Nothing ruins an adventure than getting defrauded or looted away from home. When traveling abroad, it is imperative that you be extra vigilant not to land in the hands of fraudsters and burglars. This post explores some of the safety precautions you can take as a student traveler.
But before we jump into the meat and potatoes of this topic, have you booked your visa yet? If you haven’t or if you are struggling to satisfy the many visa application requirements, it will help if you book a dummy flight itinerary with a reliable travel agency. Get a fake flight reservation instead of paying for an actual airplane ticket before your visa is approved.
Let’s now look at the travel security and safety considerations for traveling students:
- Stay sober
Getting too drunk or high when you travel is too risky even for a young college student. Anything can be happening around (or to you) without your knowledge. It is okay to enjoy yourself and explore the local nightlife, but you have to do it responsibly. Always focus on what is happening around you – whether you are in a crowded tourist spot or walking along a street.
Eat healthy meals and drink sufficient water before you drink any alcohol. Keep away from hard drugs so you don’t get in trouble with the authorities. Also, note that most drug dealers are potentially nefarious who could have other ulterior motives. They can mislead, rob, or harm you, if not worse.
- Travel in numbers
The bigger your group is, the more the eyes are on your valuables and the more the bodies are available for self-defense. A group is also a much more intimidating physical presence, which helps ward off thieves. Safety aside, traveling as a group is relatively cheaper compared to solo visits.
- Write down emergency info
You are traveling to unknown neighborhoods- You must prepare for the unknown. Get the contact information for the local police, ambulance services, nearest embassy or consulate and other local emergency departments. You never know when a disaster will strike. This information is easily accessible on government websites- You just need to know where to look.
- Be vigilant with your money
Keep your finances in check while traveling. Set an emergency fund while traveling in case you run into some trouble and you need to book an earlier ticket home or you need emergency medical attention. You can save tons of cash by leveraging college student discounts when booking tours or accommodation.
Avoid being flashy with money as this can attract thieves and pickpockets. Don’t carry wallets in trouser back pockets- pickpockets mostly target those pockets! If you are backpacking, acquire a backpack that is fitted with small lockable pockets where your money and important documents are 100% inaccessible by pickpockets. Lastly, don’t keep all your money in one pocket.
- Stay aware of your surrounding
Thieves, burglars, and pickpockets often target tourists who are distracted or disengaged from their surroundings. Try and blend in with the locals and their culture. Ensure that your appearance is almost similar to that of the local students- don’t look different especially in fashion.
As a student, you can learn a new language faster than older tourists. Learn as much as you can. Also, it will help if you could familiarize yourself with the maps of the host city even before leaving home.
- Keep your important documents safe
Have photocopies of all your important documents, for example, the student ID, passport, and travel tickets in case of theft or loss. Leave some copies at home so that, if need be, your parents/friend can fax or mail it to you. Keep the others in your suitcase as spare copies. Also, avoid keeping all the important documents in the same wallet, or together with your petty cash. Having to remove the documents in public places every time you want to pay for something is a bit too risky.
In case your documents get stolen, report to the nearest police station as fast as you can. You never know what evils a fraudster will commit with your documents, which could precipitate unwanted legal processes and liabilities.
- Do your research
Get to know your destination in depth before you arrive. You’re a student- doing your homework isn’t a new thing for you. Read reviews online and consult with local students in the safest neighborhoods. Avoid neighborhoods that have been reviewed to have high incidences of crime.
There are many ways of lowering your vulnerability when on the road. Of greatest importance, be composed, lock up your valuables, don’t mingle too much with strangers, and have a first aid kit in case of injuries.
You are now armed with safety travel tips; it’s time to get out and explore the world. Travel safely.