Last month my buddy Thomas Leeper Myrtle Beach resident like myself, called me up for some advice because his youngest daughter had announced that she was heading off to Europe for the next three months. As someone who has traveled a lot, Thomas wanted my inputs on how she could stay safe on the road. It is an unfortunate fact that women traveling alone are more at risk than men, but sadly it is a fact. I shared my top tips with him and I wanted to extend them to any of you out there who are thinking about hitting the road alone.
When it comes to staying safe one of the best things that you can do is to stay in groups of people as much as you can. I call this the wildebeest tactic, which of course is how these little guys manage to stay safe from the predators in the Serengeti. Even if you don’t know people, get close to them and walk alongside them.
Don’t be a Target
The best advice that I can give is just not to be a target, and there are many things that people do which does just leave them open to something bad happening. Don’t walk around with your expensive jewelry on, avoid wearing pricy cameras around your neck and try to dress in similar stuff to what people around you are wearing. If you need to check out your map, slip into a store or a cafe to do it rather than looking lost on the street. If a mugger is looking for a target and you are acting like this, you can expect to find yourself without your things in no time at all.
Whilst travel is about being free and doing whatever you want to do, you should still notify people of what your movements are going to be, or at least where you will be staying each night. In doing this the alert can be raised very quickly if you aren’t where you expected to be.
Trust Your Gut
There are some cities which are just incredibly safe and provide no threat whatsoever, there are also those which are notoriously dangerous. In the latter you will already be on your guard, in the former you may not. Remember that every city has its rougher areas, and if you walk into a certain zone that just doesn’t feel good, trust your instincts and get out of there.
Many cities around the world have certain scams which have become very popular, and with a little bit of research you can find out what these are, and then avoid them. In Morocco for example they have quite the reputation for taxi scams, if you know that ahead of your trip then you can arrange for different modes of transportation. Knowledge is power and it will help to keep you safe.
As much as you should be on your guard, don’t travel with one eye over your shoulder all the time, as you will end up failing to enjoy the experience .