How to stay safe when travelling and backpacking

travel safety tips
Travel carefree

Oh, how bored I am of people telling me travel is dangerous, expensive and everything in between. I believe, like most of you, that if you keep your wits about you and are educated in safety, that travelling to other countries is no more dangerous than travelling in your own. However, there are definitely some tips to follow that will help when you are on travelling the world. I've debunked the expensive part in my 'cheap travel' articles... now on to the dangerous part.

"If you can't afford travel insurance then you can't afford to travel"

I swear by that phrase – why risk thousands in hospital bills when you could just pay a one off small fee? I've been through my fair few insurance policies, so take a look at my guide to cheap, long-term travel insurance here to find out more. Also remember to check what injections you may need before you travel to avoid any of those unwanted hospital bills!

travel safety network

Keep Connected

The internet is our biggest tool in this day and age so love it or hate it there is no denying it is one of the most effective ways to communicate with a mass market, aka, all your friends and family. Make sure you are either ‘checking in’ to new countries, or posting pictures and status’ regularly, not only so people can follow along, but so they can also see you are happy and safe. Facebook now has a new button for if there has been a disaster in a country you are currently in that will provide you with an option to ‘mark safe’ to let others know. To stay connected in every country I use my TEP wireless device so I can get internet literally anywhere - it even works while on boats and in the desert.

Go Fake

Travel with 2 wallets – one real one fake. In the fake one put some expired credit cards and a small amount of cash. In the unlikely event of a mugging or someone demanding your wallet you can hand over your fake one and they won’t know the difference.

Hide your dollar

If you travel with large amounts of cash (I still think a travel card is better) then make sure to store it in different places on your body and belongings. A hidden bum-bag is always good while the classic shoe trick works wonders, then there are the secret compartments in your back bag as well as empty shampoo bottles (just be sure not to throw them away).

 travel safety europe
Safety in numbers in Hanoi

Don't be too flashy

I’m sure you all know this by now, but a tourist wearing lots of jewellery with a camera and phones in each hand is a recipe for disaster. In poorer countries this will be perceived as a rich person and locals may think it is more acceptable to steal from him/her. Try to look less touristy and respect the cultural by covering up if needs be.


Read more: Cheap places to go backpacking

Keep copies of important doc's

You will undoubtedly need this anyway when crossing borders and applying for visas, so make your life easier by doing all the photocopying before you leave. It also helps to have something proving your home address on and by carrying around spare passport photos.

Research local numbers/hospitals

It’s only sensible to know your surroundings and know local emergency numbers in the country you are in. All it takes is a quick google ‘ emergency numbers in xxx’ then save it somewhere on your phone or jot it down and share the love with other travellers.

Trust your gut

Because it is probably right...

Don't forget that insurance!

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