Being Safe While Abroad

Due to the recent disappearance of a California student studying abroad in Madrid, we thought compiling a list of helpful tips would help you feel safe while enjoying your time abroad!

Tip #1: Buddy System!
You are never too old, too wise, or too confident for the buddy system! It is simple, yet effective, and proven given it’s timeless success. No matter how well you know your city, it is always a good decision to walk home with at least one friend. Besides having good company to reminisce about the night or day’s events, walking in groups provides for a safer, more secure way of getting home.

Tip #2: Always Carry a Map
Nothing is scarier than being lost in a foreign place with no resources to help you get home. An easy way to avoid this situation is simply carrying a map of the city you are in! In many cities, you can find a map right at an airport information desk before you even step foot out the door. Many times, these maps are complementary or charged at a low cost. Either way, they are very important and you should always pick one up! Take the time to look over your map on the commute to the hotel or hostel. It may be a good idea to plot the attractions you plan to visit in order to get a sense of where they are located. This will also give you an idea of which attractions are closer or farther away from your accommodations. Arrange to visit the ones farther away during the day and the closer ones at night to avoid getting lost far away from your home base when it’s dark.

Tip #3: Read Before You Leave
Another simple way tofeel safe while traveling abroad is to read up on each of the different cities you plan to visit before departing. Try to find out information on the city’s various neighborhoods. Learn which parts are well lit at night, or may be a bit busier, as these areas tend to be safer. Avoid any areas that are remote, dark, and scarce with tourists like yourself. Basically, if there aren’t other tourists there, you probably shouldn’t be there either! Also, check out predeparture ideas from the government for even more travel safety tips!

Tip #4: Have Someone Expecting You
Besides being greeted with a warm welcome upon your arrival, making sure someone is expecting you is another great way to be safe when traveling! Before leaving, contact the people that are expecting your arrival. Also, give out YOUR contact information in order for them to reach you in case you don’t arrive at the specified time. This guarantees that someone will be aware of you if you don’t arrive safely.

Tip #5: Share Your Itinerary
Our last tip of the day is to send out your weekend itinerary and contact/emergency contact information! It doesn’t take long to send your close friends and family back home your itinerary of the weekend and contact information. Make a plan with them to check in at certain times during the day or once you have returned from a weekend traveling to assure that you are safe and sound. In addition to knowing you arrived safely, I am confident that they will want to know all the great details about your trip!

After reading these few tips, you now have the knowledge to be a safe traveler. Share this information with your friends to make sure everyone is having safe and amazing travels! For other great tips on picking out a safe hostel check out our ideas here!

By Rachel