6 Tips for Staying Safe While Exploring Nigeria
If you are planning a trip to Nigeria, it is only realistic to have concerns about your safety. Nigeria has gone through its fair share of political instability and terror; thus, many people still have uncertainties about visiting this country. However, if you are up for an adventure, you can create a memorable and authentic experience with your trip. Behind the misrepresentations, there are many things to do and experience in Nigeria.
Before you can travel to Nigeria, you should ensure you have a visa and passport. You are required to apply for a visa, and your passport should be valid for at least the next six months after entering the country. Some governments have issued warnings about traveling to Nigeria, deeming it to be risky for tourists. It is only fair to say that although not all the parts of the nation are unsafe, it is advisable to take precautions to minimize any risk. So, if you are set on visiting Nigeria, here’s what you need to know about personal safety:
- Check country-specific health precautions
When traveling to a new country, health precautions are a no brainer. You can use the internet to find illnesses you need to be immunized against. Take the necessary precautions by getting vaccinated against diseases and also visit your doctor to ensure you are not prone to contracting tropical bugs.
- Keep your valuables close by
The rate of crimes like mugging and pickpocketing in some of the big cities in Nigeria is considerably high. Take care when handling valuable items like your phone and wallet. Keep them safe and out of sight whenever you are in public.
- Learn common local phrases
Nigeria has more than 350 languages spoken by the locals. English is the official language; many people speak it fluently. Patios, which is a mix of Yoruba and English is also spoken, so whenever you need interpretations, find programs online that translate Yoruba to English. Learning some of the common phrases could help you when you need to give or ask for directions in case you are lost.
- Avoid No Gone Zones
There should be no compromise when it comes to your safety. Regardless of the adventure, ensure you stay away from areas considered as no-go zones due to insecurity. Travelers are highly discouraged from going to states like Borno and Plateau due to the criminal activities there.
- Adhere to curfews
Due to terrorist attacks, certain areas in Nigeria have curfews. There is no reason to run the risk of falling victim to these attacks, so when you are staying in these areas, ensure you are indoors before curfew time.
- Get a Travel insurance
Paying for a cover before traveling is convenient whenever you are traveling to a foreign land, especially a high-risk nation. Travel insurance covers a wide range of tourist adventures while providing emergency assistance 24/7.
- Save all important numbers
Staying ready has never hurt anyone, so ensure all the emergency numbers are saved to your phone. In case of any emergency, accessing some of the contacts will be easy when you have them at hand. The local embassy, hotel management of where you are, and personal emergency contacts are some that should make a list.
The Do and Don’ts While Travelling to Nigeria
Before and during your trip, the following are the thing to do and avoid in Nigeria:
- Research the places you want to visit
Making an itinerary is part of planning your trip. As you create the schedule, ensure you research the places you want to visit and determine any risks they may have.
- Do not drink water from taps
The safest drinking water in Nigeria is bottled water; avoid drinking tapped water as it may be contaminated. Also, buy water only from shops and ensure the seal is unbroken.
- Do stay away from crowded places
Most terror attacks target areas that are mostly frequented by people. Places like markets are less secure since many people flock there. Keep off from such places to minimize any risk.
- Do not give anyone your identification documents
Documents like your passport, identification card, and visa should remain with you at all times. In case of emergencies, accessing them should be easy.
- Do carry tips
From the airport to taxi drivers to restaurants, people are looking for tips. Carry with you some cash. With many individuals earning below minimum wage, it is polite to tip for services in Nigeria.
- Do not exchange money except at banks
Not all transactions in Nigeria accept credit card payments; you may, at times, need cash. If you need to exchange money, ensure you do it at banks. It is the safest way to avoid falling victim to scams run by some sketchy locals.
- Do not walk, drive
For foreigners, it’s safe to take a cab rather than walk in most of the cities in Nigeria. You are most likely to be a target for a crime. If you need to get around, request for reliable cab services like Uber; otherwise, avoid public transportation in general.
The decision to travel to Nigeria is personal; therefore, you are liable for maintaining your safety. Travel alerts should help you find information about places in Nigeria that are secure. As you brace yourself for the experiences you will get in Nigeria, ensure you have credible information on travel advice. This will help you make informed and safe choices when traveling to a new country.