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Staying Safe In Unfamiliar Cities

It can be so easy to get carried away with the beauty and new-ness of an unfamiliar city in a new country. While sight-seeing and tourist destinations are always a great time, these can also be very dangerous places for oblivious people who are unfamiliar with the territory, and it will be noticeable, especially by thieves and pickpockets. When traveling, there are a few tips that are incredibly important to remember to make sure you stay safe and your belongings stay yours.

1. Your back pocket is not your pocket

As a member of the crew in my study abroad program told us, “Your back pocket is not your pocket”. This means that anything you keep in your back pocket is very likely to be stolen. It’s hard to keep an eye on your back pocket because, well, its behind you. In a crowded metro or sidewalk, all it takes is someone bumping into you to have all of your money and personal information.

2. Stay vigilant

Be aware of your surroundings wherever you go. Keep an eye on things like people who draw attention to themselves- they may be acting to be a distraction. If a crowd suddenly forms around you, hold your belongings as close to yourself as possible.

3. Do research before you visit a certain city or country

Doing research is invaluable when you’re trying to learn what would be the best way to stay safe. For example, in some countries, using public transportation may be safer than others. But in some other places, you might be better off relying on something like uber.

There are also several products that can help enhance your safety when in an unfamiliar place.

  1. Money belts are the less noticeable cousin to the tackiest accessory ever- the fanny pack. They basically act as a flat sort of wallet with a zipper that straps around your waist and lays flat against your body. You would definitely notice someone trying to pick pocket you then.
  2. RFID-blocking products

Several money belts and wallets are now being manufactured with RFID-blocking capabilities to prevent card skimming, or “electronic pickpocketing”. Because someone can get your card information just by walking past you, these products have become more and more important.

Another incredibly important thing is to trust your gut. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t, and this is incredibly important to pay attention to. Also, using common sense. Do not go to or leave a bar by yourself, get in a taxi by yourself, or become to intoxicated to remain aware of your surroundings and circumstances. When you don’t know the city, and especially when you don’t know the language, situations can get out of hand fast. Take care of yourself and take care of your friends to ensure that you have the best time you can overseas.

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Allyson

Allyson is a junior at the University of Akron in Ohio, USA. She is pursuing a Bachelor's degree in media production with a minor in anthropology. Allyson kicked off her dream of traveling around the world with Semester at Sea during the Fall 2016 Voyage. She visited 11 countries throughout Europe, Africa, and Latin America. Some of her life goals include road-tripping the entire length of the Pan-American Highway and living on a kibbutz in Israel. Her dream career is to travel around the world making documentaries. To her, the best parts of traveling are learning new things from other people, and constantly hunting for the best cup of coffee in the entire world.


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