Top 5 Travel Tips: Personal Safety Tips | Nik Snacks

This is the THIRD of FIVE posts featuring travel tips from me, Nik Snacks. Each post will have tips to help you live your best travel life with 0% hassle and 100% fun. 

IF you missed the last post, click HERE for 5 travel snack tips, from me, Nik Snacks.

I am often told by friends and family alike that I am BRAVE to travel solo to international destinations. I agree, but it's not as daunting and frightening as some make it out to be.
And then PLAN some more--that's how I get the most out of every situation. Going into it all with a sense of adventure and wonder will DO wonders for your travel life. Along with that sense of adventure, you cannot throw caution to the wind and have a devil may care attitude about traveling through a country of which you are not a citizen. I DO take personal safety precautions because I don't want to end up a subject of a Lifetime movie.

So, here are 5 personal safety tips and suggestions for traveling abroad; while not all of them apply to every person, at every location, or in every situation, in some cases, putting them into practice may save you or a loved one from serious danger.

Safety in numbers: Choose an Airbnb experience OR Yelp! event to be around others

1. Be aware of your surroundings.

Know where you're going, what time you're supposed to be at your designated place and have alternative routes mapped out just in case your first plan does not work out.

When I was in Paris, I planned to go to Mass at the only English-speaking Catholic Church in the city. I mapped out how to get there, what time the metro came, which streets to walk down and what time services were. WELL--when it was time to get off the train, the exit I needed to take was blocked. When I exited the metro station, the street was filled with armed military guards with machine guns and rows and rows of bullets crossing their bodies. To say I was scared was an understatement. I figured "Let me get to the Church, I'll be okay" But EVERY INTERSECTION WAS BLOCKED. And then--I had to use the restroom. BADLY. Long story short, the military guards and theblocked streets were because the French president was being inauguarted and it was his parade day. I didn't know that. I thought there was another terrorist attack. I ended up having "church" in a drug store with a large macaron and a shot of espresso. I was done for the day.
2. Join in group activities like tours, seated dinners, movies, performance art shows.

As a food tour guide for an amazing company, I've learned to travel via food tours in different cities, not only for enjoyment but for education about the city I am in.
Airbnb isn't just great for finding lodging, it's great to source activities in and around your chosen destination. Also, you can sign up to eat with locals who prepare food for you and other guests in their homes in a litany of cities on the social app, EatWith.

In Montreal, I signed up for a FREE walking tour and ended up meeting a group of friends who came from all around the world to meet up in the old city and WE all ended up hanging out, eating dinner and it was a magical night. I never felt so safe while being so far from home.

3. Hotels chains offer best safety. Choose Airbnbs and rental properties in safe neighborhoods near public transportation or major tourist attractions.

I only travel to cities that have extensive, reliable public transportation systems. I am not against renting a car, but when you add up rental + petrol + parking + time wasted = I'd rather take the bus or an Uber.
4. Learn key phrases in foreign language.

I don't think I need to expound upon this one.
Hello, Goodbye, Please, Thank you, Where is the bathroom and Help are the bottom of the basement, bare minimum you should know in every country you visit.
5. Do not dress as a tourist (ie. American). Research the typical mode of dress for the season in which you are traveling. Avoid sneakers, fanny packs, carrying big bottles of water.

Pickpocketers, con artists and other swindlers will be able to spot you from a mile away.

BONUS: 6. Contact the American Embassy to make them aware of your presence in the foreign country you are traveling. The embassy can also provide additional safety tips germane to the area.

There's that phrase "Safety in numbers..." and it's real and true. Take note of these 5 things beFORE you go. Three times is the charm and you have TWO more travel tip posts coming from this one blogger you know: Me. 


Next up: Top 5 Carry-On Items FOR Traveling

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About the author

Nikki Miller-Ka

Nikki Miller-Ka

Ms. Miller-Ka is a classically trained chef with a BA in English from East Carolina University and a Culinary Arts Associate Degree from Le Cordon Bleu-Miami.

Formerly, she’s worked as a researcher, an editorial assistant, reporter and guest blogger for various publications and outlets in the Southeast. She has also worked as a catering chef, a pastry chef, a butcher, a baker, and a biscuit-maker. Presently, she is a food editor, freelance food writer, and a tour guide for Taste Carolina Gourmet Food Tours.

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