Kristof (NY Times) tries to encourage students to travel, and in response to the concerned question, “is it safe?” gives the 15 pieces of advice:
9. When you arrive in a new city, don’t take an airport taxi unless you know it is safe. If you do take a cab, choose a scrawny driver and lock ALL the doors — thieves may pull open the doors at a red light and run off with a bag.
10. Don’t wear a nice watch, for that suggests a fat wallet and also makes a target. I learned that lesson on my first trip to the Philippines: a robber with a machete had just encountered a Japanese businessman with a Rolex — who now, alas, has only one hand.
12. If you are held up by bandits with large guns, . . .
13. Remember that the scariest people aren’t warlords, but drivers. In buses I sometimes use my pack as an airbag; after one crash I was the only passenger not hospitalized.
14. If terrorists finger you, break out singing “O Canada”! . . .
There, feel better? The White African gives 15 pieces slightly more positive tips (with the comments adding many more good points.)
e.g. 7. Bargain for everything. . . 10. Eat local. . . 15. Toss out your expectations, embrace the differences.