Traveling Safe in a New Country: 14 Pro Tips

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Moving to a new country every two years

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The globe is mostly a welcoming and safe place to explore, making travel one of life’s finest experiences. Still, it’s smart to be careful and check out the area’s status of safety before you arrive in a new environment.

Stick to these simple rules to safeguard yourself and your belongings on your epic journey into a new world.

Table of Contents

Get travel insurance

The first thing to do to travel safely, before you depart, is getting travel insurance. You’ve probably seen this being said so many times but it really is one of the most important things to do before traveling. Because you’re in a new country, things can be very different than what you’re used to. Many people think the rules and habits from their home country will probably also apply in the other country. That is absolutely not the case! Even the most common or simple things can be different.

I had a cold with a stuffy nose. I thought I can just go to a pharmacy to get some nasal drops. Nope. Maybe a local doctor or general practitioner? nope. I had to go to a hospital just for a cold which was a lot more expensive.

When you’re finally in your new place of residence ready to dive into new surroundings and a new cuisine, these are some things to bear in mind:

Keep your belongings close

The second most important piece of advice for safe travel is to keep your passport, wallet and phone close to you, preferably in an inside pocket. A fanny pack will not be sufficient because it’s very easy to detach and then it’s gone before you know it.

Do not carry a backpack on your back in busy areas; rather, carry it over your chest. In crowded places like supermarkets or the subway, you may not be able to feel someone going through your luggage.

Don’t carry more cash than you need. Put some cash away in a hidden location in case your wallet is taken.

Official taxis

Always get a taxi from the official taxi area at the airport. If you get an illegal one there’s a chance you will get scammed and pay too much. Plus, the car is not registered with any company so you don’t know what might happen. Stick to official taxis, always.

Research potential scams

Unfortunately, fraud exists in all cultures and all parts of the world. Taxi’s can overcharge or people ask for money when they give you directions. Know the local scams everywhere you go. Also, after you get to your hotel, don’t forget to ask the personnel for any pointers.


That said. If it so happens that a taxi overcharges you, it’s smart to think about how to deal with that. If the trip was 8 euros but he says the price is 10 I would advise to just give 10 and leave it. You’re still in a foreign country so it’s not worth it to make a fuss about it.

Get an apple tag

Get yourself an apple tag to travel more safe. If your bag is lost or stolen at the airport, you may always get it back with the help of an apple tag. It’s also quite entertaining to track your bag’s precise location through an airport.

After your arrival, the apple tag may be used as a keychain or tucked away in a bag where you keep your valuables.

Try to blend in

It’s always a good idea to not stand out too much when you’re in a new city with many people. Scammers might notice you and approach you if you stand out too much, looking like a tourist.

Figure out what the route is you want to go or at which train or subway station you have to get off. This will prevent you from constantly looking up the map on your phone. Proceed with assurance. This will give the impression that you are a local or at least familiar with the place.

When I arrived in Kurdistan I noticed that most people were very well dressed. Most men had a blouse and neat pants and shoes. I was used to wearing jeans with holes in them and a Nike T-shirt… I stood out a lot and looked like a tourist. I figured maybe I should just get a nice blouse and up my game regarding outfits. Why not!

Later that week when I had a nice blouse when I was walking in a mall someone walked up to me to ask directions in Arabic, he thought I was Iraqi! I suddenly changed from being a tourist to being super local.

Pay attention to what you wear

Explore what the (unwritten) rules and customs are regarding clothes to travel safer. Some countries are more religious or conservative than others. Wearing clothes that stand out too much from the locals might be considered offensive. The more conservative you are, the less you will stand out, and the more respect you will get from others.

Also, wearing flashy jewelry that advertises your wealth can attract criminals. If you’re going on a trip, it may be best to leave any jewelry that has emotional value at home or inside the safe in the hotel room.

In the event that your phone or credit cards are lost or stolen while you are on vacation, contact your bank or telephone provider immediately.

Be careful of what you eat and drink while travelling

The risk of becoming ill from drinking water or eating food is higher in areas where the quality of the water supply is low. It’s not fun, and it often necessitates postponing your trip by a few days. Traveling isn’t complete without experiencing the local cuisine but use caution while dining out. You don’t have to do this your entire stay but it’s smart to be careful and do some research in the first few weeks when everything is new and you’re just learning about your new environment.

  • Do a quick research online before eating at a restaurant. You could try Tripadvisor or Google maps reviews. If there are many bad reviews, skip the restaurant and look for another one.
  • Purify the water from the tap with a water purifier. If you don’t have something like that, drink water from bottles. Eventho it’s not the most environmentally friendly way, it’s better to drink from bottles than from the tap if the quality of the water is very low.
  • If you’re ordering a drink at a bar, try to have it without ice. Most of the time the ice is made from tap water which might make you sick, especially if you’re not used to it drinking that kind of water.
  • Stick to fruit that you can peel, don’t eat fruit that has already been peeled or cut into slices, especially the fruit that is being sold on the side of the road.

Run the tap

If you are renting a house, you could ask the landlord or house agent how long it has been since the previous tendent lived there. If it’s been more than several weeks it’s smart to let the shower and tap run for a while to avoid a legionella infection. If the temperature in the area is above 25 degrees, the legionella bacteria, can multiply and become a serious issue. Although exposure to legionella often does not result in illness, the bacterium may induce flu-like symptoms or even pneumonia in some individuals.

research the area to ensure travelling safe

Researching potential destinations is an important aspect of travel preparation. Learn more about your new surroundings, and you’ll know what to expect. Try to find information about any natural catastrophes, weather conditions and tips for staying safe in certain towns and areas. Is there a rainy season? Then it might be more dangerous to take the scooter on the road. Is there an extremely hot summer? Make sure you always have water with you.

emergency numbers

At the most inopportune times, unexpected emergencies occur. That’s why it’s smart to have the number for the local emergency services and your insurance company with you. Every country has their own “911” number and some countries have an international emergency number with someone that can speak English.

Figure out what does numbers are and keep them in your phone contact list and on a piece of paper inside your wallet in case one of the two gets lost or stolen.

share your location

Let your travel partner know where you are by using ‘find my iPhone’ or by using an apple tag to travel safely. Also, keep friends and family back in your home country in the loop about your trip and schedule to ensure some security while traveling.

reach out

Last but not least superduper pro-tip. You can always send me a message with any questions or comment below this page and I will be happy to provide any information you need.

A man standing on top of a sand dune with his arms outstretched.

About the author

Chris Oberman is the founder and author of Moving Jack and has been traveling the world for over 20 years to 40+ countries.

He lives in a different country every two years which allows him to gain unique in-depth insights and experiences in new places abroad.

Quoted on, NRC Newspaper, Vice,and Feedspot.

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