8 Tips for Safety In Large Cities
Safety in large cities in a common topic among groups and individuals who are traveling abroad. Volunteer trips can often take us through some of the largest international cities. When you’re in a foreign community, it’s important to make safety your first priority so you can avoid any type of accident, injury or loss.
Top 8 Safety Tips:
1. Research your destination.
Familiarize yourself with the city. Get to know its hot spots and determine where you want to visit before you go. Plan out the best times to visit certain areas and make sure you budget accordingly.
Know how big the city, venue, or event is prior to arriving, and predetermine how you’re going to travel from one place to the next throughout your trip. You’ll want to know where to find public transportation, as that will most likely be your best (and cheapest!) option for extensive inner city travel.
2. Travel light.
Take only what you’ll need for the day. It’s always a good idea to travel with your ID, some cash, and some water. Anything else, including credit cards and your passport, should be left in the safety of your hotel room. Unless you know for sure you’ll need it, it’s best to leave any irreplaceable items at your hotel. If you can’t risk losing it, don’t risk bringing it.
Pro tip: Avoid sporting fanny-packs or carrying large backpacks. Use a small, over-the-shoulder bag instead. This will prevent you from looking like a tourist, who stand out as easy targets.
3. Secure your belongings.
Bags with zippers or exposed pockets are an easy target for pick-pocketers. To prevent theft, shorten the strap on your bag or purse so that it fits snugly under your arm and hang it across the front of your body. Avoid keeping important items in your back pant-pockets; opt for the front pockets instead.
The front pockets of your pants or jackets are the safest places for your valuables, as they are not so easily accessed by a thief. Items are also less likely to fall out. If you’re not comfortable storing your valuables in plain-ole pockets, there are more creative options to try.
4. Be discreet.
Don’t rummage through your bag or count your cash in public. As much as possible, keep your purse or bag closed and secured. Keep your money out of sight, unless you’re paying for something. And don’t waste time putting your cash away. If needed, you can quickly zip up your cash and organize the clutter later when you’re in a more secured place.
5. Determine a meeting place.
Whether you’re planning on splitting up or not, it’s still a good idea to have a predetermined meeting place in case the group gets separated. Whenever you travel to a new section of the city, make sure you come up with a new meetings spot. Any meeting spot you pick should be in a safe place that’s easy to see and fits your entire group without inhibiting pedestrians mulling about.
Pro-tip: Are you touring somewhere inside? Then we suggest determining two meeting places – one within the building and one outside.
6. Anticipate crowds.
It’s likely there will be large crowds–it’s a city after all! With the crowds come hoards of people trying to do or see the same things at the same time. Be patient with those around you and anticipate having to wait in lines or navigate through crowds.
When walking through the city, stick with your group. Initiate a buddy system if you must to ensure everyone arrives where they should when they need to.
You can’t enjoy your trip abroad if you’re dealing with a head cold. Staying healthy should be a top priority. Lots of germs and diseases accompany large cities and crowds. Before you leave for your trip, make sure you’re properly vaccinated and carry hand sanitizer with you. Make sure to sanitize every once in awhile to prevent getting sick.
8. Avoid suspicious activity.
Lookout for odd behavior or places that make you uncomfortable. Trust your gut and stay in your group. There is power in numbers, after all. Stick to traveling during the day and only use the main roads. A back-alley route may be faster, but it’s not worth the risk of stumbling upon a dangerous situation. Be smart about where you go and how you get there.