Stay safe

There are many things that you can do to ensure that you stay safe while traveling. Wikivoyage articles have a "Stay safe" section with location specific advice. This article covers general advice that applies to many destinations.

Before you go

Before you get in to your destination, you should consider the following:

Travel sense

No place on the planet is completely free from safety risks, including your own home. However, gaining understanding about the nature of risk in general, specific threats at your destination, and what you can do to minimize both general and specific risks can go a long way towards a safe trip.

Stay aware

Be careful!

Get in


Hotels can be dangerous places in case of fire. Check that there are two ways of escape from your room. Note that maps and instructions can be out of date.

If possible, check that emergency exits are in fact usable. In China, for example, it is quite common to use bicycle padlocks on most of the exits from a building for "security", which the management apparently think means only maintaining tight control over all entry to and exit from the building. In one theater fire, dozens died because of this. Consider carrying a crowbar in case you need to bust a padlock. Even in places like Finland and Sweden (generally having and following rules) an emergency exit can be (temporarily or less so) blocked with furniture.

Get around

The safest mode of transport depends on the country, and the trip particulars, and it can be very difficult to do a fair comparison. Statistics comparing forms of travel are usually given by distance travelled and not by time, and are crowded by urban mythology.

When on a bus or train:

When riding in a taxi:

When using a car:

When walking:


Seeing the sights of the area will require you to get out of your hotel room and onto the streets, which in some areas carries a risk of violent crime.


To buy anything, you'll need money, which may make you a target for theft. To reduce your risks:

In some areas, it is necessary to bargain with merchants to avoid being grossly overcharged.


See Travellers' diarrhea for more information.


See also: Alcoholic beverages

Taking part in a city's nightlife can be the highlight of a trip; however, nighttime is when the shady people of the city come out, so extra vigilance is necessary. If the nightlife isn't your thing back home, don't feel obligated to go out when travelling; the safest place to be at night is in your hotel room. If you do decide to go out, here are some tips:


See also pickpockets.

Stay healthy

Main article: Travel health


Crime and scams

See also: Crime, Theft, Pickpockets, Begging and Common scams.

At many destinations, there are dishonest people who try to prey on travellers' money; illegally, or within legal loopholes. A traveller can also be a victim of violence, molestation, vandalism, or other crime.

Local laws and customs

Travelers are subject to the laws of the country they're in, and need to remember that these laws can differ considerably from those of their home country. Moreover, in some cases such as Australia and the United States, the laws can vary between different parts of the country. As a result, something that might be perfectly acceptable at one destination can land you in jail at another, sometimes for years. This applies particularly to drugs and (in some countries) various kinds of antisocial behavior, and what may be a minor crime or "laugh" between friends at home, or passes for a social afternoon in the comfort of a coffee shop in Amsterdam, may land you in jail in Florida, a 10 year sentence in Sudan, corporal punishment with a rattan cane in some countries, or a place on death row in Singapore. Many Asian countries impose the death penalty for trafficking even minute amounts of illicit drugs.

Wikipedia provides a number of reference pages on various aspects of law around the world.

Note that these are not guaranteed to be up-to-date. If a legal issue is important for you as a traveller, you will need to do further research yourself and quite possibly to consult a lawyer with appropriate expertise.

Law and authorities

When it comes to conflicts with police officers, immigration officers (see Border crossing), security guards, or any other government officials, Wikivoyage encourages travellers to follow local law and regulations. Actions that are legal in many countries (such as homosexuality or drinking alcohol) or only minor infractions (jaywalking, littering, drug use etc.) might earn travellers a major fine, or even a prison sentence, in others. As laws and their execution vary a lot between countries, advance knowledge of the local situation is needed; see the Stay safe section of each respective destination.

Just like people in general, some police and other government officers are prejudiced, and might discriminate against a traveller based on race, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, or social class. Be informed about local values, for instance whether racism, homophobia or other prejudices are prevalent. As well, in some countries corruption is widespread, such as when a police officer or government official requests a cash bribe for providing service or even threatens to detain someone who does not pay. It pays to be aware of the local attitude towards corruption and act accordingly. Additionally, sometimes criminals will pose as police officers in order to scam travellers.

At the very least, be informed about what law enforcement forces exist in the countries you visit, and how to recognize them.

See also

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Friday, January 15, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.