When traveling in major cities it is important for travelers to be aware of local customs, rules and safety guidelines. This will help you stay safe and fully enjoy your trip. Below some tips on things you should be aware when traveling to a major city.
Ignoring Local Customs
Always research local customs, manners, and dress codes to avoid offending residents. This will help you stay out of trouble and reduce the chances of you standing out as a tourist.
Using Unregistered Taxis
Always use official taxi services or trusted rideshare apps such as Uber and Lyft. Never take a taxi from someone you comes up to you offering taxi service. Most of these drivers are unregistered and some may be unlicensed. If you were to get into a car accident, there is no guarantee that the driver will have insurance coverage. When using official metered taxis and rideshare apps, you know approximately how much you'll get charged for your ride.
Walking Alone at Night
Stick to well-lit areas that are full of people, and try to avoid being out alone after dark, especially in unfamiliar or less touristy areas. Although, most tourist areas in major cities are pretty secure and there is a lot of police activity, but always be in the lookout, you just never know.
Not Researching Local Scams
Many major cities have common scams targeting tourists. Familiarize yourself with them before your trip. You can easily find a list of scams either in YouTube videos or just by researching in Google. Knowing what to expect, beforehand, can save you a lot of headaches during your trip.
Avoiding Public Transportation
While it can be intimidating being in a new city or country, public transit is often the most efficient (and cheapest) way to navigate a major city. Do some research beforehand to have an idea of the city's transportation system, costs and operation hours. This will allow you to get a "feel" of how locals live in the city.
Using Your Phone or Map Openly
Looking at the map on your phone may make you seem lost, which can make you a target for pickpockets and scammers. If you need directions, step into a store or café to search where you need to go, more discretely. Don't bring any unnecessary extra attention to yourself and always try to blend in.
Not Having Travel Insurance
It is crucial to have travel insurance coverage in case of any medical emergencies, theft, or trip cancellations occur during your trip. Travel insurance not only covers your lost/damaged luggage and flight changes, the most important part of it is coverage for medical emergencies. Ask yourself this, can you afford to pay tens of thousands of dollars in case of an evacuation or if you need to be airlifted out of a foreign country? Better safe than sorry I always say…
Not Keeping Digital Backups
Always have digital backups of important documents like your passport, visas, and travel insurance documents. If you were to lose the physical documents, these may help you get out of a pinch if you were in need of such documents and did not have the hard copy.
Flashing Jewelry & Not Watching your Personal Belongings
Avoid displaying expensive jewelry, gadgets, expensive phones or large amounts of cash, which can attract thieves or pickpockets. Since pickpocketing is common in many major cities, use a money belt (although it is not fashionable, but it's practical, and always watch your belongings.
Not Respecting Sacred or Historical Sites
Always act respectfully and follow guidelines or rules, especially in places of worship such as churches, temples, or historical landmarks. Don't risk the chance of being fined, sometimes heavily depending on the landmark, or even getting some jail time, for not following simple instructions and being disrespectful.
Relying Solely on Tourist Areas
While they're popular for a reason, venturing out to local neighborhoods (safely) can provide a more authentic experience, which will help learn how locals live and enjoy their daily lives.
If you want to learn more tips and some additional travel advice, visit my website here.