Terrorism is everywhere. Fact. And we can see that in these past few years, it has been on rising with all the government’s safety tips and the issuing of lists of no-go destinations. Those things are just contributing to us, the travelers, to become more and more paranoid and scary about traveling or thinking this or that destination might not be safe to travel. That’s why I decided to create a post showing you how to travel safely in the face terrorism.
The fact is the so-called “War on Terror” are just creating more and more terror, instead of helping it is just making it worse and worse. Only 15 years ago the very definition of terrorism, or what the media sold us to be terrorism for that matter, was pretty much limited to tribal areas in Afghanistan, Pakistan and so on. Now, years later, it is everywhere.
But despite the tragedy and horror of those situations and despite this crazy paranoia spread by the media with its sensational stories that only promote fear and doesn’t really help with anything, every single one of those events were isolated cases.
The chance of actually being caught in a terrorist attack while overseas are very, very, very slim. You’re actually more likely to be killed by a cow than to be caught in a terrorist attack. And let’s be honest, you have as much chance of being caught up in a terrorist attack in your own country and as you have overseas.
Traveling is not the problem, traveling is not dangerous, life is uncertain.
Don’t confuse my statement here with not having any precautions before you actually go out and travel, ok? What I want to tell you is that there are things you can do to make it a little safer for you and a little bit more easy for your family and friends when you decide to go abroad with the world being like it is.
So don’t stop traveling, you need to travel smarter and here are a few of my tips on how to travel safely in the face of terrorism.
Leave a copy of travel plans with somebody
It does not matter how old you are, how much money you make or how independent you are. It’s never a dumb idea to tell someone at home where you were going and for how long so they can know where you will be.
Leave your addresses and your telephone numbers, the address and number of your hotels, all the information about the transport like flight number and time, leave the names of the people you’re going to be with, the names of everyone that you will meet or any place that you might go.
Give all this information to your mom or your dad or your best friend or your spouse, does not matter as long as somebody has an idea of where you are all times.
And in the unfortunate events that you have to face a tragic event like terrorist attacks, you have somebody home that can immediately assist authorities to locate you or even to help you.
This is valid not only for travel safely in the face terrorism but in the unlikely event of any natural disasters like a tsunami or an earthquake.
Travel safely with your smartphone
This one is an obvious one, but it’s not obvious for everybody.
Many people actually leave their phones at home because they are on the international roaming charges. And they should, I’m not saying that the prices aren’t ridiculous, ok? But in the unlikely event of an emergency, you need a way to communicate with your loved ones or with other people! So even if you fly abroad and leave your phone on airplane mode all the time, having it with you allows you the option of an easier form of communication rather than the Facebook message or email.
Another thing to consider is to have a sim card that gives you a really good alternative to save on roaming charges. But they are really good options only when you’re either city hopping or traveling for a short period. If you’re staying for a long time, please do consider buying a local SIM card. Also, if you’re travelling to EU, remember that since Jun 2017 all SIM cards are legally working inside all EU. That means that you’re German SIM card will work in Italy and Belgium and Spain and so on.
I know that in Berlin you can find 100 or 500 minutes for only 9,99 € in most supermarkets and in London I purchased 2gigas of Internet + 500 minutes for as low as 15 pounds. And it was really fast internet I had on my phone at all times plus free wifi in most tube stations.
Pro tip: Please do remember to save your hotel address and phone number as well as the phone and addresses of your embassy on every country you visit.
Location apps for a safer trip
Besides the fact that this can help you a lot on daily problems like “where is the closest subway station?” or “how do I get from here to there?” , location-based apps can be quite handy in dangerous situations where you are caught up in an unknown city, feeling lost and in panic.
There are quite a few available for free for iPhones, Androids and more.
City mapper and Google Maps demand internet connection to work properly, but with citymaps2go, that is paid, you can download the maps of the city’s you’re traveling to and have them as an offline alternative.
You don’t want to be wandering around a new city if a terrorist attack just occurred, right? So make sure that you’re always aware of where in the map you are and what is the quickest and safest route back to your hotel.
Learn a few phrases in the local language
Try to learn the basics or at least have them written somewhere so you can immediately go to an officer and tell them what do you need in a language that you know that they will understand.
Not every soldier and not every the police officer around the globe can speak English. Remember that.
An excellent way to start learning a few useful local phrases is by doing a google search before you hop on the plane and having apps that can work as a dictionary like bab.la and others.
Register your travel with your government beforehand
By doing that you can assure that you will have communication with the local embassies and consulates in the event of a terrorist attack or a natural disaster.
A lot of countries have a smart traveler program where you can put your travel plans. This is extremely important if you’re heading to a destination where you’re more than worried about the occurrence of terrorism or if you’re feeling extra unsafe about going over there.
It’s a piece of mind that will only take you a few minutes and can save your life if everything goes south.
Keep everybody posted about where you are
Of course that when I say everybody I mean your family and friends so for example if you doing Eurotrip crossing over five or ten countries it is wise to either make a Facebook group and post where war and tell them where you stay in every city or just do a WhatsApp group or something to keep everybody updated.
This tip goes specifically to people who are doing adventure tracks or high-risk Ford’s like going all the way up the Everest or hiking for days and days in the middle of the forest. The point that I’m trying to make is that you should tell your family and friends and people you trust about your plans if you going to countries that are easy to find information about I’m not going to even stay in the necessity implied when you choose to travel safely to places really remote in the globe.
This is another one of those travel tips that you can use forever and I have to travel safely in the face of terrorism.
Choose wisely when choosing travel insurance
Another important thing that I have to mention is that you should and must read the fine print when you are hiring, and travel insurance for your future travels.
Make sure that the company does not exclude things like terrorist attacks and natural disasters, and if it’s not clear whether the policies in your travel insurance covers those things, please do contact them and ask.
There is nothing wrong with asking but there will be something wrong if you don’t ask and something like this happens. Remember you can never be too safe.
If you want travel insurance that we trust, go with World Nomads.
Live and enjoy life
I think the most important lesson I’ve learned on those two years of travel blogging and traveling at least once every 3 or 4 weeks is that you should let nothing stop us from doing what we want to do. In case you need more travel safety tips or a place to talk to travelers, we always have our facebook group.
Usually, the world is relatively safe, but we need to be aware of current economic and political matters and do everything we can to keep yourself safe, but that in any way means locking herself inside our apartments or letting opportunities go because of fear. If this is a subject you find interesting, we recommend this article about solo female travel and how important it is to be safe.
To let fear control, you are allowing them to win.