A common thing that I hear from many people is that they really want to travel the world, but they’re afraid that something bad might happen to them. They’re worried about getting kidnapped or assaulted or some other worst-case scenario. It’s certainly understandable why many people would feel this way. Thanks to mainstream media, as well as social media, we’re constantly being exposed to the worst aspects of humanity. However, with the right information, you can make things safer for yourself when you travel. This article will talk about one way in which you can do so, choosing the right clothes.
With the right choice in clothing, you can travel in a foreign country without looking like a traveler at all. You could blend into your environment and look like you belong there. And if you can achieve that, then you can make yourself less of a target. The tips covered in this article are often referred to as Grayman Tactics, being able to blend into the crowd. In the Marine Corps I’ve heard them referred to as going ‘low-vis’. Whatever you choose to call them, utilizing them can make you a safer traveler.
Now this is not me trying to take on a paternal role and telling you how to dress yourself. Ultimately what you choose to pack and wear on your trip is up to you. But these tips are things that I’ve learned during my time in the Marine Corps and as I continue to train myself. And I would offer these tips to my loved ones because I highly value their safety. So they are certainly worth taking into consideration to help keep you safe while traveling.
Don’t Show Outside Affiliation
Now I’m American, and I’m certainly proud of that. However, when I’m traveling in a foreign country, people don’t need to know that. Nor do I want them to. Therefore, I make sure that they can’t figure out my nationality from the clothes that I’m wearing. For example, my Detroit Tigers t-shirt is obviously an appropriate thing to wear if I’m attending a game at Commerica Park. But in a foreign country, it’s a dead giveaway that I’m an American. And that could bring me unwanted attention. So leave any clothes that clearly tie you to your home country in your dresser or closet.
Also bear in mind that the brands of your clothes could possibly be show affiliation to a particular country if their logos are printed on them. For instance, Under Armour is an American company, Rohan is a British company. This could possibly tell the locals in a foreign country where you’re from, or at least show that you’re not from around there. Now I wouldn’t tell you not to wear clothes from these companies, or others for that matter, as many of them produce good quality products. However, what I would suggest is that if you’re going to pack a garment with a brand logo printed on it, make sure it’s relatively small. Perhaps something that is on one side of the chest area, rather than take up the entire front or back.
What I find to be the best practice in this regard is to choose plain colored clothes with no print whatsoever. Now they may seem like boring options. But to fly under the radar and not stand out, that’s the whole point.
Avoid Bright Colors
This coincides with the previous point. I did recommend plain colors when choosing clothes to pack. However, make sure that the plain colors you choose are not bright colors. Think about colors you see when you’re out and about. Which ones catch your eye? If you’re able to notice those colors more than others, then chances are other people will be drawn to those colors as well. So wearing clothes with such colors could draw the attention of those around you. Therefore I would recommend choosing darker colors. This way you can walk among the crowd with a reduced chance of being noticed.
Look at the Culture
Now that you know ways to keep yourself from standing out. Let’s talk about ways to make you look like you belong. Before you go on your trip, take to the internet and do some research on the country you’re visiting. Find out if there are certain fashion trends, or if there are any popular sports teams, or if there is a traditional garment that is commonly worn.
For instance, Morocco has many tanneries, so it’s not uncommon for many people there to be wearing leather jackets. Also in many places people will wear jerseys in support of their favorite football team. Whatever you can learn about the place that you’re going to, take those things into consideration when choosing what clothes to pack. And if you don’t think you have any clothes to make you dress the part, take a look at prices and see if your budget has room to get a few things while in-country.
To Sum It Up
It’s impossible to eliminate all risk while traveling. Even in the safest places in the world there is still a chance that something can go wrong. However, there are always steps that you can take to minimize risks as much as possible. This article covered a few of many things that you can do to travel more safely. Now that you know them, apply them, and keep them in mind when preparing for your next trip. So that you can go into your adventure and fly under the radar and be more safe.