As a business owner, I don’t have much free time. When I do, I tend to fly abroad. Although I carry my firearm almost everywhere with me when I am stateside, I am unarmed when I travel (if you didn’t know, your gun license is invalid outside of the United States). When it comes to my own safety, I plan ahead and find ways to keep myself from being a victim. This involves studying the culture, learning about local self-defense laws, and always knowing my route in and out of locations during my stay.
The old cliche that “knowledge is power” is, well, right. The more I know about the culture, the more I am likely to avoid potential conflicts and being singled out as a tourist. In the United States, it is customary to say hi to a stranger you pass by on the street. However, almost everywhere else in the world it is considered odd and may bring you the wrong attention. Knowing how the locals dress is also important. I cannot tell you how many times I have spotted Americans while traveling by their shorts, flip flops, and plaid shirts. Although this may be normal stateside, in most places, people don't wear this type of attire on a regular basis (unless they are going to the beach).
If you failed in the above and have found yourself in a conflict, it is best to know the local laws as they pertain to self-defense. Most places are not as self-defense friendly as most states are in the United States. You must know what you can and cannot legally do to defend yourself if the situation presents itself. And if you do end up defending yourself, you should still maintain knowledge on how you would go about dealing with the local police, lawyers and judicial system.
Planning can help minimize your risk while traveling. Opening up Google maps and the street view can help you get acquainted with where you will be staying and traveling as well give you a preview to how potentially dangerous the location is. Knowing your route to and from the airport as well as in between local destinations will prevent being in the wrong neighborhood or, in the simplest terms, being ripped off by the Taxi driver. Before you head to your destination, write down on a piece of paper all of the important names, numbers and addresses of significant locations you’ll be visiting or staying as well as people to contact in case of an emergency.
Mindset and street smarts will go a long way when you are a long way from home. Study your destination, know the customs and laws, and always have a plan for when things do go wrong. As always, don’t rely on reading this article; drill the skills and put them into practice on your next trip.