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Four Major Safety Tips You Must Follow While Traveling Abroad

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By Rachel McLeod

No matter where you go, there is a risk of something bad happening. On a scale of merely inconvenient to actual danger, there are so many things that can go wrong in day-to-day life and these risks greatly increase when you travel. When you're abroad, chances are you stand out. Depending on where you go, this isn't always a good thing. It makes you a target.

1) Don't be alone.

The most basic tip that I'm sure everybody has heard countless times: Try your best to always be around people. Some people prefer traveling alone rather than in groups. If you are traveling alone you should still do your best to never actually be alone, mostly at night or in abandoned areas.

If you are in a group, then it is important to stay with your group. Those are the people who will look out for you, and you are less of a target if you are visibly with other people.

2) Be alert on buses.

It is very common to use bus transportation while traveling. It is so important that you keep an eye on your stuff in this situation, especially when you are on a night bus.

Falling asleep makes you incredibly vulnerable and too easy to steal from. I know people who have fallen asleep on a night bus and have had things stolen from the top of their backpack that they were holding in their lap.

In some places it is also common for people to cut the bottom of a bag so that all your belongings fall out into a bag that they are holding underneath. If you aren’t holding your stuff in front of you, this can easily happen.

3) Act casual while carrying valuables.

There's no way around this one. It doesn’t matter if you're backpacking and have your passport on you, or you're studying abroad and bring your laptop with you to class, or you could even just be carrying your brand new iPhone in your pocket, the best thing is to simply act normal.

If you act or look nervous, it'll be obvious. Pickpockets know what they are doing and can easily spot a foreigner, so always try to act casual. Whenever I take my laptop on a public bus in Ecuador I make myself not think about it or worry about it and pretend my bag isn't heavier then I'm used to.

4) Make your schedule known.

This can be easy to overlook, but it is a very good idea that at least one other person who isn't traveling with you knows your itinerary. This way if anything happens there will be someone who knows where you were and it will make situations a lot easier. Even if you just have someone checking in every now and then making sure you got to where you were supposed to be, this is a big safety technique.

Overall have fun, but be safe!

To keep up with Rachel’s journey, follow her on Instagram, @rachellmcleod.