Traveling abroad is one of the greatest adventures of the modern era. Sure, you can see the world from your computer screen - but you can't experience it until you get out there and see it for yourself. Unfortunately, everyone has heard horror stories about what can happen to you when you're travelling abroad. While traveling can be a dangerous process, you can mitigate that danger by being smart and being informed. Below are just a few tips that can help you ensure your safety while you are traveling abroad.
Do Your Research
Before you travel, try to get some information about the places to which you are going. The easiest marks for thieves are always locals who don't know the common scams, so do a little bit of reserach before you get on the plane. Look up common scams in your area of choice and try to avoid looking like an easy target. If you do your research, you will be able to avoid those individuals who want to prey on your naivete.
Get Local Advice
Thanks to the internet, you can get information from locals in the area to which you are traveling today. Go online to forums centered around your destination of choice and ask questions. Locals know the spots to avoid, how to make sure that you don't fall for common scams and who to talk to if yo udo find yourself in real trouble. Spend some time talking to the real people of the country you are visiting so you can find out exactly what goes on in their world.
Stay in Contact
Someone should always know where you are at all times. If you are travelling with a group, make sure that someone always has a cell phone. If you are travelling alone, check in with your hotel or resort and let them know that you plan on returning that evening. Make sure you have a contact stateside who can check on you any time you are going out - you never know how much a simple phone call can help.
Use Common Sense
Finally, use common sense! If an activity would be dangerous at home, it is dangerous abroad. Don't trust strangers, don't waive your money around and always make sure that you stick to populated areas. One of the biggest dangers to tourists is the temporary stupidity that comes along with vacations, so make sure you avoid it as best you can!
David Firester is founder of TRAC Intelligence, a intelligence analysis firm.