8 Ways to Stay Safe While Taking Public Transportation in a Foreign Country

Alex Torres
8 Ways to Stay Safe While Taking Public Transportation in a Foreign Country

This article was submitted by Alex Torres, Chief Marketing Officer of Moovit, a real-time app with everything you need to ride public transit smarter. Get Moovit and start planning your transit (and life) better- and never be stranded again.

Traveling abroad can be an extremely exciting opportunity, and it's easy to get caught up in the idea of sampling new cuisines, exploring different cultures, and visiting world-famous landmarks. But no matter where you travel, it's important to take personal safety into consideration.

For those who use public transportation while exploring foreign countries, this is especially true. Traveling via bus, train, or metro is a convenient and cost-effective way to get around, but encountering crime is still a possibility. These tips will help you stay safe while using public transportation during your vacation abroad.

1. Leave Your Valuables in the Safe

If you're going to be hopping on and off buses and trains all day, don't bring valuables like laptops or expensive purses with you. Crowded buses can be prime places for pickpocketing to occur, and you don't want to give a potential thief any reason to target you.

trollies in city

2. Don't Dress Too Flashy

Along the same lines, don't wear your nicest jewelry while traveling and using public transportation abroad. This can draw unnecessary attention to yourself and make potential pickpockets wonder what other nice things you might be carrying.

3. Stash Your Cash Wisely

Don't take out large amounts of money from the ATM and keep all of it in your wallet. It's best to keep some in your suitcase, some in the hotel safe, and just enough in your wallet for whatever you have planned that day. That way, if your wallet does get taken, you won't be out too much money.

Similarly, don't keep all of your credit cards in your wallet; only bring out one at a time so you're not stranded without access to your funds if you lose your wallet.

Check out these tips for staying safe while vacationing abroad!

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4. Travel in Pairs at Night

If you're in an unfamiliar place, no matter how safe it might seem, it's usually best to avoid traveling alone at night. Try to make sure you stick with your friends after dark, or ask someone you've met at your hostel to ride the bus back with you to your room at the end of the night.

man at subway station

5. Mind the Time

Check out the local transit schedules so you know what time the different bus and train lines stop running at night. If you're out enjoying the local nightlife late into the night (or into the early morning) and you don't keep track of time, you could find yourself stranded with no buses in sight.

6. Keep Correct Change

Know how much your bus or train journey costs before you even get to the station so you're not fumbling with various bills and coins when you get on the vehicle. Have the exact change ready to go and easily accessible, or consider purchasing a local transit card so you can preload it with enough money for a few transit journeys.

7. Keep Your Bags Zipped

When on a bus or train, make sure your backpack or purse is completely zipped up so your belongings don't fall out and no one is tempted to reach in and grab anything. Cross body bags are recommended for women, as they're harder for a potential thief to grab.

8. Use an App to Plan Ahead

Figuring out how to use public transportation in a foreign country can seem overwhelming, but being prepared is half the battle. Moovit offers travelers the fastest routes and most accurate real-time information on public transportation, and is available in over 1,000 cities, meaning you'll be covered almost anywhere you go in the world.

subway ride

Use the "Trip Plan" feature to check out your route before you even leave your hotel room so you can familiarize yourself with all possible itineraries and station locations. And the app's "Get Off" notifications will help make sure you don't miss your stop, even if you don't understand the language of the announcements over the speaker on the bus.

Most importantly, remember to trust your gut and use common sense when traveling. If you travel smart, you'll be sure to have an adventure to remember forever!

Alex Torres is the Chief Marketing Officer for Moovit, based in San Francisco. Previously, Alex worked for more than 9 years at Google, where he performed different functions in Product Management and Product Marketing roles, launching new products including Google Site Search and the new Google Search Appliance versions. Other professional accolades include founding the first worldwide Google Local community team under Marissa Mayer and launching Product Marketing operations in Japan and Latin America for Google Enterprise (now Google for Work). Alex holds multiple degrees in fields including an M.A. in Advertising &; PR and an M.A. in Philosophy.

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