Staying safe abroad

One of the biggest concerns many people have when going abroad is how to stay safe. Everyone has heard the horror stories and although terrible things could happen to foreigners, it’s easy to stay safe when you remain smart and in control.

Just because you can drink doesn’t mean you should

There’s a story I often refer to when reminding people how important it is to take care of yourself in unfamiliar situations. After graduating university, I toured through Europe with 50 other young people. As you can imagine, our ages, life experiences and expectations of the trip varied tremendously. As you can also imagine, some participants were straight out of high school and were being offered alcohol legally for the first time in their lives. Trouble.

It was quite interesting to hear morning after stories of regret, embarrassment or uncertainty because my fellow tour members were being served for the first time and they went a bit overboard. While making mistakes is natural and for the most part, expected, realize that one drink too many could turn very serious very quickly.

Be aware of stereotypes

I hate to say it, but it’s true. Many young, American women abroad are categorized as easy. I’ve heard stories of men buying women drinks and expecting much, much more than the lady was willing to give. Have fun, but be firm and realistic. Don’t lead anyone on because often times, men are very straightforward and aggressive with their requests.

Have a sober friend

It sucks, being the only one drinking water while everyone else is dancing on the bar or drunkenly singing “Wonderwall” at karaoke for the 31st time. But next time everyone goes out, drinks are on them. It’s important that at least one person bites the bullet and remains completely in control.

Always have a friend 

Drunk or not, it’s unwise to walk the streets of any destination by yourself after dark. It’s important to always be aware of where you are, who and what is around you, and what you would need to do in case of an emergency. Do your best to stay in crowded areas.

Be aware of your surroundings

However, it is also important to remember that crowded areas make for a crowded mind. It’s overwhelming to take in new sights for the first time and you may forget where you put your wallet or perhaps you set your backpack down so you could really capture the beauty of that sunset. Then guess what, your stuff is gone. Never leave your things unattended, even for a nanosecond. People make livings off taking advantage of unsuspecting tourists. Don’t be one of them.

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