Yes, traveling involves taking risks. Being aware of the risks and having some common sense about potential dangers will lead to a safe and enjoyable experience.
While political situations, terrorism, and dangerous crime often make news headlines, these are not your biggest risks while traveling. They are actually extremely rare. Instead, more travelers find themselves victims of food-borne illness, auto accidents, and pickpockets.
More travelers get sick from food than anything else. Food often leads to mild illness, but sometimes can cause serious diseases, and this is how most trips are ruined. Because of this, we compiled the following sections for this guide: Vaccinations and Food Safety.
Automobiles and buses are another huge, yet unavoidable, risk while traveling. As soon as you step foot into many foreign countries, you'll be reminded that not all roads are as organized as those at home. Whenever possible, wear a seatbelt. Make sure that the driver of the bus or taxi you are riding in is awake, aware, and seems competent. Avoid overnight road trips if possible. And if you're planning to drive at any point in your trip, you may want to apply for an international drivers license.
Where crime is concerned, pickpockets and thieves are everywhere, even in the country where you live. Following some basic preventative actions will help you hang on to your belongings and having a better trip. (Check out the section on Money Belts.) Use common sense. Would you go down that dark alley at home? Then don't do it while traveling, either. Pay attention to your surroundings and stay alert when in crowded areas.