Safety Tips for students going abroad. From experienced college students and travel expert, Marybeth Bond.
Women Travel Statistics indicate that the number one issue for women travelers is safety. Here are practical safety tips compiled by my college-age daughter and her friends, who have recently returned from studying abroad; from Florence to Kathmandu to Buenos Aires. Don’t miss the Guy Tips at the end.
- Bar Tips – Buddy System
Go with a buddy. It’s better to have two sets of eyes to watch for bad situations. Don’t leave without your buddy.
Get smart about Rophynol, “the date rape drug”, which is odorless, tasteless, and colorless. If a guy buys you a drink, don’t accept it unless you see the bartender pour it. Carry your drink around with you. Don’t leave your glass unattended to go dance or to the toilet.
- Don’t Act Afraid
If you are, people can sense it and you can be a target for unwanted attention. Walk with purpose; chin up, aware of your surroundings. Know when to adopt the “don’t mess with me” attitude.
- Give and Take
Give warning to other travelers and ask local people (preferably women) and fellow travelers for advice: Is it safe to ride public buses? Is this neighborhood safe after dark? etc.
- Avoid Over-packing
You’ll carry your backpack everywhere; on and off trains, through city streets and into hostels. You can wear the same clothes over and over.
- Bring Less Clothes, More Stuff to make you feel at home.
Your room will seem empty and cold compared to your room at home or in your dorm or apt. Pack a picture, light frame, posters to put on the walls. You’ll appreciate them more than one more shirt you may wear one or two times.
- Use a Shoulder Purse with a zipper
Wear it at an across-the-body handbag. Keep the zipper shut.
- Wear a Money Belt – Carry Your Passport, Credit Cards, Most of Your Cash in it.
You may think it’s stupid and feels weird. The hassle of having everything replaced is greater than getting used to wearing a money belt.
- Leave the Bling at Home
Wearing jewelery will make you a target for thieves.
- Beware of Decoys and Distractions
If someone comes up and starts flirting with you check out who else is with the person. His friend behind you may slash your purse and run off. If someone bumps into you. Check your wallet right away. No problem if you’re wearing your money belt!
- Ask For Help
If you feel unsafe, talk to someone, preferably a woman with a man or baby. Duck into a shop and tell the owner that you’re a tourist and someone is making you uncomfortable.
- Beware of Who Snaps Your Photo
Ask a family or woman to take your picture, not someone who could run off with your camera who you couldn’t catch.
- Pack Your Common Sense
Follow your instincts. Ask yourself if you would do this/walk there/go to a stranger’s apartment/ take this risk at home? Listen to your inner voice.
- Use Your City Smarts – Be Aware of Your Surroundings
Try to avoid dicey places like a deserted street in a big city. If you are alone, don’t walk down it. Having other people around is your best safety insurance.
- Carry Enough Cash For a Taxi
In your money belt, shoe or underwear and be prepared to use to get out of a questionable situation.
- Dress Down
Clothing that is fashionable and appropriate at home may project a provocative image in another culture. Leave the revealing clothing behind.
- GUYS….Chivalry is Always Cool
A great way to meet girls is to offer them help with their luggage; help them lift it onto the rack in the train compartment.
- GUYS….Be Careful With Your Ego
Hold your temper. Walk away. Getting into an argument with a local guy isn’t wise. He knows the city and probably has friends nearby to teach you a lesson.
- GUYS….Carry very little cash in your wallet
You may think it’s stupid to wear a money-belt, but it’s stupid to get ripped off.