IS IT SCARY?
We are often asked if we ever feel uncomfortable, unsafe or scared in our travels. The answer is a resounding NO! As you are aware, we do like cushy travel but, are also out in each destination exploring on our own both day and night (I’m thinking about a time in Hong Kong where we found THE most perfect Stargazer Lillies…it was almost 2 am in some random alley). That being said, we are not foolish and do not put ourselves in dangerous situations. If we are told (or read) that there are “hot spots” in a certain country or city, we do our best to stay out of the fray. In the past few years, we have traveled extensively in Europe, Asia, Africa and South America. Other than one instance in Johannesburg (airport incident….evidently the “norm” there on a daily basis) we have not had any concerns.
The Economist publishes a Safe City Index annually that gives a good indication of the safety rating in major cities. The top 3 cities are all in Asia – Tokyo, Singapore and Osaka. This is not a huge surprise – particularly Tokyo and Singapore as #1 and #2. The government is fairly strict with those who assault or harass tourists – if caught and prosecuted, the ENTIRE family of the assailant is deported – extended family included. The 4th city on the list is Amsterdam – this was a surprise to me as I have always associated it with a relatively high drug / alcohol use. The highest ranked US city is Washington DC at #7 followed by Chicago and San Francisco at #11 and #13 respectively. This surprised me … I love the city but, don’t think of it as the SAFEST spot to visit. Some of our other favorite cities were ranked as follows:
#20 Hong Kong
#34 Buenos Aires
# Rio de Janerio
You can find the full report at https://safecities.economist.com/
When traveling to a new spot, remember to have a reliable car service or shuttle (your hotel concierge can usually refer you to someone with whom they’ve worked) pick you up from the airport or train. Do NOT get into a car with someone who is pushy and rushing. In some countries where the tariffs are high for cab “legal” drivers, these unscrupulous individuals are often not licensed or insured and are fast-talking innocent tourists into their cars and away from the legal cabs or shuttles.
Be sure to get several business cards from your hotel and have the concierge write their number on the back for easy reference in case of language barrier or getting lost.
Take your prescription medications in clearly labeled vials and your doctor’s contact information. It is unlikely you can get a refill in a foreign country. You may be able to secure some antibiotics or something of that nature through your hotel if they have a physician on retainer.
Place ALL valuables in the safe or with the Concierge at the front desk.
Travel safely and enjoy crossing off the Bucket List destinations! Don’t be afraid and do your homework about the city you are visiting. Ask plenty of questions and immerse yourself in the culture.
Wander Until Found,