Traveling for Spring and Summer break is always a treat! A trip can quickly turn sour, though, if you become the target of a thief. With a few preventative measures you can lower your risk for crimes like purse snatching and identity theft. It just takes a little foresight to protect yourself from theft when traveling and help ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable vacation.
Participate in group travel
When abroad, going on a zip-line ride, bungee jumping, a hiking expedition in a rain forest or along a volcano crater can be extremely exciting and personally rewarding. However, all of these adventures are best enjoyed when you are in a group.
As the saying goes, there’s safety in numbers. This is particularly true when you are in remote locations, like a hike through the woods. There are many tour groups who provided guided hikes or day trips. It may cost a little extra to hire a guide or participate in a guided tour, but it’s definitely well worth your safety to do so.
Don’t advertise your wealth.
When traveling, it’s generally best to leave your expensive jewelry, watches, wallets, purses and even suits and dresses at home. Expensive jewelry or gear can make you a very attractive target to thieves.
If they must be brought along, then it is best to leave anything of high value with the hotel safe, the room safe, or even at the embassy or a trusted bank.
The same as not advertising your wealth with expensive jewelry, wearing expensive clothing, like designer jeans, dresses, suits and even running shoes can set you apart and make you a more attractive target. Even in groups, unless staying within the confines of a resort, dressing in expensive clothing is much like wearing a sign declaring “wealth” to people who may not be as fortunate.
Jackets and shoes are often coveted items and may be targeted, so do think about these things prior to traveling. Items like jackets and hats can easily be lost or misplaced, too, when traveling. Better to have inexpensive clothing items lost than your expensive favorites.
Wear a money belt.
Having a wallet or purse on hand is expected, and people should carry one. Even better, use a money belt or neck wallet. Use your purse to carry things like toiletries you may need throughout the day. Use your money belt to protect your id’s, credit cards and cash. If a thief does grab your purse then, all they will get is your sunscreen and souvenirs or other items that can easily be replaced.
Alpha Keeper is a brand we’ve recently been introduced to that offers top-notch protection for travelers. They offer RFID Blocking technology with their well constructed money belts and neck wallets. I used both products on a recent trip and truly appreciate the terrific design and ample storage space of each.
The Alpha Keeper Money Belt has a nice slim design with a comfortable strong fabric. It’s easily hidden underneath clothing for a seamless look. Alpha Keeper Neck Wallets are perfect for taking with you on cruises or for beach travel. Both products are water-resistant, made with rip-stop nylon and have two layers of 100% RFID protective materials to ensure that your credit card info is safe.
Learn the basics of the local’s language.
If you do find yourself in a difficult situation, it’s helpful to know some basic words and phrases of the local language. Simple phrases like “hello,” “help,” “police,” or “where is the US (or Canadian, British, etc.) embassy?” should be learned.
Hopefully, there will be no reason to ever have to find yourself in a position where you need to use them, but it’s always a good idea to be prepared.
Hang out at your resort.
When staying in an all-inclusive resort, stay within their confines. Only take their supervised tours, sightseeing and physical adventures.
There is no need to take more money than needed when leaving a resort for any reason (other than shopping, of course), so leave everything of value in the resort safes.
This is extremely important for places like beaches where there may be no security or lifeguards. If the beach or area you are visiting is deserted, you may want to re-thinking your walking route. Populated areas can attract pick-pockets, but at least you will have others around you to call on for help, if needed.
Regardless of where you are, always try to stay alert and aware of your surroundings. Thieves like people who are distracted, not people who cautious and completely aware of their surroundings. If you are sleepy at all, stay in your hotel room and take a rest. You don’t want to stop for a rest and find yourself waking up on the beach with all of your belongings missing.
Also stay very alert when using ATMs or your credit cards. If possible, have someone else stand there with you to scan the area and keep you safe from identity theft attempts. Cover the keypad with your hand when typing in passwords and pins, so that no one around you can see what you type. Also be wary if a machine looks “off” to you. Let your bank know if you suspect that you have used a credit card machine that appears to tampered with. They can watch your account for any suspicious activity.
Leave notice of your destinations.
Simply – let someone know where you are and where you are going. Leaving the names and destinations of all involved in a day trip, shopping excursion, or when leaving the for any unscheduled reason is a smart thing to do. If your cell phone and wallet are stolen, it will be difficult to get in touch with your loved ones and to return to your resort. If your family or friends know where you are and don’t hear from you, they’ll only be able to look for you if they know where you are.
Many resorts have a check in at their front desk. If the people who sign in do not show up on time, police are called. The itineraries are given to them so that they can check on the safety of the guests.
Mind your manners.
Making threatening gestures, saying something mean, or any other means that will enrage someone should be avoided at all costs. It can make you a target.
If you inadvertently insult someone, simply smile and walk away, quickly if possible, towards the largest crowd visible. If there are police or army nearby, head straight towards them to deter any thief or aggressor from following you.
Avoid giving out too much personal information.
It’s great to meet people on your vacation and to be social. To give someone you’ve just met your entire life story or share intimate details like your anniversary or birth date, however, can be setting yourself up for identity theft. You just never know. It’s better to be a little more guarded about how much detail you volunteer when first meeting other travelers.
Of course, the ultimate goal is to have a safe and enjoyable trip. Do enjoy the things you have planned, but do so discretely, and always with your personal security in mind.