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Safety tips

This are general short tips collected by the community, for more extensive information visit the official Safety Pages

Safety in hosting or guesting

Think twice before choosing a host or accepting a guest. Go on your own intuition; as they say: "Listen to everyone, but do as you wish".

  • Exchange some emails with your future host, guest or compagnion before actually meeting them.

With your host

  • If anything in your host behaviour makes you feel uneasy, refuse to stay at their place. It is better to pay for a hostel than to find yourself in a dangerous situation.

With your guest

With your travel compagnion

Gender issues

  1. If you have concerns about staying with or hosting a single male, you might feel safer with a girl, a couple, or a guy who lives with his/their family and/or children.
  2. Check if a male host or guest he has some positive comments (also from female BWers), but don't take this point for an absolute sign of safetiness. Spend some time reading comments and try to not be satisfied with party-comments only.
  3. You can meet him in a busy part of the town first, before going to his place.

What should i do if things go wrong

  1. As soon as you notice any inappropriate behaviour, react in the best possible manner. Don't let your host feel that you will allow him everything.
  2. The stronger and more confident you seem, the bigger chance you have to discourage someone to harm you.
  3. If you feel in danger, leave the house as soon as possible. Don't worry about your things, they can be recuperated later with a key local volunteer or police assistance.
  4. Don't hesitate to call the police or a key local volunteer. They are there for you to help.

Reporting a problem to BeWelcome

  1. Whatever happened it was not your fault. It is important to let the community know: report it. The abuse team is there to help you and to prevent any further situations like this.
  2. Don't hesitate to write a negative comment, even if nothing happened but you felt that the behaviour of your host was inappropriate.

On the road


Safety in a foreign country

Countries applying Islamic Sharia

Be careful in countries applying Islamic Sharia. Sharia is a very extensive topic, which is worth to be informed about. Values reflected in Sharia deeply differ from Western humanism. For instance, a rape victim can be legally punished for non-marital relationship. UAE is an example of such a country.

Application of Sharia law by country

General tips

  1. If you are wondering about the risks, just ask some one from the region about the issues which are scaring you. Take different advices and hear different opinions, from other travellers or from local people.
  2. Remember that the police is not always trustable. If you talk to a policeman or follow them, look for an identification number on their clothes or car first.
  3. As a general rule, just look what other locals do. If they do it, it should be safe.
  4. Listen to your instinct and think of your safety when talking to strangers and making friends with them.
  5. Don't trust too readily, and take your time to take any decision.
  6. Don't tell you are traveling alone. Your friend(s) just went to the toilet, or are waiting for you somewhere.
  7. Think twice about accepting eatables/drinkables from anyone you don't trust completely, it might be intoxicated. Try not to leave your drinks unattended. If unsure, put a coaster on your glass or leave it be and order a new one.
  8. Board a car after enquiring well and fixing the price and conditions etc. Check if they are going to charge by meter and if their meter is working or not.

Always have a back-up prepared

  1. If you do not have a guide book, google and print out the numbers of cheap hostels or hotels in the places you're going to visit.
  2. Have the emergency numbers of the respective country ready. General emergency numbers are listed in most guide books. You will find a list for specific emergency numbers on this site, but it might not be complete. Print it out, since you might not have access to a computer with internet.

In the street

  1. Avoid to walk in dark and lonely places alone.
  2. Take any chance to run away and be loud. Shout for help. This will discourage most of people to harm or bother you.
  3. Address passers by personally ("You, with the red jumper, help me! You with the baseball cap, call the police!"). That way people can not hide in anonymity and ignore you.
  4. It might be a good idea to have a pepper spray or a loud whistle. Don't hesitate to use both of them. If you don't have a pepper spray, deodorant spray works perfectly well.
  5. If you know Martial Arts or any other defending art, use it if needed.

Tips for female travellers

  1. Keep your distance. Be ready to show you are not interested in conversation or something you don't like. Cross your hands on your chest and stand with your legs a bit apart. This position says : I am not interested in having any contact with you.
  2. In most cultures, men tend to show their attention in a special way that may not be acceptable for you. Do not let them provoke you. Turning around and walking away is generaly a safe reaction.
  3. You can buy a cheap "wedding ring". In many countries a married woman is seen as property of another man and therefore "out of reach".
  4. If you ask for advice or directions choose police officers or women to help you.
  5. State clearly and forcefully, that you are not interested in any closer contact.

Think about the culture you are going to meet

  1. Dress appropriately, do not provoke. You can even discuss this with your host before visiting their place or their country.
  2. Don't make loud remarks or comparisons with your place. If something is different here, then the same thing at your place is also different for these people, there is not point in rating yours as "better".