1. Attire: Try to blend in and avoid standing out as a tourist. The way one is dressed will only draw attention from petty thieves and con-artists. Try to avoid exposing expensive jewellery, money bags and camera’s. This is a sure sign of vulnerability and makes you a clear target for onlookers.
2. Valuables: Identify a safe place for your valuables on arrival. Only take as much money as you need for the day/night and don’t expose any valuable jewellery or equipment should you need to take this with you.
3. Back up your funds: You never know who might be watching you, so make sure to always use ATM’s during bank hours inside a building rather than openly in the street. A reserve of money is essential, so make sure to split your funds be it in a sock, different pocket or bag so you always have a back-up plan should the situation arise. Always separate your cards from your cash so you always have a payment method of some type.
4. Be Confident: Don’t ever be embarrassed to ask for help. If you think you are being followed, duck into a nearby shop or restaurant and ask for help. Don’t let yourself fall into a vulnerable position and stay in a crowded area if you are ever in doubt.
5. Personal Safety Device: Consider carrying a safety device for any situations that arise for which you feel threatened. Not only will it build your confidence knowing that you have the device, but a simple sound alarm could be enough to distract a threatening situation.
6. Insure yourself: As a first priority, get some travel insurance. Whether to look after you medical expenses or protect your valuables – insurance is a must, regardless of how long for.
7. Try to be sensible: We all know a holiday is there to help us explore the unknown, and find our inner ‘wild sides’ but we must remember to put on our sensible hats amongst the unknown and excitable. Don’t be invisible and ignore the warning signs, if it seems to good to be true, the likelihood is, it is! If locals/friends/hoteliers/guidebooks have wanted you not to go to particular neighbourhood, carry certain belongings and accept particular gifts/advances, there is bound to be a reason.
8. Vulnerability and Personal Details: Con-artists and petty thieves are always on the lookout for opportunities so if you are planning on sharing your personal details, think twice. Check websites before you buy making sure to look out for signature logo’s such as the ‘Secure Visa’ sign. Try to avoid using your cards in internet cafe’s as scam devices and Trojans can easily pick up your details and use them to ill effect.
9. Familiarise yourself with your surroundings: While in a foreign country, you are subject to its laws and customs. Always research the state department websites and tourism offices of the country you will be visiting so you are fully aware of those actions deemed acceptable. This will make sure you are not only kept safe from the arm of the law, but you are far more wise to your surroundings appearing less vulnerable to the preying con-artists and thieves.
10. Scan your important documents: If you haven’t followed tips 1 – 9, then unfortunately you might have lost all the important pieces of paper certifying you flights, itinerary, contact details and worse, your passport. Therefore, in preparation to your departure, make sure to scan and share these documents with a close friend/family member back home so they can have them on hand to send you to via. Email should this ever occur.