Katy Miller is a medical student at the University of Iowa. Katy spent the summer working on a human rights project that addresses barriers to care for children with disabilities in Brazil. Rachel was awarded a $1000 scholarship from Sara’s Wish Foundation.
Here are Katy’s travel safety tips:
- Know the area. Ask locals which neighborhoods and streets are safe, and avoid the places that seem to be questionable. If you’re not sure if an area is safe, to become familiar with the area before going anywhere alone – it’s especially helpful if you can travel with locals or get a “tour” from someone from the area.
- Get a cell phone and make sure to keep it stocked with minutes! It can be helpful for calling a cab or, if necessary, calling for help if you end up in a difficult situation.
- Be cautious with public transportation, especially at night or when travelling alone. Try to travel with a companion if possible, and take a taxi after dark.
- Only use certified taxis – it’s best if you can have a local friend recommend a couple taxi drivers, and keep their cell phone numbers in your phone to call when you need a ride. It’s much safer than flagging a cab on the street, and you don’t have to wander around in the dark looking for a cab – they can come to you.
- Find the balance between saving money and being in a safe environment. I stayed in hostels when I traveled, but I made sure they were in a good neighborhood and that they had good ratings for safety. Hostelworld.com is a good website to use to find hostels, in part because it’s easy to see where the hostels are located, and it also has scores for safety, cleanliness, and helpfulness of staff.