Knowing how to stay safe is essential when traveling to a foreign country. Protests can be common, and if you're unprepared, they can be dangerous.
Here are some tips on how to stay safe if you encounter a protest in a foreign country:
Don't go alone. It is recommended that you travel with someone who knows the area and speaks the language of where you are going. If you must travel solo, bring a guidebook or other material to help you navigate the unfamiliar.
Do not engage with protesters or try to talk to them about their cause. If a protester approaches you, it is recommended that you politely decline to speak, even if they persist in getting your attention.
Stay away from groups of people who appear agitated or angry. Even if it's just one person yelling or waving a sign around, others nearby might want nothing more than an excuse to start fighting with someone.
Don't take photos or videos of protests—this will make you a target.
Always be aware of your surroundings; leave immediately if you see something suspicious.
Consider purchasing travel assistance before traveling. If the situation worsens to where you are concerned for your safety, a service like CAP Tripside Assistance can provide support 24/7. If required, a security or crisis response team could be deployed to evacuate you to safety.
Ultimately, the best course of action when traveling to a foreign country that is experiencing civil unrest may be to avoid it entirely. While it is essential to be aware of global issues and how they can impact your travel plans and daily life, showing solidarity with a cause—may not be worth risking your safety.