I held a workshop recently for a group of young women, high school seniors about to graduate and embark on a trek through Europe…without parents or chaperone for the first time. As a parent myself, I well understood the concerns held by the parents who asked me to put on this training. These young women, all from international families accustomed to extensive travel, were not well schooled in personal safety or emergency planning.
There was a discussion about all possible dangers. We worked through scenarios that involved nightclubs, hotel rooms, air and rail transportation, taxi and rideshare behavior, what to do and not do in both tourist areas and beyond. I approached each topic as if I were a criminal, targeting the group to seek out vulnerabilities. As the students and their parents freely shared their fears and concerns, we worked out viable solutions that closed off opportunities for crime. By the time we got to social media safety, it was amazing to see the change in the collective mindset of the group. With each scenario, the young ladies paused to ask, “What would a criminal see and do if he or she saw this situation?” As they brainstormed their solutions, the group became collectively stronger and able readily to identify their vulnerabilities. They learned that tourists are more likely targets than travelers, and that small actions can yield meaningful results when it comes to planning for safe travel.
Whenever and wherever we travel, self-awareness is key to personal safety. It’s also the key to enjoying your trip once you have thought through and planned for emergencies or danger. While you can’t predict every last thing that could happen, you can prepare yourself for emergencies well in advance. Research your destination and any planned stops or ask a travel professional for information. If your destination comes with any known safety risks, pre-arrange transportation and guides in advance.
Even with planning emergencies can strike, so leverage smartphone technology such as GlobalSecur’s FoneTrac app. A moderate amount of planning for the things you can’t predict, and technology to support you when you need it will allow you to get on your way safely and enjoy your trip to the fullest!