Japan has long been known for its safety standards and high quality of life. Despite recent events such as the 2011 tsunami and the nuclear disaster at Fukushima, Japanese tourists continue to flock to destinations around the globe. Nowhere is safe from crime though, especially during the holiday season. Let’s see below how to travel safely for the festive season in Japan.

Take a trusted guide or tour company with you

This holiday season, many travellers are going it alone. But that’s no way to explore new places. Instead, consider booking a trip through an operator like Globus (globus.com). The tour operators can help you plan your itinerary, reserve things like hotels, arrange visas and recommend English-speaking guides. They also offer emergency rescue services if needed — so your vacation won’t end up being ruined by a medical crisis. You’ll save time, money and stress — all while having fun. Plus, when you book through an operator like Globus, you can trust that they will take care of every little detail.

Stay close to touristy areas

Although we tend to think of Tokyo as one huge metropolis, there are several smaller cities within the metropolitan area. Some of these towns have their distinct charm, but none may be more bustling than Shibuya, Shinjuku, Ikebukuro and Harajuku. These are where most major attractions lie, meaning this is where you’ll find the majority of shops, restaurants, nightclubs and other entertainment options. So, whether you’re looking to shop till you drop at malls, catch some live music at jazz clubs, go clubbing or just hang out with friends, this part of town has got you covered.

Pack light

When I say “pack lightly,” I mean pack less — not necessarily lighter. Yes, our clothes might weigh us down here, but if you bring only the bare essentials you should do fine. And don’t forget about those shoes! Bring a pair that is comfortable enough for walking around but cute enough to wear on a night out. Don’t overdo it on accessories either. A few key items are good to have, but bring too much and you may find yourself getting overwhelmed.

Plan ahead

 One thing you want to avoid is running into bad weather. If you’re heading to a popular destination then it’s best to make sure you know what to expect before you head off. For example, if you’re visiting Kyoto, it would be a good idea to check the forecast before setting off. It’s also important to keep your health in mind, packing any necessary medication you may need.

Use common sense

 You may feel invincible when travelling solo, but you still have to be smart. Know where you are and what’s going on around you. Don’t walk alone at night, even in well-lit areas. If someone grabs you suddenly, scream. And if you’re ever held up at gunpoint, don’t resist. Try to remain calm and hope that people see you as a victim instead of a target.

Be wary of pickpockets

 If you’re planning on doing lots of shopping, then you’re going to need cash. However, don’t carry large amounts of money with you everywhere. It’s better to have small denominations of notes tucked away in your wallet rather than relying entirely on ATMs. Make it a habit to use ATMs located inside banks or post offices. Also, try to keep your bag close to you whenever possible. If you’re carrying it across your body, make sure it’s close to your front side. Finally, when you first enter a store, look suspiciously for anyone following you.

Find a friend

Another great tip is finding a travel buddy. Not only does having another person along increase the odds that you’ll stick together, but you can split the costs of trips and accommodation. Plus, everyone needs someone to talk to.

Eat & drink local

 Now that you’ve arrived in Japan, it’s time to start exploring its many treats! But by now you’ll no doubt be exhausted from the long flight so why not treat yourself? There are plenty of familiar dishes served up abroad so why not give them a try? On top of that, Japanese cuisine offers a unique taste experience. It may take some experimentation but you’ll soon discover that there are endless ways to enjoy food in this country.

Find free stuff

Most nations offer cultural days, which means the government gives discounts at museums, libraries and other cultural centres. But if your home nation doesn’t offer such deals, that’s okay. There are still things you can find for free in Japan. Just ask around locally or visit local tourist information centres (i.e., the one at Narita airport).

In conclusion, while travelling abroad isn’t always easy, it doesn’t have to be expensive as well. Take advantage of free events, discounts, deals, festivals and more. By preparing beforehand you’ll save tons of money and stress later on. So go forth, explore, relax and learn new things! Research on how to gamble responsibly when travelling.