Tips to Stay Safe While Travelling
The world has many great places to see and experience. But sometimes, if you’re not careful, you can become a target for unscrupulous people. To minimise your risk of being robbed, here are a few tips on how to stay safe while travelling.
Tip #1: Research before going
Make sure that you research your destination before you even book your cruise. Look up the political situation, weather, crime rate or whatever other travel alerts you need to know. Don’t forget to research the local manners; not knowing them can get you in trouble (e.g. the thumbs-up is a rude gesture in the Middle East).
Tip #2: Don’t stand out in the crowd
It may be tempting to wear your most elegant and stylish outfit, put on your fancy jewellery and carry the latest gadget while walking foreign streets, but doing this makes you a target for crooks. If you must insist on wearing/bringing valuables, keep them out of sight. Avoid wearing outfits that make you look like a tourist. Instead, wear clothes that would make you blend right in.
Tip #3: Don’t keep your money in one place
When travelling abroad, don’t put all your money in one place, like your purse or wallet. If you lose it, you’re in trouble. You can carry a dummy wallet with some cash, wear a money belt for extra, and then leave the rest--along with your credit card and ATM--in a safe place like your hotel room.
Dummy or not, you should also avoid putting your wallet in your back pocket. This makes it easy for pickpockets to take your cash. If you’re wearing a jacket, put your wallet in its inside pocket. If you’re not wearing one, put it in your front pocket, bag or purse (although a bag or purse can be snatched).
Tip #4: Avoid travelling alone at night
It’s usually not safe to travel at night, especially if you’re visiting dingy parts of your destination. If you have no choice regarding the time, make sure you travel with a companion that you trust.
Tip #5: Duplicate all your travel documents
Remember to photocopy and scan your travel documents like your passport, visa and travel insurance. Place the physical copies in your luggage and e-mail the digital copies to yourself so that you still have backup in case something goes wrong.
Tip #6: Never leave your things unattended
This one is so basic that you should follow it even when not travelling. Don’t leave your bags hanging on chairs or at your feet even if you’re keeping an eye on them, unless you’re prepared to chase and subdue a thief. Keep your stuff on you, with its strap wrapped around your arm or leg.
Tip #7: Ask questions judiciously
Obviously, doing your research still isn’t enough. Nothing beats the knowledge of a local so ask questions. Ask what places to avoid, what sights to see or whatever you want to know about your destination. However, you should choose the people you ask. It should be safe to consult your hotel manager, but don’t ask anyone in the street--it could be a thief looking for a mark.
Tip #8: Don’t fight back
Here’s another basic that can be applied even when not travelling: don’t fight back when you’re being robbed. Handing your stuff over is more preferable than getting hurt. And if you followed tip #2, you wouldn’t lose anything that valuable.
Tip #9: Bring your embassy’s contact details
If you’re travelling, you should always have your embassy’s contact details with you. Memorise it if you can; the numbers could still be lost, especially if written on a wad of paper or stored in your mobile phone, which could be taken from you. If your destination doesn’t have your country’s embassy, look for other embassies that can assist you.