Backpacker and Gap Year Safety When Travelling

It is always wise to go abroad being aware of any potential hazards or situations you may come across on your travels.

Below is a small list of information that should help bring you back in one piece.

  • Before you go, put all your important addresses into your email address book. Have a photocopy of important documents like your passport, work permit etc. If you are unlucky enough to have bag stolen, at least you will have all the details and addresses you need to get you swiftly back on the trail.
  • Where you can use traveller's cheques because if they are lost, stolen or damaged you can claim them back. There are now traveller's cheque cards that work on the same premise as cheques and are easier to keep safe. See our Money Advice page for more information. Wiring money is a good emergency option, using companies like Western Union for example. For a small commission, money can be 'faxed' over to you. You don't need identification - the sender can provide a 'test' question to prove who you are.
  • When travelling through poverty stricken countries it would be wise not to draw unwanted attention to yourself. Keep your cash hidden and never wear expensive jewellery or watches.
  • It is important to keep your kit with you at all times. Is for instance someone deploys the tomato ketchup trick and accidently on purpose pours the sauce on your ruck sack and offers to clean it for you, you should be aware that that will be the last time you see your back pack!
  • Be aware and respectful of dress codes if you are travelling in an Islamic country or where religious traditions apply. Don't be seen to flaunt your body and certainly don't wear a skimpy two piece bikini. If you are a male check where it is acceptable to go shirtless, Iran for instance will not tolerate this.
  • In some countries, female travellers in particular may encounter behaviour towards them which would be unacceptable to them at home. Street whistles, being ignored in a shop or even unwanted physical contact are all unfortunate hazards in some parts of the world. Don't be intimidated, however, and if you feel really unsafe stay in a group.
  • Steer clear of any place that locals avoid! There is a fine line between seeking out the new and unusual night spots and taking wreckless risks. Check with local tourist information centres or with your hostel or hotel as to where to avoid. Always listen to your instincts and don't be pursuaded to do other wise. Always make sure you remain sober and in control, there may be people watching you hoping you will be their next victim.
  • An Obvious Note - Never agree to take packages or baggage of any type when travelling across borders or by aeroplane.