Partying Abroad: 7 Things to Remember to Stay Safe While Having Fun

7 Things to Remember for Safe Partying While Abroad

Level up your partying game with our safety guide.

Between visiting tourist attractions and eating local food, many of us also want to experience the nightlife in our travel destinations. Whether it be clubbing on a semester abroad, having a bachelor or bachelorette party, or even celebrating a milestone birthday with some drinks, there’s just something thrilling about partying abroad. It might be speakers blasting songs in different languages or meeting foreign strangers that create such an electric atmosphere on a night of fun overseas! 

And as much as I want you to enjoy yourself to the fullest, partying overseas can be slightly more dangerous than doing so at home. Now, I’m not saying that you should skip it all. Instead, I’m imploring you to take some precautionary measures that will keep you safe while you enjoy your time painting the town red. And to help with that, here’s a list of the important things to remember for a fun and safe partying abroad experience. 

Also read: 12 Best Countries for Extroverts Who Love to Travel

Remember these for a safe partying abroad experience

1. Choose your partying companions wisely

Partying companions, safe partying abroad

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Many would say that the people who you party with make up the experience itself. So, choosing your drinking buddies is an important thing to consider when partying abroad. I’m pretty sure we would want to avoid any sort of confrontation with other partiers; thus, going out with a friend who’s known for drunkenly picking fights might not be the best idea. 

Instead, go with companions who can hold their alcohol well and are aware of their alcohol limits. That way, you avoid any drunken mishaps on the trip! Trust me, partying will still be immensely fun even if people are not completely intoxicated. So, you’ll still be able to have a fulfilling and safe partying abroad experience.

With that said, the only way to be sure of your partying companions’ drunken behaviour is to have an established relationship with them before the trip. That could mean going for drinks back home a few times, or even spending a month or two together while on a semester abroad. 

In general, try to avoid partying with strangers or people whom you’ve just met. I know, travelling is about meeting new people. And a great way to make new friends is over some drinks and good music. But you might just end up falling into a trap set by local predators. If you’re not a local, it is all too easy for people with ill intentions to take advantage of a tourist’s likely lack of knowledge of such scams. Ultimately, it’s much safer if you’re partying with people that have your genuine interests at heart and will protect you from danger. 

However, if you really do end up partying with people who you don’t know, make sure you’re going to an established club or bar with lots of other people around. Additionally, inform someone who’s not joining the group about your whereabouts and who you’re going to party with. Oh, and bring your phone along with you to the venue in case you need to call for help!  

2. Party in a group

Party in a group

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Now, there’s no magical number as to how many people in a group would be the most ideal for a safe partying abroad experience. But there are many pros to having a few buddies partying alongside you. One pro of going out in a group is that it makes predators think twice about targeting you. Moreover, you’ll be able to help each other out in various ways; from taking care of each other’s drinks to carrying a too-drunk friend out of the venue to take them back home. 

Yet, partying in groups does come with its cons: It will be more challenging to keep track of everyone, especially as the group gets bigger. Thus, establish a location and time to re-group, just in case you get separated in the crowded, chaotic venue. If you can, try to keep in regular contact with each other via your phones so that you know where everyone is and who they are with. And remember to take care of each other: Watch out for your pals’ drinks and make sure they don’t go over their limits!

3. Do your research

Partying research, nightlife destinations

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It’s no news that learning about a country’s culture before going there is important. Truly, when in Rome, do as the Romans do (or whichever country you’re in). The same applies when it comes to partying abroad. Partying culture varies across different countries — from the dos-and-don’ts of partying to legal ages at specific nightlife destinations to drug laws. You wouldn’t want to unintentionally offend the locals by breaking a rule or committing a taboo; it might drive them away from helping you when you really need it. Moreover, each country has different restrictions and punishments for various types of drugs. So, do your research well to avoid inadvertently breaking the law.

Additionally, it’s important to understand the culture and operations of the venue that you’ll be partying at. Just knowing the name and address of the club is really not enough. What kind of activities go on there? Are there any extra charges for tourists? Even knowing the reputation or reviews of the club or bar you’re going to can be potentially life-saving! Just a simple Google search online will reveal much about how your night might go. 

Furthermore, you’ll want to know where the emergency exits are beforehand, should the situation turn dangerous while you’re on the dance floor. Other details like the location of the nearest police station and operating hours of public transport would also be helpful. Ultimately, you’ll want to be assured that you can respond to any kind of situation at this venue so that you can party with lesser worries! 

4. Prioritise your own safety first

Bar fight, safe partying

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Look, I get it. When people are drunk, some might turn aggressive. I mean, it’s all too common to read news articles of bar fights and nights out gone wrong. And that aggression might be directed at your friends or some innocent stranger. You might feel compelled to help someone in trouble, especially if you’re a regular partier at home. But it can be dangerous to assume the role of a hero when you’re overseas. 

Remember, you’re now an outsider in this foreign land; unfamiliar with the culture, surroundings and sometimes, language. (Yes, even for those who are on a semester abroad. Because between yourself and a local, who is ultimately more adept in that environment?). As such, you do not have the appropriate resources to directly stand up for yourself and others. I get the altruistic notion of wanting to help others, so the best way to help someone in trouble is to notify security or call the police. Afterwards, step away from the action and let the authorities handle the situation. 

Even in situations when you need to protect yourself, you need to be firm without appearing too aggressive. Display firm body language by standing tall and looking straight ahead, and try speaking variants of basic phrases like “no” and “stop” in the local language to get your point across. Ultimately, your own safety is most important, so as we Singaporeans say: Don’t be so garang (fierce). 

5. Beware of drink spiking

Drink spiking at party

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Drink spiking is all too common at social events that involve alcohol. Predators spike drinks of unsuspecting individuals in the chaos, crowds, and noise. Drinks can be spiked by adding more alcohol into your drink to get you intoxicated more quickly or being added into serving jugs of alcohol. Alternatively, depressant drugs, which are often odourless and colourless, can be easily added to your drink without detection. This is especially common in countries where drug laws are not as stringent. 

To tackle this sadly common issue, here are some warning signs that you’ve been spiked: 

  • Feeling dizzy and nauseous
  • Feeling sleepy or passing out entirely
  • Feeling drunk despite drinking very little alcohol
  • Having hallucinations 
  • Having blurry vision and slurred speech
  • Having seizures (in serious cases)

The ultimate tip for preventing your drink from getting spiked is to keep a close watch on it. That includes only having drinks that were prepared in front of you so that you know exactly what you’re consuming. If you need to use the restroom or leave the venue for a bit, make sure to leave your drink with a trusted friend. Moreover, there are many products available online like caps that cover your glass to protect your drinks from getting spiked.

Finally, in the unfortunate event that you do get spiked, remember these two steps: First, get help; then, go to the hospital immediately. If you do not have any friends to take care of you, go to security and ask them to call the hospital. Getting checked and treated in the hospital is also important as the drugs can stay in your system for up to 24 hours. The drug test results would be essential when filing a police report. 

6. Travel insurance might not cover you

Travel insurance, safe partying abroad

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Hold on: Before you call your insurance agent, hear me out. Travel insurance does not usually cover alcohol-related accidents or accidents caused when intoxicated. Yet, we really need our travel insurance claim in the event that we’re robbed of our valuables while drunk. 

While the details differ between insurance companies and plans, you would likely need to prove that you were a victim of a crime — be it robbery or spiking — to get your insurance claim approved. Hence, that urine test at the hospital becomes a critical piece of evidence. Also, established nightlife venues will likely have surveillance footage installed, which will also be useful in your claim. Regardless, do some research, see what your travel insurance covers, and find out what you might need to get your due coverage. 

7. Watch out for your valuables

Pickpocket valuables

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Imagine: a dark room, loud music, and everyone dancing up against each other. It’s the perfect place for pickpockets! Sure, you can cancel your credit cards and earn your money back. But it’s better to actually take measures to avoid losing that bit of money. Instead of bringing credit cards, take cash for your drinks and cab rides. Plus, if you store that money either in a money belt or in your shoes, the pickpockets would find it much harder to swipe! 

As for your passport, find out what proofs of identity your nightlife venue accepts. If a driver’s licence suffices, then leave your passport in a safe at your accommodation. The worry and hassle of getting a new passport while overseas will dampen your mood for the rest of the trip. And if you really do have to bring your passport, avoid taking it out or talking about it. To many pickpockets, passports are truly worth more than their weight in gold! They’re definitely the prime target of many pickpockets, so pay extra attention to yours. 

Also read: The Ultimate Guide to Avoiding Scams and Theft in Europe

And there you have it, now you’re (sort of) ready to take on the various nightlife destinations when you’re abroad. Do treat this list as your handy companion when you’re planning for a fun evening of partying abroad, and make the appropriate arrangements. That way, when you’re lining up at your nightlife venue, you can truly let loose and have fun!

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About Author

Beautrice Oh
Beautrice Oh

Beautrice enjoys exploring new places and jumps at any chance to try something new. She loves learning about different cultures through their food, landmarks, and hidden local spots (if she can find them)! Always enthusiastic for an adventure, she plans itineraries that fully immerse herself in the destination’s culture, and will never forget to bring along her camera to capture the memories.


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