Gap Year Safe travel
The vast majority of gappers and independent travellers will experience a relatively trouble free time but to travel safely, keep in mind some of the following points:
Possible dangerous hotspots & countries
If you are unsure whether a country is safe to travel through, consult the FCO website before travelling for the latest travel advice.
Also when travelling, always let people know your travel plans and whenever possible, leave contact details. Carrying a mobile phone with a locally purchased sim card may also help with regards to keeping in touch as well as for emergencies. Keeping spare fully recharged batteries for mobile phones will also help.
Most travellers will not experience any serious crimes or incidents. Even the perception of crime will be low as you will be frequently surrounded by other travellers on the backpacker trail. Your confidence will also grow as you become accustomed to your new environment. Using your common sense is the best way to assess and cope with each situation and confrontation should be avoided whenever possible.
Try to stay positive and look after your money and valuables by using a money belt and keeping some on your person and some in your hotel.
General Safety Tips
Many of these tips are based on common sense and may help you deal with people, situations or events in a new country or location:
• Spend some time researching your destination to find problem areas.
• Avoid walking alone after dark in an unknown environment or an area which is deemed to be unsafe at night.
• Avoid wearing expensive jewellery, clothes and other valuable items.
• Note down contact numbers for embassies, health clinics or hospitals and any other organisation which may be of assistance to you in the event of an emergency.
• Learn and respect local customs. This may help you to avoid causing offence and deal with any unnecessary situations that may arise.
• Do not accept or agree to carry any parcels or objects from strangers or casual acquaintances.
• Keep a record and photocopies of all important documents and contact numbers in a separate place away from the originals. Leave copies with friends and relations in case of emergencies and email them to yourself as well.
• Be cautious at ATMs or cash machines. If you any doubts, find another machine or return later.
• Alcohol related problems are numerous for travellers who drink to excess or are unable to remain clear headed after a few drinks. Drinking responsibly and in moderation can add to the enjoyment of travelling. Avoid drinking on an empty stomach and if possible, drink some water to counter the effects of alcohol and dehydration. Never drink and drive.
• For many travellers and especially women, keep an eye on your drinks to avoid them being spiked and ask a friend to do the same when you have to visit the toilets.
Finally, by taking the time to prepare for your destination , you will be able to enjoy your travels without spending valuable time on problems resulting from a lack of preparation and freely available information.