We all like traveling, but this wonderful times can turn into nightmare if we are not cautious...
During my trips I have experienced a lot of good stuff...but also been in some really bad situations... so bad that I almost got shot once, so I will write about all the most common problems that happened to me or known people for you to do your best to avoid it.
Don't let this article discourage you, but use it to make you aware, world is not pink and smiley, bad people lurk in every corner of the world and they will do really nasty things in order to get your money or worse.
Probably it is the most common problem that tourist have, specially in big cities like Paris or Barcelona, where there are true experts in the "art" of stealing. Loosing your phone in Barcelona can be sad, but loosing your passport outside EU can be a real problem, so here are my advices:
Many people drink alcohol while traveling, it's normal, but one should control him/herself. Getting drunk in an unknown city can be a real problem, sometimes you can be lucky and wake up in a Chinese illegal hostel in Moscow but others you can loose all your belongings or even worse, so control yourself, please.
I usually control myself abroad, but sometimes parties get crazy and you loose it, ok don't worry, here are my advices:
But there is a big problem that many people forgets and can cost even your life, as it almost happened to me the first night I went out in China: DON'T LET UNKNOWN PERSON BRING YOU DRINKS!!
There are sooo many drugs that one can simply drop in your glass and make you asleep or worse that you need to be really careful!
In my case we were offered a six pack of open beers by a group of Chinese from other table but just when I was about to drink an American guy came to our table and told us that they put something earlier inside, and that the beers didn't came from waiter... so you see, danger is everywhere if you are not aware!
It's becoming quite trendy now to go to the worst suburbs of the cities to see how "real" people live, but you need to be careful, if locals don't venture there it's obvious you must not go there if you don't wish problems... After all what's the point of seeing a place where drugs and prostitution are in every corner? In such places you are just rising your chances to get into troubles.
Hostel safety can deceive you, always choose best rated (or good rated at least) hostel, don't you just care about the price!
Hostels can seem safe on internet but the people sleeping there can be really bad, I have seen how a Korean guy got stolen 400 euro from his locker (suposed to be safe) since all keys open every locker, or safe rooms for lugagge where anybody can come in, and for girls there is even worst case if they are alone in their rooms with other men, thats why now there is in many hostels female dorms, to prevent this kind of stuff that sadly, actually happens.
Also my advice is to sleep with your secret pocket or confortable bag attached to your leg inside the bed, so you keep your phone, main wallet and passport safe in the night and close to you.
At least here, it's just you money what is at risk, these are some basic rules to avoid being fooled by merchants.
food and water
This one is short, but important, since many times we forget about being careful while eating. Before you go abroad, make sure the tap water is drinkable for you! (Egyptians and Indians can drink their water but if you try it you will get a nice diarrhea)
Also remember that ice cubes are often made by tap water, and some vegetables and fruits are washed by it, for tea is no problem since water is boiled.
In case of food you need to be really careful in street markets, even if a lot of locals eat there, it doesn't mean your stomach is ready or that the food is well prepared, I got food poisoning in the famous Budapest market for example.
bugs and diseases
Usually people cares about this, but you need to be careful, usually every EU country has "foreign vaccination services" (for inmigrants who go back to their country usually) but there, doctors will inform you perfectly about which vaccine you may need.
For example, if you plan to hike in Austria or Slovakia you should have vaccine against Ricketsia, transmited by tick (that nasty bug that sucks you blood and gets attached to your skin)... in those countries vaccine is on the compulsory vaccination program, but for other EU countries, like Spain or Belgium, that vaccine is not included so you need to be careful.
Also when traveling to South Asia or Africa, Malaria vaccine is totally needed. It's always wise to carry some OTC medicine for common diseases like flu or diarrhea, that can really ruin your trip but have easy solution.
Of course, you should always bring a mosquito repellent! Since some mosquitos can infect you with non treatable diseases such as Dengue fever! You can find more info about repellents here.
embassies and insurance
It's always good to write down the adress and phone of your national embassy in the city you will go. In case you loose your passport or you have any issue, the embassy staff will help you (like providing you with a temporary passport in order to not miss your flights)
Another very important thing is to have a proper travel insurance, for the price of two meals you can feel safe abroad, covering things from lost lugagge, to hospital costs, including thefts, car accidents... So it's essential.
Finally I want to tell you the golden rule of safety abroad: Don't do what you wouldn't do in your home country
I hope you liked the article and get to know that you need to take extra care of yourself while traveling!
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