Be responsible for your own Safety
Safety is a personal issue and we are all responsible for ourselves. In my book, Backpacker's Practical and Spiritual Guide to the Universe, I discuss the issue of paying attention to the 'vibe'. If the 'vibe' doesn't feel right, you get yourself out of there. If you are intoxicated, you will have less of a grasp of this concept and need to make sure that you are safe in your surroundings before you begin to party.
Don't go to countries where you are putting yourself in immediate danger and when you are participating in any activity - constantly be aware of your surroundings and what you're doing.
There are no guarantees in life and many people run into problems when they're travelling because they may be participating in high-risk activities. Take caution, suss out the operators of activities and don't put yourself in dangerous situations. At the same time, don't live in fear. Sometimes you need to get out there and life to the fullest - and that involves risks.
- Learn to recognise the vibe and let that be one of your safety indicators - follow your intuition
- Take a few methods of getting cash - being without cash for a taxi etc can put you in danger
- Take note of advisories from your government's travel sites
- Never accept an unopened drink from a stranger
- Go out in a group at night
- Avoid disputes with locals
- Be respectful to others
- Keep in touch with people at home
- Let people know who you're travelling with
- Always keep your passport in a bag that you carry with you or locked up in a safe
- Constantly count your number of bags and check your belongings
- Unpack and repack your bag before you move on to the next country - know what's in your bags
- Act with an air of confidence - don't show your fear if you're worried (not arrogance though)
- Keep to the safe parts of town - we had a taxi driver lock our doors as we drove down one street in Colon, Panama and then unlock them immediately after that
- It is up to you - your safety is YOUR responsibility, you will own your choices