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Staying safe while traveling abroad is much like staying safe while traveling at home—know where you are and where you are going, and stay vigilant. Some additional ideas for keeping your travel party safe are below.

Always be aware of your surroundings, and travel with others.

Be watchful of what is going on around you and who is near you. Trust your gut instinct, and if it tells you to leave a location, do it. Never go out alone, and stay in well-lit, busy areas as much as possible. Avoid getting lost by consulting a map before you leave, and don’t hesitate to ask for directions if you need them.

Thieves and other criminals look for people who aren’t paying attention or who appear afraid, confused, or unsure of themselves. Keep your head high, continuously scan the area, and appear to be confident—even if you don’t feel it.

Have a basic grasp of the language.

If you have at least a fundamental understanding of the language, you’ll hear or read if something is happening so you can act accordingly. Learn as much of the language as you can before you travel so that you have this basic understanding—it can help you stay safe.

Keep your valuables out of plain sight, and do not flash cash.

Men should keep wallets in their front pockets, and they should be thin enough that they are not obvious. If women carry purses, they should be small and worn under their arms, close to their bodies. Many travelers prefer to wear a money belt under their clothing. Do not wear expensive jewelry, accessories, or anything else that will call attention to you. Lock your valuables in either your room safe or the hotel’s main safe.

Keep only a small amount of cash with you, and be discreet when using it. Carry credit cards and use those when possible.

Make copies of important documents.

Leave copies of your passport, driver’s license, and credit cards with someone at home, and put one copy in the safe when you lock up your valuables. If anything is stolen, those copies will help you replace your documents as quickly as possible.

Know where the nearest authorities and the embassy are.

Keep an eye out for police officers and police stations. If you find that someone is following you, walk to the nearest police. There may not be an embassy in the city you’re in, but always ask, just in case.

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