Ecuador – Emma Coates-Finke (2010)

Emma Coates-Finke is a graduate of Northampton High School and a student at Vassar College. Emma worked in Ecuador teaching English and running a culture and arts-based summer camp in a small indigenous agricultural community. Emma received $1000 from Sara’s Wish Foundation.

Read Emma’s travel safety tips:

1) If possible, travel with a buddy or a group. This gives you company and makes you less vulnerable, and two or three heads are always better than one when it comes to making decisions about when to take a risk and when to stay on the safe side.

2) Travel with as few valuables as possible. I always travel with a cheap point and shoot camera, as little cash as I think I need, and a copy of my passport rather than the real thing.

3) If you´re traveling with a large suitcase, you can send it in the luggage compartment under the bus, but keep any valuables with you in your seat. Keep an eye out the window when the bus stops to make sure no one´s getting away with your suitcase.

4) Travel during the day if possible. If you have to travel at night, make sure you know where you´re going when you arrive, and try to group together with other passengers to get there.

5) Look up some numbers of taxi companies if you will be spending time in Quito. Not all taxis that run the streets are legitimate, and calling a company to order a cab is a way to ensure a safe one. They usually only take 5-10 minutes to arrive.

6) Trust your local friends and acquaintances and ask their advice about travel safety. Hostal and restaurant owners, host families, guards at the bus terminals, travel company offices, etc. are all good sources for information on the go. If you aren´t sure, ask! Don´t let your concerns about travel safety inhibit you from experiencing the country.