By Beth Klemick
Is Mexico safe? How safe is Egypt? Am I going to be safe in Paris?
I have found the most common question about safety abroad is one of the most difficult to answer, even by the most experienced traveler. There is no tried and true answer to the age-old safety question; in fact, these days there are probably more questions about safety than answers. Safety is a key factor to be taken into consideration when planning your travels. Although anyone you ask will never be able to guarantee your safety, talk to as many people who have traveled to your destination. Those who have spent time and experienced the destination can provide insight into your destination and reveal helpful tips and possible areas/situations to avoid altogether. Here is a list of general precautions to adhere to in any travel destination:
- Do not walk alone after dark on deserted streets. Do not walk alone at night period, and this applies to men and women!
- Make sure your luggage is locked when traveling by bus or airplane. Don't leave unlocked valuables in your hotel room.
- Protect your valuables, especially in crowded places (don't wear expensive jewelry, don't carry cameras loosely around your neck, find a good way to conceal your money, etc.) Best to leave anything of value at home.
- Use general precaution against theft of personal belongings and rental cars.
- Always carry your passport or a copy; sometimes the police will check your passport.
For complete and current travel conditions and advisories in your particular travel destination, please refer to the US Department of State's website. It is a good idea to read these travel advisories, but don't let them or a guidebook be the only source of your information; gather as many sources as possible. This isn't going to guarantee your safety, but it can make you more vigilant of situations that may arise.