Backpacker Advice – Safety and Security


I will start by saying that personally, I have never had any safety or security problems while traveling – apart from having a bottle of half-empty shower gel after I left it under the shower (I was emptied!). If you follow basic advice and use common sense, you should not either.

Destination Security

You should always check with your country's foreign affairs office to find out if your destination is safe. This will provide your government's official position on the safety of this destination.

However, a travel warning from your office abroad does not necessarily mean that you can not leave. Often, there can only be a small part of this country that is not sure, but the Foreign Office will declare the entire nation unstable. It is therefore a good idea to check with other foreign offices and offices. What to do if your destination becomes dangerous once there

You are not likely to experience a political change, especially outside the cities, but this can happen – military coups in Bangkok seem to occur all three or four years.

Usually, tourists are not a target and your trip will not be affected, but you should always avoid mass events or demonstrations.

If you find yourself in the highly unofficial situation of feeling in danger or a target, you have two options. The first is to go to your embassy. Be aware that embassies can sometimes become their target – if your embassy is a target, then neighboring embassies will often provide you with a refugee – for example, a British citizen should go to the Australian, American or Canadian embassies and vice versa.

Record the embassy addresses before leaving.

The second option is to get out as quickly as possible. This can be as simple as taking a bus outside the city, but as complex as calling the foreign office for specialist advice. I must repeat that it is extremely rare and that it has not happened to anyone else besides me.

Safety Precautions for Females

You must dress properly when traveling to certain destinations. Respect religious customs with respect to the dress code and avoid sexual harassment by dressing conservatively. Remember to wear shoes in which you are able to run, in high risk areas.

Avoid being alone after dark. If that is unavoidable stick to well-lit and crowded areas.

Keep a rape alarm with you when you go to places where you may be vulnerable. Make sure it's easy to access – in your pocket or attached (not in) your bag.

Western women can often seem vagabond to certain cultures, so if they are harassed, ignore them or tell them that you do not like them and that they should back off. If you follow, enter a store or hotel and tell the owner. If necessary, have them call the police.

If you are caught or attacked, shout as loudly as you can or activate your rape alarm, do not try to plead or bargain. Push back, use the objects around you and aim your head, knees or soldiers.

If you share a dormitory with another traveler who makes you feel uncomfortable, you should report it to the hostel management – ask to move if necessary. Most hostels offer services reserved for women, so if you are not comfortable sharing with men, this is the ideal solution.

How to Avoid Being Stolen

A similar principle not to be stolen anywhere – use your common sense.

Do not show your valuables, especially not in a high-risk area or in a country where valuables are rare or hard to find.

Never carry too much on yourself and make sure that valuables are secure and understood, either in a zipped pocket or in a locked bag. Keep other valuables safe in your hostel.

Mingle. What I mean by that, is not to act as a tourist. Do not jump through this big bundle of notes in your wallet, looking for the right currency.

Ask your hostel for advice. Do not go to an area that has been deprecated or where you will stand out and become a target.

Stay alert. Especially when in ATMs and when delivering currency. The prime locations for pickpockets are markets and transport terminals.

If you are going to drink, do not take out anything of value and be very careful.

Do not sleep in public transport and do not store items you do not want to lose in the upper compartments. According to what I have heard from other travelers, it is the most common scenario where people steal objects.

Do not keep your valuables together. Especially in cash – always have an emergency reserve, that is to say in a pair of socks. Documents also, you should have photocopies of your passport kept separately from the original.

I'm not a big fan of bags / wallets / seat belts, I believe that they act as magnets for thieves – alerting them to the fact that you have something precious about you. If you insist on taking one, never go out in public, always move to a discreet place.

If you feel threatened, look for exit points and plan to leave or even run.

How to protect your belongings in hostels

Everyone has these false misconceptions that it is the locals who are trying to get their loved ones, but the sad reality is the greatest threat to your companions of travel.

Enough of course, considering that you share a room with an average of 6 foreigners per night. However, it is important to remember that only a tiny minority of people resort to theft.

Most hikers are not wealthy and it can be very tempting for some people to help themselves – even for things you would not expect. Do not put anything outside people, from chapsticks to shippers; tuna with toothpaste – I heard the spell.

The problem is that most people trust too much; The rule of thumb in hostels is to trust no one with your beloved ones, especially strangers.

The majority of crimes are opportunistic, not planned.

Leaving your iPhone in charge unattended, is giving someone the opportunity to steal it – do not give people opportunities.

If you leave something unattended, make sure it's locked – this also applies to sleep. Always keep your valuables in a locker or hostel safely.


Although I mentioned it above, I have never been a victim of a backpack crime, I certainly came across a scam or two – and you too.

They target tourists, so you will probably find them in most tourist destinations you visit, especially in developing countries.

Some crooks have very good methods to get your money. Go on the feeling of the intestines, you can usually feel when something is wrong and if it sounds too good to be true, it is probably the case. Never give money, property or details until you are sure everything is legitimate.

Only use authorized taxis, do not use cards in reputable shops or hostels. Once again, common sense is the key, use it and you will not be a victim.

Personally, the focus of the scams is Hanoi, Vietnam – every hour I was there I was the target of crooks.

Here is a list of some scams that you may encounter, some more serious than others:


Friendly and generous seller. Someone starts a conversation with you on the street, usually very friendly; "Where are you from? … Oh I love it there … Do you know this or that?" After a while, they will offer you a "companions" package for a massage, for example, that they will arrange for you over the phone. However, when you arrive, you find that the owner of the massage parlor was not aware of this case, or the salon does not even exist.

How to avoid: After a few of them, you just know, and ignore the conversation in the first place. Never pay for anything until you can see it.

The English student. Once again someone will come to be very friendly to you, they will ask you if they can speak with you in English because they are learning. They then ask for help with school fees or books, etc.

This may seem authentic, but it happened 3 times in 3 days in Hanoi. There are many scams like this – that play to your emotions – but most of these sob stories are scams.

How to avoid: Just say sorry, I can not help or I do not have money on me. If you feel bad, donate to a registered charity.

The scooter seller. A guy on a moped will stop next to you and offer to sell you something. Usually, they will just take your money and leave without giving you the product.

How to avoid: Simple, do not buy anything from someone sitting on a vanishing vehicle.

The distractor. Extremely common. A distraction will be put in place as kids coming to you, people wanting a photo with you, someone who throws you something, and so on. Meanwhile, someone else will choose your pocket.

How to avoid: Do not carry too much valuables on your person. Make sure your bag is locked and the pockets are zipped. Be vigilant and protect your valuables when smoke screens like this one are put in place.

The fixer. You will be walking down the street confusing your own business when someone will start pointing at your shoes (or bag, or whatever) saying that it is broken and that he needs to Be repaired. Then one or two other people will start saying the same thing. They will try to repair your shoe while you are still walking and charging for the service.

How to avoid: This has happened to more than one occasion. I started by simply saying "no", if it did not work, I crossed the street and finally started running.

The drug salesman. Simple, someone will offer you medication. If you buy them, they will tip a police officer for a reward.

How to avoid: Obviously, do not buy drugs. If you absolutely must, buy from other travelers, or from someone that a traveler has said to have bought before.

The fake police officer. Someone claiming to be a police officer will ask you to view your passport and pretend that it is counterfeit, or to claim that the money you just bought from a vendor was counterfeit , and will ask you to pay a fine.

How to avoid it: Difficult, but extremely rare because the penalties for crooks are very high. Tell them that you have been advised to always pay fines at a local police station to avoid crooks. If they are real police officers, they should not have a problem with that. Never enter an unmarked police car, ask them to take you to the station in a marked. If they have a problem with that, they are probably a scammer, so call the police or your embassy.

The fake ticket. Someone will sell you a bus or other ticket, that is, just a piece of paper with a writing on it.

How to avoid: Buy directly, from an accredited travel agent, or from a place where a traveling companion has managed to buy.

The credit card. Your card will be scanned twice or numbered.

How to avoid: Never leave your card out of sight. Make sure the traders slide your card in front of you – if they "need to remove it to the machine", ask to follow them. Ask and keep the receipts.

The crossing of borders. You will be asked to take something from the other side of the border, for someone waiting on the other side. This almost certainly means that you are used as a drug mule – and if you are done doing it in some places, it's a goodbye to you.

How to avoid: Never, ever take anything across a border that is not yours. Make sure your bag has not been tampered with.

If you are a victim of a crime

First of all, if you are still threatening with a weapon, always give up your blessings, it is not worth it, d & # 39; As much as you should be fully insured. Nowadays, it does not take much time to cancel and get passports, cards, etc.

You must act immediately if you are a victim of a crime. The first step is the filing of a police report (this could be essential when claiming your insurance). You may even need / want to visit your embassy first depending on the nature of the crime.

You will also need to cancel all stolen items as soon as possible.

Contact your insurance company (which is often free), they can help you cancel the cards and provide money or emergency assistance.

Let your family or friends know that they can help you with cancellations and emergency money, but they will also help you with the moral support you need.

See more at:


Source by Craig J Phillips

About the author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.