protect yourself backpacking

10 ways to protect yourself backpacking

protect yourself backpacking

 1. Travel insurance

A must for anyone planning a backpacking trip, travel insurance should be arranged before you depart as it protects both you and your possessions. The protection the insurance offers you even before you reach your destination on things such as holiday cancellations and lost baggage is reason enough to take out a policy. The further benefits an insurance policy offers once you reach your destination strengthens the case to take out travel insurance. Should you require any medical attention whilst travelling, your insurance policy will probably cover most if not all of the costs. Had you travelled without insurance, you would more than likely face a huge bill for your treatment as medical treatment abroad isn’t cheap. Not only does travel insurance protect you, it also protects your personal belongings. Should any of your items be stolen or lost, you can claim back the costs of the items on your return through your insurance company. If any of your items are stolen, you’ll need to report the incident to the police and request a copy of your statement as this may be required by your insurance company to proceed with your claim.

2. Be wary of pickpockets

Pickpockets are found around the world and some places in particular are renowned for being especially bad. It’s important when abroad to do all you can to avoid becoming a victim of a pickpocket. You should be aware that pickpockets are most active in dense crowds. Busy city centres, train stations and public transport are often utilised by pickpockets as the huge numbers of people, many of whom are tourists, are often easy targets and usually carry large amounts of cash. Pickpockets don’t’ solely target these areas however so you should always keep your cash and valuable items close to you, making them difficult if not impossible to access. Pickpocket’s tactics vary but a common ploy is to pair up, with one person distracting you whilst the other targets your valuable goods. Many of these pickpockets are very skilled at this and they can steal your wallet or other valuable items in the blink of an eye so it’s essential that you protect yourself against this and ensure that they can’t access your valuables.

3. Avoid side streets

Wandering down dark alleys at night, particularly for solo travellers is certainly not advisable. Whilst you might be fine, it is not worth taking the risk. Always stick to well-lit routes and don’t look for short cuts that are likely to leave you isolated from the crowds.

4. Only carry as much money as you need

Carrying around all of the money you have whilst travelling is a recipe for disaster. Whilst you would never plan to lose your wallet or have your purse stolen, these things can happen. If you were to lose all of your money and bank cards, you would literally be left with no money for at least a short period of time at least. When you go out for the day, you should only carry the amount of money you’ll need for that day. Likewise, don’t take all of your bank cards with you. Any money and bankcards that you won’t need that day should be left back in your room at the hotel in the safety deposit box.

5. Make use of safety deposit boxes

Most hostel and hotel rooms now have a safe and although in some instances you will be charged to use the safe, it is a wise investment as it allows you to protect your money and valuables. While you would like to think that these items are safe in your hostel/hotel room, unfortunately many people have found out first-hand that this isn’t always the case. Leaving valuable items lying around your room or even hiding them under your pillow or clothes will not prevent these items going missing. The only way to ensure your items are safe is to make use of safety deposit boxes on offer.

6. Adhere to local customs

Before travelling you should make yourself aware of local customs. Many of these customs may seem trivial to you but it’s important that you adhere to them to avoid upsetting the locals. Even more seriously, ignoring some of these customs can lead to serious legal penalties and you may end up being arrested and charged. An example of this was in Dubai when a British couple were sentenced to a month in prison and fined £200 for breaking the country’s decency laws by ‘kissing on the mouth’ in a restaurant. That may seem harsh but that is the law in Dubai and visitors must adhere to it. Things such as wearing clothing that doesn’t cover your knees and shoulders, drinking alcohol, holding hands in public or touching a child’s head are all considered disrespectful in some countries so before travelling you should be sure to research local customs and traditions.

7. Keep money and valuables out of sight

Advertising your money and valuables to eagle eyed local thieves is one of the most common mistakes travellers make. Whether it’s digging into their wallet to reveal a bundle of cash, checking their Facebook on their iPhone in a crowded area or carrying an expensive camera around their neck, travellers are very naïve when it comes to protecting their money and valuables. It’s important to remember that for many of these thieves, the monetary value of these items or money is likely to be significantly greater than it is to the owner. It is for this reason that thieves target travellers who continually broadcast the money and valuables that they are carrying. Whilst this isn’t an issue in some destinations, it is a very real threat in others. To avoid this problem or at least minimise the issue, keeping money and valuables out of sight is recommended.

8. Don’t put bags down

Putting your bag down, even for a split second can be all a thief needs to swoop in and steal your bag and its contents. Tourists regularly stop to take a photo and they usually place their bag on the floor. This certainly isn’t advisable though as thieves are often quick to pounce, particularly in busy areas. Where possible, you should try to avoid putting your bag on the floor. In certain circumstances however this may be unavoidable. If this is the case, you should place your foot through the strap so that a thief can’t walk off with your bag. Similarly, if you go to a restaurant or a café, you should either repeat this and place your foot through the strap or you could place the strap under your chair leg. Making sure you have control of your bag at all times is important if you want to ensure that it isn’t lost to thieves.

9. Drink alcohol in moderation

In most places abroad you’ll have no problems getting an alcoholic beverage. There’s nothing wrong with having a drink whilst travelling but drinking excessively is one of the quickest ways of increasing your chances of problems occurring. More often than not, these problems will be things that will hit you financially. You’re much more likely to lose your camera or money whilst drunk than you would be sober. You may also be oblivious to getting ripped off by taxis and other locals if you get yourself in a drunken state whilst travelling. More serious is the prospect of losing your passport, or worse again, upsetting locals with your behaviour when under the influence. Losing your passport will cause you no end of problems and offending the locals could put yourself in real danger if they are particularly unimpressed with your actions. Solo travellers are also much more vulnerable after alcohol and they become an easy target. Their decision making isn’t what it is when sober so they can end up in dangerous situations. To avoid these issues, be sensible when it comes to alcohol and don’t drink excessively.

And finally….

10. Trust your instincts

If something doesn’t feel right, more often than not it isn’t. Your instincts, particularly for solo travellers, are often your most valuable asset and you should always play the percentages and use your common sense.

Guest Post Bio:

This is a Guest Post written by the Team at Travel Supermarket. Travel Supermarket offers a vast array of services related to travel including travel deals, accommodation specials, travel insurance and a very information blog and information section with interesting articles on travel and backpacking.




Josh Boorman


Backpacking Addictz

Twitter: @backpackaddictz


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Joshua Boorman

Joshua Boorman

Founder & Editor in Chief at Backpacking Addictz
Come with me on a journey with me to various destinations throughout the world. We discuss all things Backpacking, Lifestyle Design & Online Business to help you achieve new found freedom and create a life of meaningful fulfillment.
Joshua Boorman
About The Author

Joshua Boorman

Come with me on a journey with me to various destinations throughout the world. We discuss all things Backpacking, Lifestyle Design & Online Business to help you achieve new found freedom and create a life of meaningful fulfillment.

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