Traveling can seem a little scary at times. The fear you might feel is the darker side of the exhilaration that most people feel when they think about traveling. And they both stem from the same thing. You are venturing into the unknown. You are opening yourself up to new possibilities. And that can also mean new dangers. But the key to turning fear into excitement is understanding your travel destination. Once you know the threats to your security, you can rest easy knowing you are protected. Here are the ways to assess the dangers of your travel destination.
1. Know Your Risk Of Disease
Even with the wide scale news coverage of things like Ebola and the Zika virus, many travelers still forget to consider the threats of infectious diseases. This is more than just worrying about whether or not you need a vaccination. For example, when it comes to the health tips for traveling to South America, not every health risk has a vaccine. This has to do with things like Zika, which has no current vaccine.
General issues with water, animals, insects, parasites, etc., need to be known so that you can take the proper steps to protect yourself. This is less of an issue in first world countries, but that does not mean that you should not investigate the health risks of your destination based on generalized preconceived notions. To assess the threats, you need to find them.
2. Plan Your Travel Route
The safest way to travel doesn’t just have to do with staying clear of the worst airlines. When you arrive at your destination, it is very unlikely that you will want to stay in the hotel the entire trip. And if you are planning to spend the evenings or nights seeing the sights, you need to know about any risks you might face while walking the streets at night. This means knowing about when the public transportation stops running so that you do not get left navigating the streets alone.
On the other hand, walking might be the best way to travel when you reach your destination. Cabs and car services may be known for gouging travelers. Public transportation may not be reliable for accurate departure and arrival times. The important thing is that you know the safest way to get around and enjoy your time wherever you are.
If you are planning to take a car, be sure that you know the safest way to call for assistance. If you break down, you will need to know how easy it is to get a tow truck. If you get stuck in a car lockout, you may be able to call the police, or this could be illegal. Know how to travel safely, and how you can potentially get help if anything goes wrong.
3. Know Who You Are Traveling With
It is important to remember that children have different travel requirements than adults. They might also be more susceptible to infections and viruses or be the target of preferred local crime methods. Besides just children, the adults in your travel group will also need to be aware of the threats of their destination. Anyone who does not understand the risks they are facing is a potential danger to your safety.
If you happen to be traveling alone, you need to understand how this also affects your security. Without a network of people close by, emergency situations can become harder to work through. It is even more important to know how to get assistance if you are traveling solo. There may also be different threats from local criminals, as isolated individuals are often preferred targets for any type of crime.
4. Research The Travel Culture
Most destinations have a travel culture. The more of a tourist destination your eventual location is, the more you have to be concerned about being targeted by scams, pick pockets, or other local crime methods. Wherever there is a tourist based economy, there is also criminal element hoping to take advantage of unattended valuables. Be aware of this when you are visiting the world’s top tourist destinations.
Depending on the criminal culture, property crime might be the least of your concerns. Even in seemingly developed nations, there may be certain ways that travelers are targeted. If you are going somewhere remote that few tourists ever visit, that still affects the travel culture. Overt security risks may seem the most pressing, but a lack of resources can also create many unglamorous threats to your security.
Language barriers could leave you stranded or a misunderstanding of laws might put you at risk of criminal punishment. Make sure to do some research on the behavior that is expected from travelers, and how the locals are likely to perceive you.
5. Understand The Dangers of Theft
Even with a passport’s high-security features, it does not have any technology attached that keeps it from getting stolen. Understanding the dangers of theft entails more than knowing how you are likely to be targeted. You already know you need to understand how criminals will interact with travelers from the section on travel culture. You also need to know how theft has the potential to affect your ability to get home and be safe while abroad.
It is not necessary to worry about or anticipate a burglary or robbery, but you should know what to do if you lose your passport. You may be incriminated in further crimes if your identity is being used. You should have a way of getting more money regardless of whether it is stolen, just so you do not risk being left with no way to buy food or travel back home.
It might all seem a bit overwhelming, but don’t let these assessment parameters deter you from taking the trip of a lifetime. By actually researching and considering these points you will prime yourself to enjoy your trip a whole lot more. There will be no need to do anything but have fun once you know the security risks of your travel destination.
Ralph Goodman is a professional writer and the resident expert on locks and security over at the Lock Blog. The Lock Blog is a great resource to learn about keys, locks and safety. They offer tips, advice and how-to’s for consumers, locksmiths, and security professionals.