Reconnoiter a Travel Destination
Comment not so much for Andy since he's experienced, but someone once gave me this advice (and I'm grateful):
Have a paper map of the city handy and ask the hotel staff/concierge/proprietor to draw a rough outline of the areas that:
1) Are safe to walk day and night
2) Are safe to walk during the day but not at night (maybe need a taxi)
A smaller hotel/hostel might give you better info since you're likely dealing with someone that lives nearby.
In latin america, the bigger towns/cities are divided into "zonas", and the locals mentally categorize each zone into one of the 3 groups above. It's no substitute for common sense and situational awareness, but its a good starting point for further investigation.
I am kind of new to all this traveling, but the above advice is the best I have seen. I am going to take it Thanks Kyle