never have to use this particular tip and I hope for it. Bad news is, you never know and if you do find yourself in danger, you must know how to defend yourself. My secret weapon is a nail-filer. It is pointy, clears airport security checks and I always have it in my bag. If somebody attacks me, I am gonna stab the shit out of that m***********. It could be anything, honestly. Find what suits you and just be prepared for the worst.
One popular misconception we have is: safe is boring.
I mean, who wants to mind what's going on around while enjoying at a party. But this is not a case of having to choose between having fun and staying safe. It is to know how to get home safely, after that twentieth shot at the bar. It is to avoid any harm to person or property, while hustling hard everyday. Look at it this way, you can jump off a cliff into the sea as many times as you want. But safety is to know there is a shark in the waters and hence, it's a no-go. These safety tips do not require us to go out of our ways and make great efforts. Just little behavioural actions to follow through.
Better safe than sorry, my friend.