Traveling is an experience that I would recommend to anyone I meet. However, there are parts of it that are not so glamorous and sometimes, even dangerous. While I wouldn't say that the dangers of travel should deter you from taking your first trip, I do think that it's important to be aware and also prepare for any dangers that may arise. From my personal experience, here are a few travel dangers to recognize and understand how to deal with.
Tourist destinations and public transport are huge hubs for theft. Due to large crowds and easy distractions, pick pockets and thieves often scout out these areas and look for victims. Whether someone sticks a hand into your purse on the subway or grabs your wallet and runs in a public square, theft is happening all of the time. Make sure to wear a money belt (similar to a fanny pack but worn under your clothes), put locks on your luggage, keep your wallet in your front pocket and always be paying attention to the people around you.
While usually quite harmless in the scheme of things, scams are popular ways for local people to get money out of you for their purposes. They range from people posing as police and asking for fines, women throwing fake babies into your arms so that they can grab your wallet or people handing out flowers or bracelets and then demanding money once you've taken it from them. Other scams include taxi drivers not using the meter or telling you that your hotel or tourist attraction is closed so that they can make commission on taking you to a different one. And, vendors will often short you change or tell you inflated prices for products and services. Make sure to research the common scams in the destination that you choose to visit and always use your common sense when deciding whether to trust someone or not.
Falling into The Party Scene
This one may not be as obvious as the others and is more geared toward younger backpackers. The youthful travel scene out there is adventurous, exciting and often filled with plenty of partying. While going to a Full Moon party on the beaches of Thailand or roaming the Red Light district of Amsterdam can be all part of the experience, some travelers fall harder into it than others; making it a lifestyle that starts to wreck their health, wallets and trip. Try to keep the partying to a minimum, find travel partners who aren't sucked into the scene. If you are in recovery this becomes even more important. If you are traveling and find yourself being sucked into the partying scene seek out help as soon as possible either by going back home, or more likely, find a meeting of in the area that you are visiting.
Getting into Altercations
No matter where you go, there will always be people and with people, there are always a few bad ones in the bunch. Try to always be respectful to both locals and other travelers in order to avoid altercations. While much aggression is fueled by alcohol, the more time spent in bars and at parties is likely to lead to more interactions with aggressive people. Try to keep good company, travel with friends or try to make new friends and keep yourself out of sketchy situations like wandering into bad neighborhoods or walking alone at night.