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Travel Safely This Summer

Date: 16.05.18 News

Unwary tourists make easy targets for thieves because they stand out in a crowd, are unsure of their surroundings, and are generally carrying money, credit cards and valuables like computers, cell phones, cameras and jewellery. You can reduce your risk of being robbed by taking a few simple precautions. It’s always a good idea to research the safety record of your destination. You could also consult with your travel agent, or talk to friends who have visited the same destinations.

  1. Keep your travel plans, including accommodation details, to yourself.
  2. Try not to travel at night or arrive late in the evening to unknown centres. 
  3. Ask your hotel manager for advice on 'safe' versus 'unsafe' local areas. As a general rule, city streets that include children and women suggest the area is safe for families.
  4. Take pictures of all your documents and put them on a locked site like DropBox that you can access from any computer.-Passport, IDs, ticket numbers, reservations, etc. That way if you lose them AND your computer or phone, you won’t be totally screwed.
  5. Schedule a regular check-in with someone back home-Whether it’s via Skype, Facetime, WhatsApp or email.
  6. Don’t keep all your money in one place- Keep some cash and a card on your person and some in your bag and some back at your hotel. Try to rely more on credit cards and travellers cheques than cash.
  7. If you are approached, don't fight back. It’s better to lose a few dollars and a wristwatch than get injured.
  8. Don't share taxis with strangers.
Hotel safety

  1. If possible, choose accommodation with unmarked 'swipe cards’ than numbered keys for each room. If you lose your swipe card or it’s stolen, the thief won't know which room to rob.
  2. Take note of emergency exits, stairwells, fire escapes and emergency plans, just in case.
  3. Always lock your hotel door when retiring for the night. If there is a chain included, use it.
  4. When arranging to meet people you've never met before (such as business associates), wait for them in the lobby. Don't ask them to come up to your room.
  5. Leave the DO NOT DISTURB sign on your door and the TV on when you leave your hotel room - this will deter thieves, who will think there’s someone in there.
Don't stand out in a crowd when travelling

  1. Even if you're not sure where you're going, walk like you've got a purpose.
  2. If you get lost, don’t look at your phone or a map in the middle of the street - Be discreet when map reading. Just duck into a café or shop and check there.
  3. Spring for a GPS if you’re renting a car.
  4. If you’re driving, fill up your gas tank when it’s half full to avoid running low when you’re in a sketchy area (or a place with no gas at all).
  5. Take your bag with you to the bathroom every time, even on buses and trains.
  6. Match your dress style to that of the locals. Don't wear an obvious 'tourist' outfit like a loud shirt with a camera slung around your neck.
  7. Notice the people around you. Be wary if someone seems to be taking more than a passing interest.
  8. Consider carrying a 'dummy' wallet holding a small amount of cash. If you are directly confronted by a mugger, you can hand over the dummy wallet and avoid further distress.
  9. Track your cab via Google Maps so you can tell if you’re going off route.
Beware of scams when travelling

Thieves devise inventive ways to rob you. Some of these may include:

  1. Posing as a police officer and asking to check your money for counterfeit bills.
  2. Posing as a tour guide and offering to show you the sights of the city.
  3. Slipping sedative drugs into your food or drink.
  4. Thieves in different cities tend to favour different scams. Ask your hotel manager or local tourist information officer for more information.

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