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Traveling Safely

Spring break is an opportunity for many students to shed the stresses of school and embark on a journey like no other. Leisure time, either at home or away, is often rejuvenating. While some students are going abroad and traveling to far destinations, practicing safe and efficient travel is a common concern.

More often than not, editors felt that practicing safe travel methods didn’t hurt, but that it really depends where one was traveling to, and who they were traveling with. 

“When Traveling with friends or family I’m usually less worried, but when I’m traveling by myself I’m usually much more worried.  It’s usually minor concerns like theft or pickpocketing or getting lost and winding up in a dangerous area,” said one editor.

Another editor added an example. “I was at Atlantis Bahamas and, although the resort is relatively safe, if you go outside the perimeter, you’ll probably get mugged. Also, I think Americans are often naive—and natives can totally recognize that. If someone is in a country that doesn’t speak English, he/she automatically becomes a target to people who are looking to pick-pocket etc.”

Other editors were not so concerned about their safety when with others, but offered concern for women specifically. “I don’t have many concerns when traveling, because I’m always with my family and friends. However, if I were traveling by myself (which my parents probably wouldn’t let me do), I would definitely be on guard,” the editor said.

 “As a male, I’m not really a target to rapists/perverts (even though I am beautiful). It’s sad that women and girls have to be on heightened guard because perverted men can’t act properly; they should be able to go out with their group of friends without the fear of being sexually assaulted/kidnapped. The language and culture barrier definitely complicates things, too,” the editor continued.

The editors offered some advice for travel safety based on their own experiences. “Firstly, knowing where you are going will enhance your experience – you’ll know good places to go, etc., instead of wasting time researching there. Secondly, it does help with the safety aspect – you know what area s may be dangerous, and you know what to be concerned about. Preparation can’t be 100% preventative, but it definitely helps,” said one editor. 

The editor also recommended brushing up on a language when traveling somewhere that doesn’t natively speak English. “You don’t have to be fluent but having some knowledge helps. Especially basic phrases – ‘hello’, ‘goodbye’, ‘thank you’, ‘where is…’ Those were always the things I learned, and that helped a lot while I was abroad,” the editor suggested. “Being able to just say a few words makes people think you’re trying, and it usually means you get a warmer reception from local populations.”

 “It is very important to research a new area when the area is foreign to you. Culture can vary from as near as one hour from where you are from. You want to make sure you know if there are common crimes just as much as fun things to do,” an editor added.

Editors also agreed that drinking responsibly is a good idea, especially in a foreign environment.

“When I go out, I make sure that someone knows where I am, that I don’t have more than one drink, and not to mention that I am by myself – even if I say I’m with a friend who is back at a hostel or something. I also keep an eye on my surroundings,” an editor said. 

“My primary focus while traveling is usually to actually travel. I am not much of a drinker, so that was never really a concern of mine. I think drinking culture is definitely super different in other places – America is drinking to get drunk drinking, but in a lot of other countries it’s much more chill. However, I think people don’t realize that,” the editor continued.

Another piece of advice the editors offered was to stick together when possible. “The buddy system is my go to protection when I am out on the town. If you have good buddies the system works, if you have reckless and unreliable buddies the system is useless and at items puts you at greater risk,” the editor said.

 Another editor offered an approach for safety when alone.  “For me if I am in a questionable area at night, I just try and not look scared or worried. People are good at reading if you are scared or not and people can pray upon those people. If you have confidence, you will be less likely to have any problem,” the editor said.

 “When traveling I am there to enjoy and be considerate of the company I am visiting or traveling with, my focus is following the heart of the group and enjoying ourselves as a collective. Drinking is not necessarily important to travel, it is a matter of preference and lifestyle,”another editor offered.

“I personally would not want to go to the most beautiful place in the world just to get drunk. If you are going to Vegas however, maybe you would want to focus on partying and drinking. I have heard that other cultures drink more than Americans are used to and they get drunk a lot and uncontrollable, but I honestly not experienced this or many other cultures to provide an educated response,” the editor continued. 

All of the editors agreed that despite the safety risks, traveling is a great experience, that when done safely, can be life-changing and magical.

An editor said, “I really think that risks should never discourage anyone from going out there and seeing what the world has to offer. I think that just being safe and making smart choices is enough. Risk is everywhere, but the exposure to new and beautiful cultures, people, and experience.