The last thing anyone wants while traveling is hassle of any sort, and that makes safety tips for backpackers very important. By its very nature, backpacking inherently has more risk than more formal and packaged travel, so it‘s crucial to be aware of anything that could turn your trip from a memorable one into something you want to forget. Backpackers are usually adventurous souls but that shouldn’t mean they throw caution out the window in the search for travel thrills. Here are some safety tips for backpackers.
1. Keep Documents Safe
The most basic of safety tips for backpackers is about looking after your travel documents. Don’t just shove them in a handy pocket in your rucksack. Before going on your trip, take 2 copies of everything. Also, scan them and email copies of them to yourself. This includes – passport, reservations and tickets. Swap 1 copy of your documents with a travel buddy. When there is a safe at your accommodation, lock them away. This way, you should never be without your crucial papers.
2. Leave the Valuables at Home
Everything that is eye candy for thieves really should be left at home. This is difficult because you really do want your phone, camera, and perhaps even iPod with you. There’s no need to take you tablet or laptop because if you really need to get online, there are always Internet cafes. The best solution, if affordable, is to have a smartphone that accomplishes everything for you in one package. Another of the safety rules for backpackers concerns jewelry. It’s simple really – leave it all at home. That is, unless you are traveling alone, or with a girlfriend, in which case, a cheap wedding ring will often stave off unwanted attention. This is one of the popular ways for female backpackers to stay safe.
3. Rules for Money
It is essential that you do not “advertize” your cash and credit cards. Keep your cash in various places in your backpack, and only keep the amount you need for the day easily accessible. If you have to get more out, do it discretely and away from potential prying eyes. Only take one credit card and keep it with you at all times and away from your travel documentation. Don’t forget to inform your bank you are traveling and to where, and also, remember the general safety rules for using ATMs – particularly in remote areas.
4. First Aid
We know that space is precious in our luggage but one of the important tips for backpackers to stay safe is to carry a first aid kit. It should contain the rudimentary items like sticking plasters, some bandaging, diarrhea tablets, and pain killers, but also, anything specific to the destination you’re traveling to – such as malaria tablets and water purifiers. Also important is medication. If you take regular medication, do not assume you can get it where you’re going, or that the drugs name is the same. Stock up and take sufficient with you.
5. Secure Your Backpack
One of the key investments you should make along with a sturdy but lightweight backpack is locks to make it secure. Backpacks are attractive targets to thieves so anything that deters them or makes it more of an inconvenience to them – like locks - is going to be in your favor.
6. Keep Vigilant
Knowing a little about the risk factors or potential dangers of the places you are traveling to is all part of having a good experience. Do your research before you go so you know what to look out for. For example, know which areas are susceptible to pickpockets and what the common travel scams are. Don’t pick a hostel in an unlit back street, nor is a remote part of town. If you are traveling alone check out Kati’s article travel.allwomenstalk.com for relevant advice.
One of the seemingly less-palatable safety tips for backpackers is with regard to the treatment of beggars. Many backpackers travel to some of the poorest parts of the world where it can be so easy to be swayed by a sight that pulls at your heartstrings. Kids who look like they haven’t been fed for a month are hard to walk away from. Firstly, if you give to someone, you’ll find yourself overwhelmed by many others, as you’ve just made yourself an easy target. Secondly, if you really can’t resist the temptation to give, do not give money. Buy food and hand that over instead.
Safety tips for backpackers are designed to stop you worrying about your belongings and your person, instead allowing you concentrate on having fun and getting the most from your experience. If you're an experienced backpacker, what other safety tips can you share?