Most people in first world countries have a very different idea of "safe". First world country houses do not have bars on the windows, the yard may not even have a fence, a hotel that looks good from outside is usually a good bet inside. Most protection mechanisms are intended to keep the honest person honest.

When such people travel into the a third-world country, their parameters of "safe" need probably to be a adjusted little bit.

What are some of the safety related changes one one should be be congnizant of when traveling to a third world-country?

  • sorry to close this question so early in the site's beta, but it's too easy. Please read the "How To Ask" page (travel.stackexchange.com/questions/ask) for some advice on good questions to ask during the beta. During the beta it's important to ask very specific, answerable questions, not polls or surveys, so that when the site opens to the public, the questions that they see are exemplary of the kind of site we want to make... a stackoverflow-like site with hundreds of detailed questions, not Yet Another Generic Travel ChitChat Site Jun 22, 2011 at 2:12
  • Flagging for reopen. While I agree it is general, some practical, general advice is useful to travelers. While we can avoid the chit-chat topics, we should not dismiss any general question as 'easy'. I would not place 'How do I be safe?' questions in the easy category. I answered the question below with the knowledge gained from a couple decades of traveling and don't think anyone with less could accurately answer this (and I would welcome the advice from those with more). I would also flag this as detailed as it is geared to those who live in first world countries traveling to third-world.
    – Beaker
    Jun 22, 2011 at 3:06

2 Answers 2


Secure your valuables.

This doesn't mean "wear one of those naff money belts". Your ID, credit cards and driver's license are not secure and not necessary if they're on you while you're walking around - take only the cash you need with you, and leave everything else at the place you're staying. If you do get robbed or pickpocketed, your loss is minimized. Consider keeping a copy of your passport page on you at all times, in case you are robbed or it is stolen from your luggage.

You should either stay at a hotel/hostel with a good reputation (look online) to ensure your belongings are not tampered with while you're out, or alternately stay at a place that provides lockers, or secure your luggage to a fixed piece of furniture (wardrobe rail, bed, desk) using a cable lock and luggage net if required. To eliminate the need for the luggage net, you can buy slash-proof backpacks nowadays. It is far easier to stay in a place with a good reputation (and/or lockers) than doing all of this, though.


You do not need to stay at a 5-star hotel for security. In fact, I've had a number of things stolen from nice hotels. I prefer a place with a locker that does NOT have a built in lock. So, you can attach your own. Passports and money can go in there.

I avoid money belts. They are easy to spot if someone asks you to lift up your shirt. I actually have a loop stitched to the inside of my pants that I attach a small pouch with my passport and extra money.

Always carry some cash in your wallet. I like to keep about 20 euros (or equivalent) in there. If you get mugged or pick-pocketed, it typically will make them happy and they won't go searching for more. If you don't have any money in your wallet, I've seen muggers start to search the person for more.

Second, are the big three, recognized by most experienced travellers:

1) Avoid prostitution. Aside from the obviousness of the danger, many rings are run by people you don't want to be involved with. 2) Avoid gambling. Same reason as above. 3) Avoid rough bars. I consider these any place where people will 'look the other way.'

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