So you’re a backpacker and you’re adventuring out into the world soon. To make sure your trip is as enjoyable as possible, read some of our safety tips below:
Do your research
I know what you’re going to say: it’s so much more interesting to backpack through a country without knowing anything about it! I get that, I really do. But staying safe as a backpacker is all about doing your research beforehand. Knowing about things like local customs, most common scams, and general safety concerns only help make your trip more enjoyable.
Get travel insurance
As a backpacker, you might be traveling alone or trying all kinds of exciting activities. Things like scuba diving, hand gliding, and bungee jumping don’t exactly scream “safe”. And you should be able to do them without having to worry! So, get travel insurance before you head off. Make sure it covers medical bills and any adventure sports you might be doing. Better safe than sorry!
Make a copy of important documents
Passports, credit cards, debit cards, visa documents, hostel reservations, bookings: all of that should have an extra copy. Store it in a different place (or save it digitally), so you always have a back-up. And if you’re traveling with a backpacker buddy, make a third copy and swap so you have each other’s information too.
Don’t be flashy
Like any other backpacker, you’ll be traveling with your belongings on you most times. But make sure to keep the valuables safely stored away. Chances are you will already stand out on your own due to your foreign look. So put away jewelry, expensive watches, iPhones, etc.
Separate your cash
As a general rule of thumb, you should be carrying a debit card and a credit card at all times (and ideally two of each). Make sure you don’t store them together in the same place. You will also want to put some cash away in an emergency stash. About $100-$200 will do generally. Keep it deep in your backpack.
A true backpacker loves hostels. But if you’re staying in a shared room, it might be more difficult to keep your things safe. It’s up to you how much you want to trust other travelers. But a good rule of thumb to have is to at least keep your valuables (passport copies, emergency cash, extra credit or debit cards) in a locker.
When you’re discovering a new country, it’s easy to forget this simple safety rule as a backpacker. You may find yourself in a distractingly beautiful place. All you want to do is photograph everything and get to know all the locals. Just make sure you know where your stuff is at all times.
Use common sense
Getting drunk, doing (possibly unknown) drugs, having unprotected sex: these are all basic common sense things to avoid. Just as you would do back home, don’t wander through dark alleys alone at night and don’t accept a ride from a group of strangers. You can still have lots of fun and meet really interesting people. Just remember to stay safe!