When traveling many things can and do go wrong. Following a few simple rules could help prevent many of those problems fellow travelers encounter on the road.
- Problems that could mean you spend time:
- At the police station filling reports.
- Locked in your hotel room, scared it will happen again.
- Leaving with bad memories and a dislike of the local people.
- Replacing items lost, that can cost you lots of money.
- Or just totally annoyed, ruining your holiday.
So what can you do? Here are a few tips for staying safe and still enjoying your holiday!
The single most important tool for traveling safe! You’re in foreign land, meeting new people, walking down strange roads, eating and drinking new things. Use your common sense, if it doesn’t feel right – do something about it.
Carry Only What You Need
If you are heading out on the town to discover new bars or taking photos at the local fish market, do you really need to carry your passport, travelers cheques, excess cash, visa card, American express card, plane tickets etc? Take what YOU need and leave the rest in the hotel safe. Better to lose a little, rather then everything.
Spread It All Out
A good tip is to place a small amount of money in a few different bags/pockets. By doing this, if you happen to lose a bag, visa card or money, you will still have something there to keep you going until it can be resolved.
Two Credit Cards
Many couples traveling will have 2 credit cards, both accessing the same account. The problem here is if one is lost, you have to cancel the account, meaning the 2nd card is no longer valid.
So think about getting two cards, each accessing separate accounts. If hubby loses his, the wife will still have a fully functioning credit card so you can continue traveling.
Hold Your Bags and Cameras
A big thing now is bag/camera snatching. To prevent this happening to you, make sure you wear the backpack on your back. Sling your camera over your head and shoulder. Walk on the pavement; motorbikes and cars can’t drive here!
If you leave your bag/camera dangling of one shoulder, someone WILL grab it!
Empty Your Back Pockets
Most guys (and some girls) will place their wallets in the back pocket of their jeans or shorts making them an easy target for pick pockets. Change your habit, place money/wallets in the front pockets or perhaps buy a bum bag (bags that strap around your waist). Out of sight, out of mind!
Scams, Scams and Scams
We have all read about the different scams that people have fallen for. Truth is, people continue to fall for them! Why? Because the scammers are professionals, it’s their job and their good at it. In most countries, the local people will be kind, courteous and helpful. Use your common sense. If unsure, leave. Or try asking other travelers, locals or hotel staff for advice.
One of the problems people have when traveling, is that they think they are smarter than the scammers, robbers and pick pockets. The sad reality is; your wrong, THEY ARE SMARTER!
Remember, these people do it for a living. This is how many of them feed themselves and their families. They are pro’s and very good at their craft.
If you use a small backpack or day bag when wondering the streets or local markets, buy a small padlock and use it. Instantly, would be pickpockets will be put of.
If you are like me and continually lose the keys, trying using a small D-Shackle, like they use in rock climbing. It doesn’t lock; rather it acts as a deterrent for unwanted hands getting into your bag. D-Shackles can be brought at most sport shops or large supermarkets for just a few dollars
Many of the problems outlined above happen only when travelers let their guard down. The basic rule of thumb is – you give them the opportunity, they will grab it with both hands!
The most important aspect for any traveler, ENJOY your travels! Being paranoid will have you locked in a hotel room. Prepare, use your common sense and then get out there, meet the locals, try the food and have fun.
Author: Adam is an experianced tour guide and photographer with more than 6 years experiance in South East Asia. Visit him at www.vietnaminfocus.info
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