Do stay in Airbnb’s or guest houses as part of someone’s family in their spare room. It’s the best way to meet people, get insider advice and recommendations about where to go, where to eat and what to avoid. Read reviews, or ask around, if you’re unsure this is where you want to stay. A great host can make a huge difference in your trip.
Do bring a bag of medicine to treat any digestive problems, allergies, pain/inflammation, nausea/vomiting and first aid. In my bag, no matter where I go, I always have the following: Pepto bismol, Imodium, Claritin, Dramamine, Ibuprofen, bandaids, antibiotics (such as a Z-pack), alcohol wipes, and antibacterial/antibiotic ointment such as Neosporin.
Do take group tours. While you have to be more patient and wait in lines, you can connect with really cool people you’d otherwise never meet. Plus, you will learn some really neat history about the place you are visiting.
Do travel alone. You probably won’t even be alone for long. People are more inclusive and friendly than you think. I have had amazing experiences with people I met in my accommodation, tour, beach or even on the street. I still keep in touch with many of them, thanks to social media, so whenever I’m in their home country, I give them a shout. You never know who you’ll meet! And for the times you are alone, it’s rewarding to be one with your thoughts and experiences, to reflect on everything you’ve witnessed and achieved.
Do share your location or hotel name with someone you know, whether locally or back home. It’s an effortless action that has no consequences, but in the rare possibility something might happen, at least your family will know where to look first… not to be ominous!
Don’t go to weird or dangerous neighborhoods. I’m not saying only go to touristy places, but go with locals to places they often frequent and can vouch for its safety.
Don’t stay with shady or strange hosts. Read reviews beforehand and make sure the communication has been open and transparent. Listen to your gut. If it doesn’t feel right, get out. Your sense of safety and security isn’t worth savings a few bucks over.
Don’t wear opulent jewelry, shoes, bags and clothes (especially in second and third world countries). Hey, I love my diamonds, Valentino shoes and Chanel bags, but there’s a time and place to wear them, and often it’s not outside of your hometown or a ritzy night out. Be humble and simple, no need to draw unnecessary attention to yourself.
Don’t take your passport, valuables and all credit cards outside of hotel or leave in the car – make a copy of your passport or take a photo with your phone, and take only one major credit card with you (and keep cash on hand). And I feel it’s important to note to never leave valuables in your car. There are people who stalk and prey on tourists who feel their cars are safe storage spots for valuables. DON’T DO IT.
Don’t accept drinks from strangers. Just don’t. When you have no one holding you accountable, things can happen.