A gullible tourist is the easiest target for thugs anywhere in the world. While, accidents and incidents can happen to anybody, you are especially vulnerable when you are travelling. What can make a difference is to know the risks involved and be prepared for such situations. A few tips from us to keep you as safe as possible (and our gear too, if you are renting anything from us 🙂 ).
- Ensure you are as healthy as possible. The last thing you want is to fall ill before your trip. Make sure to take any special vaccinations (as suggested in the visa policy of your destination) so you are not ineligible to enter the country.
- Neck wallets, belt wallet, sock wallets and even undergarment wallets; there is a slew of safety wallets so that you don’t run the risk of losing your cards, passport and money. If you are not a fan of travel wallets strapped to your body the best alternative is a Forex card or an international debit or credit card. Check with your local bank for Forex cards that come with added safety features to protect you against theft.
- Always have a lock for your luggage – TSA-approved padlocks help to ensure that airport security don’t just cut it off and leave your luggage unlocked, plus they let you know if your luggage has been inspected.
- Record all the details like your trip itinerary, passport, credit card, telephone numbers, and other important information you may need while travelling digitally on your phone. Be sure to enable password for your phone to secure them. Save a copy of all these and your important documents on a small wearable USB bracelets or accessories too. So that you still have access to it in case you misplace your phone. Keep a note of your credit card numbers and the telephone numbers needed to cancel them (but not the security number and/or expiration date). Services such as CPP that help protect all your cards, can be useful, especially when travelling to high risk countries.
- Share your travel dates and details with your bank before you leave so they can monitor any fraudulent use and stop a card from working if they suspect it.
- There are many types of bag locks and backpacks that protect against theft and loss. Tag8 Lost & Found Bag Tags significantly increase your chances of finding your lost valuables. Another worthy buy is the the slash proof, anti theft Pacsafe Backpack (coming soon on Bragpacker).
Data theft is now among the biggest risks for tourists
At the hotel:
- Keep the “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door, even when you are not there. You can also leave the TV on, on low volume so that no one suspects it’s vacant.
- Handy and cheap, a portable door or window alarm can make any accommodation feel safer. The door alarm can also be used if sharing bathrooms.
- Go for accommodations that come with access cards or swipe card security locks instead of the usual lock and key.
- If you are meeting anyone from the city or a local contact or an acquaintance wait for them in the lobby. Don’t ask them to come up to your room.
- You are likely to be most vulnerable for theft at the time of checking-into a hotel. That is when you want to be the most vigilant.
While on the move:
- Pack your must-have items (money, ID, passport, etc.) in a small daypack and always hold on to it whether in out or in the room. In the event of an emergency departure, that is the first and only thing you should aim to grab.
- While public marches, civil fights or demonstration can seem interesting, steer clear of them in unfamiliar territory. You don’t want to be pulled in for no reason in a foreign country. It can also have repercussions on your issues visa in extreme cases. As a thumb rule, stay away from any suspicious event or activity.
- If you don’t know many locals in the country, start with asking your hotel manager for advice on ‘safe’ versus ‘unsafe’ local areas.
- Carry with you, at all times, the contact details of the Indian embassy in your destination. In a new place where you hardly know anyone, the embassy is your go-to place if anything goes wrong.
- If you are mugged, don’t fight back especially when not in public areas. It is better to lose a few dollars and a wristwatch than get injured.
- Snap a picture of your cab’s license plate before you get in it.
- Carrying a personal safety kit with a taser/pepper spray or even a whistle can be a life saver, especially for women. Everyone should carry it on them at all times.
- Sometimes carrying a camera around you neck is the surest way to become a prey. In places with a bad rep, the best idea is to appear as non-touristy as possible i.e no cameras, maps, sippers, clothes that make you stick out.
We strongly believe, being prepared is half the battle won. These precautions can actually make you be and feel safer and allow you to enjoy your holiday more freely.
Have fun and stay safe!