In addition to home security advice, we also like to provide you with tips on personal security and safety. If you haven’t already read our previous posts on travel safety, we strongly encourage you to do so before taking off for your next vacation. Today, we have a few more tips to share with you and we hope that you will pass this post along to help protect your friends and family members as they travel, too.
When heading for a little rest and relaxation, there’s no need to drag all of your personal belongings with you. Doing so not only increases your luggage fees and increases the likelihood of important items being lost, but also sends a message to baggage handlers that you can afford a lot of ‘extras’. Having traveled a bit and knowing a few people who work in the travel industry, I can share with you a little known fact that a few unscrupulous baggage handlers will often target travelers for theft when it is believed that they have a lot of excess goods. The best way to avoid this is to travel as lightly as possible and leave expensive clothing, jewelry and other personal items at home.
One of the ways in which professional con artists identify and target clueless travelers is by assessing their wardrobes. Souvenir-type t-shirts, caps and other clothing that sets tourists apart from natives should always be avoided. Of course, expensive jewelry and designer clothing can also be a dead giveaway, especially if traveling in a third-world country. In fact, one of the first things that a thief or a con-artist in a poor country looks for when targeting a tourist is the state of the tourist’s shoes. Name brand sneakers or those that look brand new are often the signs of an outsider especially in countries where natives can rarely afford either.
Safeguard Your Children
Children have a very keen sense of awareness, but are not versed in the ways in which criminals will attempt to lure them toward danger. As parents and caretakers, it is our duty to maximize their safety at all times and even double those efforts while traveling. Consider using a SecuraTrac SecuraPal GPS Child Tracking Device to be sure you know where your little one is at all times and so that you can more easily locate your child should she or he become lost in an unfamiliar environment.
Beware of Con Artists
When traveling, be aware of con artists who work 24/7 to find tourists to take advantage of. How many times have we heard of tourists being mugged in large cities while everyday residents seem to dodge such crimes pretty regularly? This is because native dwellers, by and large, are familiar with many of the ploys used by local con artists while visitors, even those from other major cities, may be in the dark about particular scams being run in an unfamiliar city. For example…
Before I Knew Better
Once while traveling in Kenya, East Africa, a friend and I were nearly taken in by a local con artist. Our first mistake was going out alone in the late afternoon just before dusk in Nairobi, a metropolitan city much like New York City in terms of its crime and crowds. Even the natives know to be home before dark in Nairobi. A con artist immediately scoped us out, first by looking down at our shoes and then by offering a greeting and waiting for our reply. While we assumed he was being friendly, we later learned that he was checking for our accents to determine whether or not we were locals.
Immediately, this very friendly con man struck up a conversation and, upon learning that we were shopping for souvenirs, offered to escort us to his store where we could score some very cheap, authentic African goods. He also informed us that it was not safe for us to be out alone at that hour and that it would be best to have a local escort us during our shopping. Assuring us that his store was a mere block away, like idiots, we followed.
Inside of the densely packed store, our conniving escort began offering us all sorts of deals on beautiful clothing, accessories and household goods of all sorts. While the pricetags clearly stated one amount, he proudly offered us, his valued guests, sale prices on each one. It was only when we got ready to pay for a few items that the real owner of the store made her way to us, stopping our transaction short before booting the friendly con man with zero ties to the store out into the street.
Trust Your Gut
Often, in the spirit of politeness, we will ignore our gut instincts in an attempt to avoid hurting someone’s feelings or otherwise offending them. This is a habit that we would do well to break as it is these same instincts that exist for our own protection. When something or someone just doesn’t feel right, no matter how absurd you may feel in reacting to it or avoiding it, it is imperative that you do exactly that. While we don’t advise using an item like StreetWise Designer Pink Camo Pepper Spray every time you feel afraid, we do advise you not to hesitate to use pepper spray, or a similar protective measure, the instant that your gut tells you that you are in a situation of serious threat to your well-being.
First Time Meetings
If you are traveling on business and have meetings scheduled, be sure to research all companies and individuals involved in your meeting plans. If information is lacking, arrange to meet at a public location. Coffee shops, airport lounges and hotel restaurants serve as ideal meeting places in these situations. No matter how polite and accommodating a person is, avoid meeting at someone’s home until you know them better and have a strong business history together.
We Want to Hear From You
What are some of your best safe traveling tips? Be sure to leave your comments in the area below and don’t forget to pass this information on to your loved ones who may be traveling this summer.