When it comes to traveling, women often have a much harder time than their male counterparts. However, that’s not to say that guys don’t have to be cautious when they’re traveling in places that warrant a little bit of extra care when it comes to personal safety. Certain scams and schemes are aimed almost exclusively at male travelers, and some situations can be tricky to get out of. What can you do to avoid getting yourself in a sticky scenario? Here are a few tips to take heed of when you’re on the road.
If a bunch of guys are traveling in a group, it often means that one activity will invariably feature on a regular, if not nightly, basis on a trip abroad: drinking. However, as more people travel, more and more places around the world are losing patience with hoards of loud-mouthed males wandering through the streets throwing up, being loud, and doing nothing but drink themselves into a stupor. Friction with locals can crop up, so it’s best just to keep in mind that you’re a guest in a foreign country, which means respecting the place you’re in - it doesn’t give you a free pass to do whatever you like. Ease up on the booze, and the next morning you might have a clear enough head to enjoy the country and get more out of your trip.
Please drink responsibly and use a designated driver, as your RoamRight policy does not cover loss resulting from or caused by being under the influence of alcohol.
I’ve read countless stories about guys who have been lured into bars by a skillful man or woman flogging flyers on the street, only to come out of the place with bills running into hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Make sure any bar you enter is a busy one, or even one you can look into from the outside. If the clientele seem to be primarily made up of burly looking men hanging around doorways and a disproportionately large amount of beautiful woman chilling out at the bar, then chances are you’re in an establishment that will charge you through the roof for drinks, or make you pay an extortionate cover. Try to leave? Those burly men at the door will block your way. Don’t have enough cash on you? You’ll be taken to an ATM to withdraw some. If a club or bar that you haven’t heard of in advance sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.
This applies to both genders, but it goes without saying - if you’re stupid enough to do drugs in a foreign country, then be prepared to face the consequences, and don’t expect much help from your embassy. Drugs go hand in hand with shady characters, and it’s not wise to get involved with that kind of thing when you travel, or anytime really.
Sleeping with a beautiful local is one thing, but paid sex is quite another. The reality is that the world of paid sex is seedy, and you never know how old a girl you’re going with might actually be - there have been reports of travelers being told one thing before, but then afterwards being told a girl is underage, and then being bribed by the owner or face a trip to the police station. It’s really not worth it.
The importance of learning just a few words in the local language of wherever you’re going is vastly underrated. Misunderstandings do occur, and sometimes fuses can run short, leading to a confrontation you’d rather not be a part of. Learn words and phrases like, “thank you”, “where is?”, “it’s delicious!” and “sorry”. Remember to smile. And if your pearly whites and linguistic skills fail to diffuse a tricky situation, don’t be ashamed to walk away if you feel unsafe or angry. You don’t want to take a bruised ego (or worse) home as a souvenir.
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Tom has always had the travel bug and, after quitting his call centre job in the UK, he packed up and moved to South Korea to teach English for almost four years. Since moving on from South Korea, he's been travelling the world and loves exploring city streets, trying delicious new food, meeting great people and taking way too many selfies with his phone, although he'll disagree with you on that last point. Read about Tom's adventures on his blog, Waegook Tom, and follow him on Instagram and Twitter.
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