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Security Tips For Travelling Abroad

Updated on March 23, 2017

When you travel to other countries you will fall into one of two categories: you will become very confident, or very paranoid. The truth is that neither of the two is the best option. Not everybody wants to be friends with you, but neither does everybody want to hurt you.

It is important to always keep in mind a few safety tips when traveling. Most of them may seem obvious or common sense, but remember, common sense is the least common of the senses!

Be Aware Of Your Surroundings

It doesn’t matter if the Taj Mahal, the Eiffel Tower, Machu Picchu, Angkor Wat or any other famous monument is right in front of you. Don’t allow distractions to stop you from keeping your eyes on your surroundings, rather than one direction.

Many people will take advantage of anybody who is mesmerized or lost in his thoughts. It takes a few seconds for a good pocket picker to grab your wallet and walk away, so pay attention to everything and everyone around you.

Don’t Look Like A Victim

A study by the Journal of Interpersonal Violence (http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0886260512475315) found that people select their victims because of certain traits, including how they walk or how they act like victims.

When you walk on the street, don’t slouch or hurry. Walk calmly, with confidence and authority, even if you are dying of fear. What would an attacker do if he saw you pass by boosting confidence? He’d probably just wait for another potential victim

Let It Go

If you were unfortunate enough to be mugged, then just let it go. Nothing is as valuable as your life, so if someone demands your money, wallet, cell phone, computer, etc., just give it up and don’t struggle.

Thieves just want to get away as soon as possible; if you comply everything will be over in a few seconds. A fight is just not worth it, and you never know if that gun is loaded or if he is willing to use it.

Separate Your Money

Never put all your eggs in one basket. Carry enough to get you through the day and leave the rest in your hotel room’s safe. Leave your extra credit cards there also. A good idea is to carry two wallets, one with only a few bills inside. In case you do get mugged, just hand it over and walk away.

And speaking of money, don’t forget to notify your bank before you start your trip. Many banks will freeze your account if they suddenly notice that your cards are being used to buy stuff in a different country.

Get Good Traveler’s Insurance Coverage

No matter where you are, accidents can happen. Worse of all, if you’re abroad, you might not be covered by your home insurance. Emergency dental or medical bills can put you in a tight spot, so visit some insurance sites and compare policies. Some will cover additional issues such as lost baggage, rental car damage and more.

Be Cautious At Pubs And Bars

Apps like Tinder are great to use while on vacation, just be careful and stay alert. If your date takes you to a bar you’ve never visited, keep an eye on your drink, but also watch your bartender as he prepares it. Not everyone is trustworthy.

Take Note Of Local Emergency Numbers

When you arrive, store any important local numbers on your phone, such as nearby hospitals, police and fire stations, cab companies, and your country’s consulate or embassy.

Make sure you know the official taxi colors and logos used where you visit. Use only designated licensed taxis. At some countries, you will find what are known as “pirates,” who use cars painted in a similar way as real cabs. Once you get into one, anything can happen.

Stay Away From Public Demonstrations

It might be exciting to join a public march or protest, but a peaceful demonstration can turn into a violent one in a second.

Most countries forbid foreigners from participating in public rallies. If you are detained by local police, depending on the country you are it can go from a quick deportation to having your passport and visa confiscated and ending up locked in a dark cell with no access to a lawyer.

Be Careful While Jogging

Being away from home doesn’t mean you have to stop your running or jogging routine. However, there are a few safety tips you need to follow. Avoid doing it alone, especially in low light conditions. Let someone – even the hotel clerk – know where you are going and when you expect to be back. Don’t wear headphones and carry a whistle. Change your schedule, so there is no set pattern or time established.

Stay Off Your Phone

If you’re lost and need to check Google Maps, or if you need to reply to a text message, stop walking and find a secure place to do it. Having your attention focused on your cell phone will make you vulnerable to an accident or an attack.

Driving Tips

Never pick up hitchhikers, even if they seem friendly. Try to limit your driving to well-lit and traveled roads. Always keep your windows and doors locked; if it’s hot, turn on the AC, but don’t roll down your window. When parking at night, choose well-lit places and look for people loitering nearby before exiting your car.

If you are being followed, drive towards a crowded area and stop your car; let the other vehicle pass you. If they continue to follow, look for any place where you can get help, like a gas station, shopping center or police station.

ATM Tips

Try to use the ATMs during daylight hours. At night, avoid ATMs that are not clearly visible from the street. Take a look at the ATM before using it and check for any tampering; criminals attach all sorts of skimmers to steal your credit card info and PIN number.

Don’t count your cash at the machine or in public, and keep your transaction receipt. When you leave the ATM, take a look around and make sure you are not being followed.

Remember, you can never be too prepared, too careful, or too aware when security is a concern. Stay alert at all times and enjoy your trip!

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  • Thelma Alberts profile image

    Thelma Alberts 6 months ago from Germany

    Very good tips. I am a traveler and I keep reminding myself to be aware of everything when traveling.

  • Rochelle Frank profile image

    Rochelle Frank 6 months ago from California Gold Country

    You are right, it's common sense,but always good to review the tips.