We all love to travel and would hope that everywhere was safe. Unfortunately though, there are many places in the world where being a tourist can make you appear more vulnerable. Here are some common sense tips to ensure that your holidays are all about good memories.
- Keep everything hidden
Backpacks and bags are easily snatched and are simple for pickpockets to access, particularly when you’re distracted. Use a money belt or internal pockets which close securely for travel documents and credit cards.
2. Have a dummy wallet or purse
Keep some currency and an old credit card or 2 in a wallet which you don’t mind losing. That way, if you’re forced to hand it over, you’re not losing anything valuable or important.
- Stick to safe transport
While the cost saving of a private taxi might seem attractive, always travel in a licensed taxi which is part of a recognised company, preferably arranged through your hotel. If the place you’re staying at offers airport transfers, make use of them. Climbing into a strangers car, in a strange place, is never a good idea.
- Don’t keep your money in one place
There are times that you have to have cash available. Apart from carrying some in your dummy purse, spread the rest around into different pockets and hiding places. Avoid showing how much you have with you. Also, try not to have all your travel allowance on one card. That way, should you lose a card you can block it and still have access to the rest of your money. Card fraud is also on the increase and you wouldn’t want someone being able to clean out your account.
- Make use of technology
Apart from the great travel apps that are out there, install a personal safety app such as Shake2Alert on your phone. Add the details of anyone you know in the place you’re visiting to your group of emergency contacts. That way, should you get into trouble you can immediately notify everyone who could help. At a time when you may not be able to accurately say where you are, they will get your exact location and also see and hear what is happening around you. Being prepared doesn’t mean that you’re paranoid, just sensible.
- Trust your instincts
There are times when being polite just isn’t the right thing to do. When someone doesn’t seem right, don’t engage them in conversation. Rather say No and walk away. Your instincts are normally correct. It’s better to be seen as a rude tourist, than a victim.
- Act like you’re at home
Although you’re hopefully not holidaying somewhere with a significant crime problem, you should still keep your South African street smarts. Be aware of what is going on around you, don’t walk in dark areas, find out what parts of a city should be avoided after nightfall and know how to call for help.