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Travel Safety: An Introduction

Train stations and bus terminals. Town squares. Street performances. Crowded streets and shopping areas. Cafes, bars, and cafeterias. The list keeps going on. In each place, someone I know got robbed.

Bad stuff happens. It’s a fact. And like it or not, on the road you will pass through high-risk areas all the time. It’s just the nature of things. Yet this isn’t going to stop you from traveling, is it? Of course not.

This week is the beginning of a series on travel safety and security. There’s no 100% bulletproof method to protect against potential thieves – but there isn’t in your hometown, either. Done right, travel is rarely more dangerous than your everyday, ordinary life. There is a lot of ground to cover and we will be as thorough as possible.

Due to the nature of the subject, the authors may come off sounding a bit paranoid. Don’t be misled, though: this attention to security is what lets us to travel so much. VJ writers are often drawn to the shadier parts of town, the places that lack the spit and polish. Real life — not the picture postcard version of it — is what we travel for. But there’s a reason we can do this and go to these places so often. Spending the time to develop good safety habits and awareness will help you be more comfortable moving through unknown environments. You’ll be more relaxed and confident on the road, so that you can travel longer, farther, and to more places.

Thieves, conmen, and thugs are just like the rest of us, really: profoundly lazy if given half a chance. They’re looking for an easy mark for their next meal ticket, not an uphill battle. We here at Vagabond Journey want to teach you how to become one damned difficult target. Give it a read, take our ideas, and then add some of your own to the mix. You’ll find that 99 times out of 100 the scumbags of the planet will leave you alone and look for easier prey.

Here’s a preview of what’s to come over the next few weeks:

  • How to hide cash and documents on your person.
  • Safely accessing electronic funds.
  • Bulletproof bag packing: how to keep your bag internally and externally secure.
  • “Shipwreck recovery:” how to get back on your feet if you’ve lost everything.
  • Anti-pickpocket techniques.
  • Con artists and scammers: tactics and prevention.
  • “Taking Down an International Con Man: A Revenge Story.”
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Filed under: Security, Travel Safe, Travel Tips

About the Author:

Tristan Hicks is a compulsive traveler who believes that travel and “real life” can be one and the same. He has combined working and studying with his long-term travels, living in the seven countries to date and traveling in dozens more. He is currently on the road. has written 18 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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