No matter if you are travelling in your own country or abroad, safety should be one of your priorities. Nothing can ruin a trip more quickly than falling victim to petty crime, but unfortunately travelers are often victims of violent crime that can have devastating effects.
To help keep you, and your travelling companions, safer try following these ten tips.
Arrive at your destination during the day
Big cities can be eerily frightening at night. Small towns can look almost deserted. No matter your destination, arriving during the day allows you to get your bearings and acclimate yourself much easier than at night.
Walk like you know where you are going with your head and eyes up. If you are constantly checking your bearings or your map you are going to draw instant attention. Map out your routes in your hotel room or in your car when no one can see you.
Carry a throw away wallet
When held up, a robber generally just wants some cash. If you have a decoy wallet with a small, but decent amount of cash and a few older membership cards (not credit cards) you can usually give this up and avoid the situation from escalating. You lose the money, but you don’t lose the documentation or credit cards.
Use the hotel room safe
Many people hate being squeezed for a few extra bucks by their hotel, but this certainly beats having your laptop, iPod or jewelry stolen by the staff or a thief that targets hotel rooms.
Ask the concierge
In larger cities, a dangerous neighborhood can easily be just a few blocks away from one of the nicer areas. Ask the hotel concierge about areas to avoid when leaving the hotel. They may even be able to alert you to some of the more common crime trends that have been on the local news.
Ease up on the alcohol
A person who is visibly tipsy is a much easier mark for any criminal than someone who is clearly sober. Add to it the tendency to make poor decisions when you are inebriated and you have a perfect mix for becoming a victim of crime.
While this doesn’t help prevent crime, it does help you recover faster if you are a victim. Having passport information, credit card numbers, driver’s license information, etc. at your fingertips will help you get back on your feet more quickly.
Divide up valuables
Packing all of your jewelry or electronics in one bag may make sense, until your bag is stolen. Keep expensive items separate so that thieves can’t snatch everything in one easy grab.
Consider credit cards over cash
Sure it may cost a bit more, but if your cards are stolen you can cancel them and dispute fraudulent charges. Once the cash is gone, it’s gone.
Avoid packing unnecessary valuables
If you don’t bring it with you, it can’t get stolen on your trip. If you don’t need something avoid packing it along just in case.
Bonus tip – Check your credit card statements closely after travelling. While it may be safer to use plastic over paper, credit card numbers can be stolen and used fraudulently. Make sure yours wasn’t lifted by a local by checking your account.
Jeff writes for the Consumer Media Network’s travel insurance blog where you can find more information about travel insurance and travel safety.