How to stay safe backpacking Asia

 Well hello to you my reader chums! One of the most popular questions I've been asked about backpacking Asia is, 'Did you feel safe?' and honestly, yes for many reasons. Like any destination, it's important to learn the ways to keep safe as unfortunate things can happen anywhere.

If you're backpacking Asia soon or planning a trip, here are my best tips on how to stay safe backpacking Asia.

How to stay safe backpacking Asia

Invest in a bum bag

Pickpocketing can happen anywhere in the world and it's always best to be prepared. One useful item is a bum bag or a money belt as it's kept right in your middle, next to you, preventing someone from easily grabbing anything from you. I would store my valuables in the bum bag such as money and my phone and then put everything else in my day backpack. 

Padlock your items

Along the pickpocketing line of advice, protecting your goods is key. You can do this by padlocking your large backpack and everyday backpack, preventing pickpocketers from getting in. You can also buy backpack covers to store your backpack in when you fly - which is convenient to pack but also prevents anyone from trying to get into it on the luggage belt at the airport.

Share your location with family/friends

You never can plan when you're in danger and this is why it's so important to share location with family or friends back home, especially if you're going off the beaten path. This point is also even more important if you're travelling solo. I updated my family daily with where we were, informing them we were safe. But, you can also easily share live locations in areas where you feel extra unsafe.

Prepare for mosquitos 

Mosquitos are everywhere in Asia and some are harmless whereas some can be harmful. To care for yourself in every possible way, firstly, you need to get the recommended vaccinations for the countries you're planning to visit. Also, you need to invest in mosquito repellent. You can buy it before you go as well as the armbands you can wear too, however, I found the best repellants in Asia. To save yourself luggage space, you can stock up whilst you're travelling.

Get travel insurance

I cannot stress to you enough the importance of travel insurance. Wherever you go in the world, you should get cover but especially when backpacking as it comes with its own dangers. Choosing travel insurance can be overwhelming but the key thing to remember is to declare all of your medical conditions and ensure all the activities you're planning to do are covered.

Watch out for locals trying to scam you

Scams are very common across backpacking destinations in Asia, especially in heavily touristy areas. It's important to know what to look out for and always try to haggle prices down. Many people will try and convince you to pay more as they think they can get away with it. Due to this, ensure you do your research on each destination on the common scams. One example is drivers will 'suggest' going to other places as they're driving you around and end up charging you more at the end. With that in mind, ensure you agree on a price before getting in any vehicle or ordering a Grab if they're available in that country.

Don't drink the tap water 

It's probably obvious, but tap water isn't safe to drink across Asia. Instead, you'll need to buy bottled water or fill your bottle up with water machines.

Get an international driving permit/motorcycle license if you want to rent a bike

It's the natural thing for backpackers to rent a motorbike or scooter to drive around and naturally many travellers have accidents. Due to this, don't be like us and miss out on getting the right licencing to drive a motorbike. When you have the right permit, if you get in an accident, you will be covered for the medical costs on your travel insurance (but always double-check your policy) and it'll help you feel more confident on the bike.

Go to ATMs attached to banks

Be careful where you draw cash out. Typically, I saw no danger in getting money out anywhere. Yet, to be safer, go to ATMs attached to banks as you have the certainty of protecting yourself and your bank account.

Take more than one bank card 

Things can easily get lost when travelling around; we definitely lost a couple of items between us. Considering this, bring more than one bank card along as a backup in case you lose a bank card and you can still access your account. I had my regular bank card, Monzo card and my travel money card as well.

Keep a list of emergency numbers 

Emergencies happen, that's life, even when you're living your dream life. If it happens when you're surrounded by other travellers or locals, they'll help you out. However, if you're on your own, this is where an emergency numbers list comes in handy. I always had it on my phone in the Note app in case I needed it.

Pack a medical kit

Accidents happen as well as illnesses, especially with new foods. I'd recommend packing a medical kit with essentials such as plasters, painkillers, anti-diarrhea tablets, dioralyte powder, anti-septic cream and any of your other medications. I wouldn't say you need to bring this everywhere, but it's good to have it in your room and with you on the long travel days.

Bring a portable charger

Phone batteries aren't the most reliable and you don't want yours to run out in case you need it for directions for example. We always had a portable charger on us for that reason and in case we needed to quickly search for something on Google.

Use your intuition

Intuition is a powerful thing. If you don't feel safe for whatever reason, get out of that situation to a place where you feel okay again. Our instincts can often save us from bad things happening as they pick up on them before we're physically aware.

Dress appropriately 

Some countries in Asia are a lot more modest in how they dress and it's important to respect that to avoid drawing attention to yourself as a tourist, and also to be respectful of their culture.

Be careful with the traffic

Traffic across Asia is insanely scary as it's heavily populated with motorbikes and that means weaving in and out of them when crossing the road. You need to be mindful when crossing the road about how dangerously locals drive and the side of the road they drive on.

I hope you enjoyed this post. What tips would you add?

Thank you for reading <3

No comments

Thank you for reading my blog! I hope you enjoyed this post and found it helpful in anyway. I'd love to hear any feedback you may have.