Whether you are an out and out travel junkie or gearing up for that once-in-a-lifetime dream vacation; personal safety while traveling should be right at the top of your priorities. Following are some vital tips to make sure that your traveling experience is safe and trouble-free. They will minimize the risk of the possibility of any crime – including sexual violence – against you, while traveling solo or with a travel group.

Before your journey begins

Share your travel information to a trusted friend:
Before you leave for your destination, make sure to share your important travel details with someone you trust, such as a close friend or a reliable family member. This may include the details about your itinerary, the addresses and phone numbers of your accommodations, and transportation details such as the train or flight numbers.

Do some research about the transportation at your destination:
Research about the taxi or ride sharing companies available in the area you are about to travel to. Are they reputable? Do they accept credit cards or only cash? This will save you a lot of hassle and getting into trouble with the so-called helpers who might try to exploit you. Make sure that you have a number you can call in case of emergencies or a bad experience.

Planning to travel by public transportation?
Then make sure that you have a mobile app that gives you real-time updates about the transportation system at your destination. This is important for solo  travelers since it will make sure that you don’t get yourself in a situation where you have to stand all alone in an isolated area, at odd hours, waiting for a bus.

Familiarize yourself with your destination:
With Google Maps at your fingertips, you can easily get acquainted with the region you are about to travel to. Explore the area and locate important emergency services like hospitals or police stations nearby. Check the availability of public transportation such as a bus stop or a taxi stand or a shopping center where you can easily find a cab. If you plan to go out in the evening, make sure to have your return trip secured in advance.

On reaching your destination

Beware of “vacation brain”:
Once you arrive at your destination, it is all too easy to throw caution to the winds and forget all about your security. Although it is important to relax on a vacation, you should never put your guard down completely and fall into a false sense of security. Avoid befriending people too readily before knowing them well enough.

Beware of your drinking:
Don’t just mindlessly gulp down anything and everything that is served to you. Be ultra-cautious about what you drink while traveling. If a drink or an ingredient in a drink looks unfamiliar, look it up on Google. If something seems to be making you feel more intoxicated than it normally does, or if a situation is making you feel uncomfortable, get out of there to a safer place,as soon as you can.

Always have a plan B in mind

Although, we know that it is not always possible, it’s better to have something to turn to when your primary plan fails or lands you in a tough spot. Consider the following to make sure that you have someone to go for help in emergencies.

Have you familiarized yourself enough with the new surroundings?
Take note of important landmarks such as police stations, hospitals, drug stores, restaurants, etc. to turn for help in need.

Traveling in a group?
Always have a commonly agreed upon the place where your group can look for you in case you get separated from it.

What if your phone dies in travel?
Always have a portable back-up charger with you. It is also a good idea to memorize a few important phone numbers to call in case of an emergency.

Driving to unfamiliar locations?
Make sure you have a physical map with you to use in case your GPS system fails.

    In an emergency

    If you find yourself in an emergency, contact the Indian Embassy & local police (abroad) or Dial: 100 (Domestic-India). They can connect you with a variety of resource to help, wherever you are.