Australia is one of the safest countries in the world, with low crime rates and a respected legal and policing system. But, in any big city, it’s important to be smart about your surroundings — especially if you’re out late at night in an unfamiliar environment.

While you are unlikely to encounter problems in Australia, it is always important to feel like you have someone to rely on in tricky situations. Whether it’s your friends, family or even an app, having a support network will give you the confidence to get the most out of your experience studying in Australia. With a few tips, you can ensure your safety on a night out. 

Get organised

Make sure your phone is charged, your ID is in your wallet, and that you’ve got enough money to pay for transport to and from your night out. You’ll want enough to carry enough money for a taxi, just in case you need to get one home.

It’s also worth taking note of public transport timetables before you go out so you know when the last train or bus leaves.

Go out in a group

When you’re living in a new city, naturally you’ll want to go out and experience everything it has to offer — including the nightlife. The number one rule is to avoid finding yourself alone and vulnerable. Especially at night, it’s important to stay with your friends and look after each other. Even if you feel sick or tired, do not go home alone or disappear suddenly without talking to someone first.

Let your friends know where you are

If you are going on a date with a new person or simply leaving the restaurant or bar early, always make sure at least one person knows where you are and when you expect to be home. On the other hand, if a friend suddenly leaves without notice, make sure to text them or check in with other friends that they got home safely.

Use your phone

Sometimes it helps to have someone else looking out for you. Apps like Sonder offer great safety measures in a convenient package right in your pocket. With 24/7 connectivity and Australia-wide coverage, Sonder enables you to send an alert for help in one swipe of your phone, organise someone from the team to check in regularly to make sure you’re safe, and receive geo-safety alerts for your area. Plus, you can use Sonder to safely track your journey home. If you stop on your route for any reason, Sonder’s support team will contact you to check if you’re OK, and if needed, will send someone to assist you in person.

Drink responsibly

The best way to prepare yourself for a fun, safe and healthy night out is to make sure you are well rested and hydrated and that you’ve eaten a proper dinner before you start drinking. Alternating between one alcoholic drink and one glass of water keeps you hydrated throughout the night and can help prevent a hangover. Bars in Australia are legally required to give you a glass of water for free if you ask.

It’s also worth noting that all alcoholic beverages sold in Australia are marked with their alcoholic content and the number of ‘standard drinks’ contained in the bottle. A standard drink is any drink containing 10 grams of alcohol, regardless of bottle size or type of alcohol. For example, most Australian beers are between 0.8 to 1.6 standard drinks. National guidelines for alcohol consumption state that drinking no more than four standard drinks on a single occasion, reduces the risk of alcohol-related injuries.

And one last note: There can be a risk if you don’t know where a drink came from or who it was prepared by. Where possible, order your own drinks at the bar or bring your own to a party to be on the safe side. 

Plan your journey home

Before you go out, make sure to decide how you will be getting home. Uber is a good option in all Australian capital cities, and registered taxis are often available in the street. Walking short distances is safe if you stick to well-lit roads and always stay with at least one friend.