While traveling around the world can be a lot of fun, it also leaves you more vulnerable since you are not always familiar with your surroundings. That is just one of those things that come with exploring the unknown.
Having a positive travel experience is about balancing your adventurous spirit with a common sense approach to personal safety. Simple things like paying attention to your surroundings and the type of people that are around you can go a long way when it comes to keeping yourself and your loved ones safe in new territory.
When it comes to self-defense during your travels, doing everything you can possibly do to prevent attacks and negative experiences is as important as having the skills needed to physically end confrontations. You should only consider using physical force when all other options have been exhausted.
Let’s take a look at a few simple things you can do to prevent yourself from becoming a victim:
1) Plan all your moves carefully
It is not always in your best interest to be the tourist that sticks out; constantly fumbling with maps, butchering the local customs, and generally looking out of place. While friendly locals will be more than willing to help you navigate your way through town, every society has its bad apples and some of them might see your general cluelessness as a sign you would be an easy mark.
That is why it is important to properly plan excursions before heading out of your hotel room — which should be in a safe area you have thoroughly researched. Look up directions to your destination and include a few alternate routes. Try planning your adventures in a way that gives you ample time to return to your base before the sun sets. You generally do not want to be wandering around a place you are not familiar with at night.
If you are interested in enjoying some of the nightlife the location offers, make sure you inquire about which areas are safest for tourists and are relatively crime free. If possible, only go to places like bars and clubs when accompanied by a group.
2) Walk, talk, and speak confidently
Criminals all over the world have one thing in common: they always go for the path of least resistance. Make sure you are not giving off vibes that make you look like an easy target during your travels. Do not be afraid to assert yourself when talking with others and do not walk around with your head slumped down.
Behaving in an assertive manner gives off the vibe that you would be willing to protect yourself if the need arises.
3) Respect local customs
We have all heard stories of some arrogant jerk getting into a fight with locals over something trivial. Try not to be that person. It is your responsibility to learn about the cultural norms and laws of the places you visit. Being ignorant of them can sometimes get you in trouble with an overzealous local.
If a local becomes agitated by you breaking a cultural norm, be respectful and polite. An apology is usually enough to diffuse these types of situations since it shows that you care and respect the person’s feelings. Try not to break any of their laws either or you might end up on “Locked Up Abroad!”
4) Pay attention to your surroundings
While it is easy to become lost in all the attractions you stumble upon during your travels, you still need to pay attention to what is going on around you. For example, if you find yourself in a place with lots of aggressive, rowdy people, it is probably best to make an exit as soon as possible before things escalate.
Removing yourself from potential confrontation is the first step when it comes to keeping yourself safe. In addition, set physical boundaries when interacting with people who make you feel uneasy and use your voice when necessary.
5) Consider self-defense aids
It is always nice to have things that can give you an edge if you end up being attacked. Remember, other people are not the only ones you have to worry about during your adventures, Mother Nature can be just as nasty. For example, if you plan to go trekking through some vast wilderness, you probably want to have some bear spray just in case you end up getting charged by some wild animal. Bear spray works just as well on human attackers and other animals.
Other items like stun guns, whistles, kubatons, personal alarms, or heavy-duty mini flashlights can be used for self-defense purposes as well. Just make sure you check with local laws and airline restrictions before throwing any of these things into your luggage.
6) Take self-defense classes
Nothing compares to actually drilling techniques under realistic training conditions. That is one of the major advantages of learning martial arts or taking self-defense classes. This gives you the opportunity to learn tested and proven techniques that can be used to ward off stronger attackers.
Competent self-defense instructors like to simulate various scenarios where it becomes necessary to defend yourself, and that experience is priceless. When you have actually put in the work and learned how to properly execute basic self-defense techniques, you do not have to worry about your techniques actually working in a real-life situation.
You will already know they work because you have tested them numerous times on resisting opponents. That gives you an extra confidence boost that is priceless if you ever have to defend yourself. Drilling self-defense moves also improves your ability to perform to your full potential when the adrenalin is pumping during an attack.
Just remember to use straightforward techniques you are very comfortable with if the need to defend yourself ever arises. This is not the time to practice your spinning heel kicks. Remember, the goal of self-defense is to create enough space for you to escape or subdue the criminal until the authorities arrive.
You never know when a situation will arise where you will have to defend yourself. While we can’t be 100% sure that we will never be in a situation like that, what we can control is how prepared we will be. Don’t be a victim, schedule a complimentary introductory self-defense class with Evolve MMA today!
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