6 Safety Tips To Protect Yourself From Theft While Traveling
Traveling is a wonderful, eye-opening experience for everyone, and more people should take the risk of exploring other regions and countries beyond those already known to them. At the same time, traveling without a level of awareness regarding local populations, or with a disregard for your personal safety is definitely a no-no. Being a tourist opens you up to a host of vulnerabilities, some and good and some bad.
The following are a few tips to help keep you on your toes and protect you from getting robbed while out and about.
Take it Easy on the Credit
Credit cards and debit cards have become such an integral part of daily life that it is easy to forget how little it is used abroad. Not just that, but it might make it easier to steal your information. Using a debit card is especially risky, since the funds in your account are likely to be depleted before you can call your bank and warn them. Also, you most likely would have an easier time dealing with the matter if the theft happened at home – trying to talk over the phone to your bank internationally is not just frustrating, but it’s doubtful you will get anything done.
In general, you should be careful when using your cards while abroad so that you are not taken advantage of by a weak payment infrastructure, or some tech-savvy criminals.
Keep Valuables at Home
If you are traveling, it’s usually better to just keep things as simple and as streamlined as possible. However, if you absolutely must bring a few pieces of jewelry or valuable items with you, make sure to pack them in a separate bag and do one of two things: if you are staying in a hotel that offers a safe with a specialized passcode function, then keep them there. If not, and you’re “roughing it up” a bit, then keep them in a separate bag and not in luggage. Your baggage is more likely to be stolen and trifled with, but a modest looking backpack wherein you discreetly keep valuables is not an attractive target for most thieves.
While carrying some chemical deterrents with you, might not exactly scream happy, welcoming tourist, it might come in handy when you least expect it. There are a bunch of TSA friendly tools, and you can see more here for other ideas. Of course, exercise caution and don't do any of these deterrents unless you absolutely have to. Otherwise, you might find yourself in trouble with local authorities – which no one wants while on vacation.
Avoid Public WiFi
While it might seem rather mean, given our hyper-connected world to urge you to not use a free Wifi signal, you should at least exercise caution, especially when using a public rather than private signal. Public Wifi enables criminals to hack into your cell phone or laptops, thus stealing your date of birth and other bits of information.
To avoid having to rely on a WiFI source, you can invest in a portable router in order to help make things easier for you – all you need is a local SIM card and you’re good to go.
Don’t Post Your Location
While it’s tempting to show off to friends and family on social media that you just checked into a new and cool place, that actually makes it super easy for criminals to track your whereabouts. For safety's sake, you should keep your information private. Feel free to take beautiful pictures and post to your Instagram, but there’s no need to not your exact location.
Keep an Inventory
In case a sneaky pickpocket manages to steal your wallet, you will want to know exactly how to measure that loss. Keep a list of the important documents and cards you are carrying. Including travel papers, ID, medical insurance card, debit and credit cards, and so on. This will prove to be invaluable when communicating with local authorities and your company or bank at home what you have lost and need to track as soon as possible.
While you might be focusing all your energies on simply staying safe while traveling, don’t forget about your apartment or home. Local thieves usually sniff out owners who have left straight away. So try to suspend the mailing of different packages that can be easily picked up from your front stoop, and keep everything under lock and key. At the end of the day, traveling is all about keeping your eyes open and using common sense, while also enjoying your time exploring a new city or culture. Trust your instincts and if you feel something is up, then act quickly.