Tips for Safe Traveling

Written by Allyssa March 13, 2020

From mountains to beaches, Italy offers so many breathtaking sights to see! I had the amazing opportunity to spend my first day of March 2020 in Catania, Sicily. It was definitely an unforgettable trip especially since it was the last trip I was able to take during my stay in Italy, but that’s a topic for another blog! 

My weekend in Sicily definitely consisted of many emotions but none outweighed that of the serenity I felt while laying in the sand, with the waves crashing down in front of me and two of my closest friends by my side. Sicily was like no other place in Italy. Something about the atmosphere was just so different and fascinating. 

As much as I fell in love with Sicily and Italy as a whole, I think it’s important to note that no matter how beautiful the location, there can still be people out there with ill intentions. It’s important to take certain precautions and know what to do in any given situation, especially as you study abroad.  And as much as I hate to say it, it’s especially important for women to take extra care of themselves in unfamiliar places. Below I’ve outlined some tips for staying safe. They might not stop all the bad guys from trying but it can still have a huge impact on what could have been.

Broad Tips

  • Stay aware of your surroundings. The amount of times I’ve heard this from my mom is more than I could possibly count. It seems very vague and difficult. How could you possibly be aware of everything going on around you? You’re bound to miss a thing or two. Yeah, maybe you’ll miss a thing or two, but on the other hand maybe you’ll catch an extra thing or two. 
  • Don’t show off your belongings, especially the expensive ones. I understand you may be excited about a new purchase but don’t announce it to the world. You might as well hold up a sign with an arrow pointed at you for the thieves to target you. It sounds like common sense but you would be surprised how often this actually happens. 
  • Trust your instincts. If you’re uncomfortable, there’s more than likely a good reason for it. 
  • Don’t look like a tourist. It can be hard sometimes if you’re lost and trying to find your way or if you’re just super enthusiastic about your experience. But do your best to keep it to a minimum. Don’t stop in the middle of a walkway to look at your map or take a random photo. Do research and try to blend in terms of fashion. Look confident as if there’s no question on whether you belong there.

More Specific Tips

  • Don’t be alone. I know sometimes it can be tempting or easier for you, but it could prevent a lot of unfortunate situations. As an introvert myself, I understand sometimes needing a break from people and socializing. I honestly think I would go insane if I didn’t get some me-time every now and then. But it can wait a little longer for the sake of your personal safety. 
  • Keep some spare money somewhere on your person. It could be in a sock or in your bra, but have something as backup in case you come across a pickpocket or thief. It could end up being a lifesaver.
  • Don’t fight or chase. If someone runs and grabs your bag or another one of your belongings, don’t follow or try to fight them. Sometimes they could lead you straight into a trap or cause even more trouble for you. You’re better off leaving it and getting replacements. A stolen bag, even if it contains important documents like a passport or ID, is not worth risking your life. 

There are countless others I could list off but these are a few I thought were especially important. Do your research and take care of yourself and those you’re with. It can be difficult and inconvenient but safety should always be your first priority.

Wish me luck on my journey, and I wish you all the best for yours, wherever you may be and wherever you may go. Stay safe and healthy out there in the big world!