Guest Post – Safe Travel Tips for 20 Somethings

Safe Travel Tips for 20 Somethings

There is little I love more in this world then travelling (although a grande Starbucks caramel frappucino will definitely give it a run for its money). So today I’m super stoked to be opening the doors of Signed By Sez to Sandra Zwick from Sandra is on a mission to reach out to 20 something women and teach them to live simply, passionately, freely, consciously and abundantly. I’m all for that and know there is a huge market of us 20 somethings wandering around hoping we’re getting life right. Sandra is here to help you. Welcome! 

Is it just me or was our generation born with a sense of wanderlust? An inbuilt desire to see the world…or maybe we just want a turn at bombarding everyone’s Facebook newsfeed with our holiday snaps?

Either way traveling the world seems to be on every 20-something’s to-do list, myself included. So, as I’m eight weeks away from boarding a one-way flight to Europe (gulp), here’s some of my tips for travelling safely and drama free as a 20-something.

1. Suss out the local laws before you travel.

It might be fine to have a few brownies in Amsterdam, but get caught with drugs in places like Bali or Singapore and you could be faced with jail time or the death penalty. Same goes for PDA’s, LGBT relationships, or being intoxicated in public; in many places these things are considered a serious no-no. In places like the UAE you may also want to be careful about sharing a hotel room with your significant other if you’re not legally married. Think it’s extreme or ridiculous? Tell that to the couple that got 12 months jail time in Dubai for kissing in public…

2. Solo female traveler? High fives to you, lady! Here’s a few things to keep in mind:

Register your travel details and keep family and friends informed of your whereabouts. While it’s fine to disconnect for a while, don’t disappear.

Also, don’t make it obvious that you’re flying solo; travel with confidence and purpose (even if you have to fake it). If you jump on public transport or into a taxi act like you have somewhere to be or someone to meet. Tell your hostel roomie or receptionist where you’re going and when you’ll be back so that your absence will be noticed.

Be aware of cultural differences; observe how the local women dress and behave in public and adjust accordingly. That being said, if you’re touched, grabbed or in anyway feel like you’re being cornered, make a scene. Yell, scream, cry and point at the person declaring what they’re doing. Go bat-shit crazy.

You don’t even have to wait for a confrontation to do this; I was walking through the city late one night when I got a creepy feeling this guy was following me. There weren’t many other people around and I was still some distance away from where I was going. So I channelled my inner lunatic. I started laughing and talking to my invisible friend. I stopped at a parking meter and asked it for directions to China. I started singing in German. Lo and behold, the guy crossed the road and got the hell away from the crazy girl. Always trust your gut. Always.

3. “Your hotel closed. I take you to better place”.

Scams and schemes are everywhere. Just type “Tourist scams {name of country / city}” into Google and you’ll find loads of things to look out for.

I was duped in Rome when I booked a hire car with a company that was way cheaper than all the rest. I had the car for no more than two hours when I walked away for 15 minutes and came back to find all my luggage (passport included) gone – and no sign of forced entry. After doing a bit of online research when I got home I found a whole lot of stories similar to my own, my guess is the “hire company” tracked the car and opened it with a spare key.

Keep in mind that if you look like you have money you’re more likely to be a target for theft. That doesn’t mean you have to dress like you’re living on the streets (although apparently “homeless chic” is a thing now) but avoid traveling with expensive looking luggage, be discreet with your cash, phones, cameras, laptops and other gadgets. Look out for people that appear overly friendly or helpful; if someone offers to help you with something, even if it’s just to buy a ticket at the train station always ask “how much?” before accepting. You’ll quickly separate the scammers from the Good Samaritans.

4. Insurance. Get some. Seriously.

Next, check out what it covers. After I had all my stuff stolen in Rome I discovered my insurance policy only fully covered theft if my belongings had been taken from me while I was with it. In other words, if your luggage is lost by the airline or stolen from your hotel room or car you may only be partially (if at all) compensated. The same goes for medical insurance, some won’t cover you if you have an accident riding a scooter or tuk-tuk in countries like Thailand or India. Staying in one place for a while? Check out the local insurance for tourists as this can be cheaper as well as reduce processing time if you do need to make a claim.

While it sounds clichéd the most important thing to take with you is common sense. Learn how to tell the difference between a problem and an emergency (hint: an emergency is usually life threatening) and remember to at least try to remain calm if you’re in a sticky situation, more often than not it will make for an awesome story to tell when you get home.

If you’ve got any other awesome travel tips, leave them in the comments below!


Sandra is a writer and health & confidence coach who helps 18-20-something year old chicks figure out how to live their life as the best possible version of themselves. On her blog you will find tips, tricks, recipes and life hacks to help you live simply, passionately, freely, consciously and abundantly.






  1. Tanja says:

    Ahahaha I cant believe you asked a parking meter for directions. That’s hilarious (and awesome). But super tips. I am travelling through Europe alone at the moment and I think the biggest two things are common sense – I was in Rome and wanted to go see a live band perform but it was one the other side of the city to my hotel and they didnt start until midnight, meaning they wouldnt finish until the wee hours of the morning. And no one wanted to go with me and I wasn’t about to galavant through the streets of Rome by myself in the middle of the night. So unfortunately I had to miss out. But I value my life more than seeing a band (even if it was a Queen cover band). The other thing is to always let someone know where you are. Technology makes this super easy today. If you are somewhere alone and feel uncomfortable, pull out your phone and write everyone you know on whatsapp/facebook or whatever…’this is where I am, this is currently happening, it feels a bit sus…I will let you know when I get back to somewhere I feel safe’ and if your mother is anything like mine she will have alerted every figure of authority in the northern hemisphere within half an hour! works.

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