Is your destination safe to travel
Worrying about the potential dangers which await you in a foreign land can be a little overwhelming particularly if you have not done a lot of travel. The best approach to this fear is to remember your worries are often exaggerated by the unknown element of travel overseas.
Dwelling on your safety while planning your trip will inevitably lead to further paranoia yet ignoring any potential risks only furthers your chance of being robbed or worse.
Look at it this way, Australia has many visitors and travelers arriving every year and they will have many worries about travelling in your home land. Speak to any British backpacker and they will be quietly shitting themselves about snakes and sharks, killer rips (thanks Bondi Rescue), jellyfish and huge unforgivable landscapes and don't even mention the spiders. Many are seriously concerned that they will be bitten by any one of the many deadly insects which call Australia home and spend their last few minutes of life in unimaginable pain. It is not to say that the danger does not exist, but for those of us who live here it is not really a daily concern. The unknown and exaggerated can lead to this sort of worry.
What I am getting at is that any danger is amplified in our heads because it is sandwiched up in a big terrifying unfamiliar world. So, when you are planning your trip to a far-off land, how worried should you be about your safety?
Firstly, it is worth saying that there are some genuine risks out there and in some parts of the world these are so great you should consider whether travel to that location is worth it. These are normally caused by political instability, general high levels of violent crime, or it may be that a single girl might be at more risk than usual.
For most locations popular with Aussies and other tourists the threat to your personal safety will vary but as at home common sense and awareness of local conditions are the best defense when it comes to your personal safety.
Perhaps the biggest dangers you face while on the road are from common accidents. This might be in the form of a traffic accident out of your control or an incident that involves you, alcohol and or drugs. When you are asking is it safe there? It might be worth asking the same question before using the local transport on offer in places like Africa, South America and Nepal/India.
You may have little other choice but to ride in some dodgy packed out little bus: but this is probably a far greater risk in most places than violent crime. Same goes for being hammered on drugs or drink in any big city; at home or abroad it's always a risk.
When it comes to petty crime; like the loss of your valuables then and travel scams then yes, some places there is a decent chance you will fall victim to theft of some kind. The chance of this theft being violent is usually low. Same goes for travel scams, which are another common form of tourist rip off from Rome to Mumbai. These scams usually involve fast talking con men rather than a fast right hand to the head.
Violent crime does happen, but you have to be either very unlucky or have low levels of common sense as it is pretty rare in Asia and Europe and not as common in African and South American countries as you might think (with honorable exceptions). Sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Latin America are places where daylight muggings do occur, but this is a risk minimized by simply not having anything of valuable on your person, or as little as possible.
For these types of places do your homework and know where the risky areas are in your chosen destination. Ask at your hotel, read your guidebook and be alert by not alarmed (like a fridge magnet once say). Choose not to wander around alone day or night, and avoid getting pissed and walking home from the local pub (taxi!). Using an ATM at 3am in places like Rio, Cape Town or Nairobi? You may as well take that money and give it to charity.
Ask hotel or hostel staff about safe taxis and keep your wits about you wherever you are. As a tourist you are a target because you are likely to have more money than locals and you are easily spotted, so use common sense an don't flaunt your cash and carry as little as you can with you when you are out and about.
Many cities will have well defined tourist areas with a high concentration of hotels/hostels to house the well healed. This area might be safe but in many cities straying outside these zones can sometimes be a risk, even by a few streets. Always ask at your hotel where to avoid (we are talking Africa and Latin America again).
Your safety while travelling is an incredibly tough thing to either generalize or give advice on. At the risk of sounding negative Aussies can at times generalize many foreign places as unsafe, while forgetting that many of these places are far more law abiding than home.
Drunken public behavior in many countries is taboo, and many places have harsh penalties for even minor crimes. Crimes against tourists in countries that rely on the tourist trade can be horrific. Just don't forget a night out in any big Aussie city can barely be described as a totally safe experience.
If you can ignore the 'A Current Affair' world view that it's safer to stay indoors, away from the microwave and not calling the plumber for fear of rip off that's a start. From there it's just a matter of doing a bit of general research on your destination and using common sense when you get there.
There are only a few places so unsafe that you have to avoid them totally, a few which need extra caution while for the majority of destinations any risks can be managed with common sense.
Sophia D'Souza is a Content Marketer, Blogger and Story Teller at Exit Timeshare Now. She enjoys connecting with people, keeping herself updated with the latest in the field of business, technology, travel & fashion and spending quality time with her family.