With Summer just around the corner, travelers are making plans for their next adventure. Whether you’re exploring your own country or going abroad, enjoy your time to the fullest while keeping safety in mind. By following these common-sense tips, you will stay safer on your journey.
BEFORE YOU GO:
Travel Insurance: Traveling soon? Consider travel insurance to mitigate the expense associated with possible injury and theft abroad. There are a variety of options such as travel health insurance, medical evaluation insurance, trip cancelation insurance and baggage/property insurance. While insurance may be an unwanted expense, unexpected things frequently happen, so get to know your options and choose those that are right for you.
Stop Mail Delivery: Before you leave on your trip, you can easily stop mail delivery online through the post office. An overflowing mailbox or packages left on your doorstop signals that no one has been home recently. Stopping mail and delivery service will help ensure that sensitive information such as bills, tax or credit card statements don’t get into the wrong hands.
Keep a record of your important documents: Before you go on your trip, write down all the information from your credit and debit cards, driver’s license, medical insurance and other important documents. This will help you figure out who to call after a theft and ease the replacement process.
IN YOUR HOTEL
Use the room safe: Bring only what you need and lock up the rest. The hotel safe is frequently provided for your valuables and sensitive documents or a safe deposit box provided by the front desk.
Know who is at your door, making sure to check through the peep hole on the door before opening it.
OUT AND ABOUT
Learn common travel scams. While many think it can’t possibly happen to them, too frequently even the most savvy and seasoned travelers are targeted with a scam. Whether it be the “found” or “free” ring or bracelet, the finger trap, street games, “broken” taxi meters and other taxi scams, fake tickets, or too helpful strangers. Every country has its own unique scams to watch for so be sure to educate yourself prior to your trip and always practice situational awareness.
Walk or commute with friends: Whenever possible, bring along a friend or two for added safety.
Know Where You Are: Plan your route before leaving your hotel. Avoid opening and studying a map on the sidewalk; it’s a clear sign you are unfamiliar with the area and heightens your risk of being targeted. (Duck into a store or business along the way if necessary).
Don’t Jaywalk: Not only could you end up getting a ticket, but you could easily end up flattened by traffic. Use crosswalks and proceed with caution when crossing streets.
Panhandlers are best ignored, and the easiest way to divert panhandlers is to avoid eye contact. Generally, even the most persistent request can be deterred with a firm “No”.
Pickpockets and swindlers often work in teams, where one person will cause a commotion, either by falling or dropping something, while the other person pickpockets unsuspecting folks who try to help or stop to look.
Enjoy, BUT beware the crowded street performances which can provide pickpockets a similar opportunity. While it is fine to watch the musicians or artists, be aware of your surroundings and where your wallet and valuables are.
Men should carry their wallets in their front pants pocket rather than in their back pockets. Women should tightly hold their purse to their front or side.
When in bars or restaurants, keep your purse, bag or other valuables within your line of sight. Never hang your purse or bag on the back of a chair or put it underneath the table.
Don’t Travel in Unmarked Taxi Cabs: Commonly referred to as “Gypsy Cabs,” these unmarked taxi cabs are usually non-metered, non-insured and non-licensed. Avoid a rip-off – or something worse – by denying a trip in these unmarked taxi cabs. Once you’ve chosen your car, ensure the meter is on and functioning. If the driver claims it is cheaper not to run the meter, get out and find another taxi.
Avoid Unsecured/Insecure WiFi: Many shops and restaurants will make wifi available for their customers for free, but be sure that the network shows the Padlock icon before connecting to it. This may mean asking an employee or checking a menu or receipt for the password to connect. The padlock icon means the network is encrypted and it is less likely that a hacker will be able to intercept your data.
Password protect phones and other devices: Your phone and other devices store sensitive information, such as access to your emails, and possibly banking or credit card information. Less than 50 percent of us password-protect our smartphones, making it easy for thieves to access that information and roughly only 25 percent of us have a tracking device set up in case our phones get stolen.
Not only should you set up a password to unlock your device, but you should create a strong, unique password and change it regularly. Enable location tracking and install a wiping software so you can track down your phone or destroy the data on it if it’s ever stolen. iPhone users can utilize the Find My iPhone features built into iOS and android users can go through the setup for tracking lost devices which includes Google’s own Find My Device app (not built in like iOS, but Free).
Wait to Post on Social Media: Posting information and photos of your location, schedule or other travel information in real-time can by risky. Sharing your agenda or location on social media allows potential thieves to keep track of where you are, making it easier for them to time a crime. Instead, wait to post about your trip until you get home.
No one likes to think about theft, scams or injury when they’re on vacation. By practicing these preventative measures and elevating your situational awareness, you can reduce the risks associated with travel while increasing your enjoyment in the long run. Safe and happy travels!
- Posted by Dawn Rahicki
- On May 3, 2018
- 0 Comments