Whether for business or pleasure, you may not realize it. However, you are a target for crime. Yep, the fact is, many criminals target travelers for an easy score. That’s why you need to be aware of tips for your personal security when traveling.
Why do crooks target travelers? There are several reasons. First, travelers usually have a fair amount of cash on them. Second, they are often “off-guard”, relaxed, especially if on vacation. Lastly, travelers are less likely than locals to report crimes as they do not want to become entangled with law enforcement and the need for a return trip to testify in court.
Sadly, travelers often fall victims to violent crimes like rape, kidnapping, and murder. In July, the dismembered bodies of two Russian tourists were found on a beach in Fiji. Two gang members were sentenced earlier this year in San Francisco because they murdered a tourist for $50 and a cell phone. Last month an Ohio teen was raped while visiting New York City.
Fortunately, most travelers who become victims experience less violent crimes like pick-pocketing, hotel theft, purse snatching, currency exchange cheating, etc.
Here are some tips for your personal security when traveling.
Hotel Personal Security When Traveling:
- Selecting a room on the third to fifth floors will generally keep you out of the reach of street crime; yet still within reach of most fire truck ladders.
- Do not discuss your business or travel plans in public areas where you can be overheard. Especially refrain from mentioning your room number. Keep your room key in your pocket, out of sight.
- Never leave valuables in your room; not even in a locked suitcase. Instead, place cash, passport, tickets,credit cards and jewelry in the hotel’s safe deposit box.
- Use the deadlock chain lock, and peephole on your room’s door. Never open the door to a stranger or trust the chain lock by itself.
- Take a moment to familiarize yourself with escape routes in case of fire or other catastrophe. It’s a bit late to figure out when the power’s off, there’s no light, and the hallway is filled with smoke.
Personal Security When Traveling Out And About:
- Keep valuables out of sight and luggage close at hand. If carrying a handbag, keep it in front of you with the fastening toward your body. Let go if your bag is snatched; it can be replaced.
- Carry your wallet in your front pants pocket.
- In the terminal, move quickly through security and go directly to your gate; these are usually the two safest places.
- Sit near other people, or near exits. Know how to find a primary and back-up exit.
- Dress down so as not to attract attention. Downplay jewelry. Consider buying special clothing or accessories designed to conceal valuables. If you need a lot of cash, use traveler’s checks (www.americanexpress.com)instead as they can be replaced.
- Consider carrying a “decoy.” Put about $50 and an expired credit card or two in a money clip. If you are robbed, throw the decoy (never hand it to your assailant) in one direction; run like hell in the opposite direction.
Travel is an adventure. Observing these personal security tips when traveling can help keep it a pleasant one.