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How to stay safe while travelling

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How to stay safe while travelling

story by: House of Travel

Author: Sam Pease

Recently my son Jet and I travelled 160,000 kilometres in 600 days, in a global adventure that turned into my third book, The Jet Project.


We visited half of the world’s most unfriendly cities, according to a survey done through Travel + Leisure magazine. Did we find them unfriendly? No. Did we feel safe? Yes. Strangers are just friends you haven’t met yet. 
Years of being a spirited teenager taught me what I could (and couldn’t) get away with. I was grateful to have learnt street smarts at a young age; it meant we could travel safely. Our trip gave Jet hands-on lessons in judging and gauging situations, skills he’d never have developed in New Zealand at the age of ten. 

The first humans had a strong sense of intuition. It helped them sense danger and saved them from being the main course. We still have that part of the brain inside us. It’s the bit that makes you move away from someone on a train, or the feeling that stops you from walking down a dodgy street at night. 

Intuition filters out emotional rubbish in the same way our kidneys filter out waste in our body. It’s like a free built-in bullsh!t detector . . . but if your batteries aren’t charged, your alarm won’t work. 

Start developing your intuition before you start travelling. Listen to how your body reacts to situations. When you think of something or someone are your thoughts positive, or negative and fearful? Feeling intuitive about a situation produces a calm and protective physical response. Feeling fearful will make anxiety kick in, your heart will start to race, you’ll feel a little paranoia and you’ll become lethargic (that’s your organs telling you that something, or someone, is toxic). 

Many times I avoided walking down certain streets because they didn’t feel right. When my intuitive alarm bells ring I try to listen. We checked out of a ryokan (a traditional Japanese inn) in Kyoto because I felt unsafe. Jet (who doesn’t believe that intuition is a thing) said, ‘You worry a lot. You’re like a samurai worrier.’ 

The thing I was most scared about while travelling, though, was what would Jet do in the unlikely event that I died suddenly from a heart attack? Grim thoughts yes, but I’d rather plan for the worst and expect the best than have Jet stranded not knowing what to do or even where he was. 

So I created a first-aid kit — a list of emergency numbers and steps to take if something bad happened to me. My sister Natalie knew where we were at each stage of the trip, so if anything happened, she’d be on a plane instantly to get Jet. 


Top Ten Travel Tips:

1. Keep photos/scans of your passport and other essential documents including accommodation addresses in your phone in a folder marked details so you can access them quickly. Consider down¬loading the HOT App which also has this feature.

2. Research your destination before you book accommodation. Google street view can tell you a lot about a place. Roller doors with graffiti and poor street lighting mean that it’s probably a rough neighbourhood with cheaper accommo¬dation. Just because you’re on a budget doesn’t mean you should compromise your safety. 

3. Use your spidey sense to scan the streets discreetly while you’re wandering around. If you see one of the 3 D’s – someone who seems dodgy, drunk or on drugs - either step into a shop until they pass, or cross the road. 

4. Ditch the headphones if you’re walking so you can hear what’s happening around you. Be alert. The world needs more alerts. 

5. Blend in. If you look like a tourist with a map, a camera, unstylish shorts and a t-shirt - you’ll be more of a target for pickpockets. 

6. Make sure that someone who’s not travelling with you knows your itinerary, every step of the way. Check in with your go-to regularly. And if you’re travelling to politically unstable countries register your journey with the NZ embassy www. safetravel.govt.nz  

7. If you’re travelling with children, prep them. Either give them a small notebook with emergency numbers and details of what to do if something unexpected happens, or give them a step-by-step guide in the notes section of their phone. 

8. If you’re travelling alone in a taxi, sit behind the driver. On buses sit near the driver. In trains sit near families and avoid carriages with single men, especially if you’re a female travelling alone. Avoid public transport at night where possible. 

9. If you have the choice don’t stay on the ground floor. It’s easier to break into low-level rooms so book from the 2nd floor up. 

10. Use common sense. Don’t wear expensive jewellery or carry all your cash in one place. Get travel insurance and be careful with alcohol when socialising with new friends and avoid walking alone at night.


Most importantly, remember that the majority of people around the world are good and kind. Despite what you read online, the world really is a beautiful place.
 
THE JET PROJECT IS IN NATIONWIDE BOOKSTORES NOW. OR VISIT WWW.THEJETPROJECT.COM TO FIND OUT MORE. 

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