Staying safe in major cities isn’t quite as daunting as it sounds, today we’re going to share some great tips and tricks to help keep yourself safe in an unfamiliar place!
- All you’ll want to do for the first couple of days is explore and check out the area, which is great but a good idea is to go carefully, watch the locals and observe how everyone else is behaving. The end goal is to look confident and not like it is your first time. You’ll want to blend in. Unfortunately there are a minority of horrible people out there who will try and take advantage of your uncertainty. So don’t give them reason to believe you are uncertain.
- Always carry cash. Not hundreds of Dollars/ Pounds/ Euros etc, but enough to make sure if you have to get an emergency taxi home, you can actually afford the taxi. In unknown places it is much better to be safe, than sorry. Especially if travelling alone, when you don’t have someone to fall back on, contact or call. If you keep some cash in your purse but also keep some stashed away in a pocket of your bag, even if you loose your purse, you’ll still have enough to get home. The chances of you needing to get home like that are slim, but again, it is better to be safe, than sorry.
- For those of you who know and use Google Maps, you’ll know it is a god send, however, it is a very good idea to not be actively following it step by step. A sure-fire way to know you’re on unknown land is relying on your map app. And unfortunately this again, may encourage that small minority to take advantage of you. A better way to navigate is to maybe open the app, check quickly and close it again. Go into the nearest store and check in with someone who works there, often in big cities even the locals will ask for a little bit of help, and most people are more than willing to go the extra mile!
- Be aware of your surroundings at all times, a good idea is to pick a large building or statue close to where you’re staying, make a mental note that it is close to home. Use Google Maps and drop a pin on your home location so if needed, you can remind yourself. Walk confidently and watch the people around you. If something doesn’t feel right then it probably isn’t, one thing we have learnt is, you should always trust your instinct. That fight or flight feeling is reminiscent of our caveman days, so use them to your advantage. Never do anything you feel unsure about.
- Don’t trust anyone. Just because they’re saying they are someone or something does not mean that they are. I had an experience like this at an airport in New York, as soon as me and my friend had stepped foot past security a man took my friends bag, she willingly followed him, because this is what taxi drivers do at home. Immediately it felt weird. He took us past the taxi rank and a black 4 x 4 in an underground car park. There were no signs for taxi on this car, no stamps on the windows or anything. I asked for his taxi licence and he gave me his normal driving licence. He joked about me not liking him to my friend. I asked how much it would be to our hotel, he said $90. Reluctantly, and in hindsight now, we should have refused and been stronger he drove us away, luckily we got to our hotel but he tried to charge us $124 and tips on top. I argued with him, because he had originally said $90. In the end we gave him $90 and managed to escape. We were lucky. So I can’t stress how important it is to not believe what anyone says. If you’re unsure, leave. Say no, and be good at saying no. You don’t owe anybody anything.
- If someone asks if you’ve ever been here before, lie through your teeth and say yes. Especially if it’s a situation you’re not comfortable in, if people think you know the area they are less likely to try and take advantage of your situation.
These are just a few small pointers and tips that could quite possibly remove you from a dangerous situation. Never be afraid to say no, and never be afraid to trust your instinct.