> Learn Common Travel Scams
There are plenty of professional con-artists out there ready to take your hard-earned money. We all like to believe that we’re too smart to be scammed, but it happens. The best way to be prepared is to Google the worst scams in the country/destination you are headed. Being forewarned is being forearmed. Every country has its own scams to look out for, so be prepared.
> Check the State Department Website
The U.S. Department of State has a page for every country in the world, where it lists all known difficulties and current threats to the safety of visitors. The downside of using this is that the state department is usually overly cautious. Google travel warnings for where you’re headed for more local information. Remember, just because a specific area of a country has a problem, doesn’t mean you have to skip over the entire country.
> Get Travel Insurance
You never think you need it, until you do. There’s travel insurance for everything, gear, health, property, etc. It’ll give you piece of mind and keep you and your possessions safe. That said, don’t bring valuables that can’t be replaced. There are many options out there, such as World Nomads or IMG Global. However, make sure you check the “per item” limits of coverage as some only insurance up to $500/item.
> Email Your Itinerary to a Friend or Family Member
Once your details are in place and you know your itinerary is complete, send a copy of it to someone stateside. If possible, try to check in with them every day or two if you’re going to be longer than a week. This way if they don’t hear from you, they can notify the proper local authorities, the embassy, etc.
> Register with Your Embassy
“The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, from the U.S. Department of State, is designed to make a destination’s local embassy aware of your arrival and keep you constantly updated with the latest safety information. It’s free and available for all U.S. citizens. It’s also a great way to get reliable, up to date safety information as you travel, along with an extra level of security in case of emergencies. If an emergency happens, like a natural disaster or terrorist attack, the local embassy can get a hold of you quickly to share important information or help with evacuation.”
> Stay “Tethered” To Your Purse or Bag
Most quick snatch-and-run robberies happen because the thief can do it easily. Therefore, anything that slows them down will help prevent it in the first place. If you can keep your purse or bag tethered to something immovable thieves will consider it too risky a job and leave you alone. It’s as simple as using a carabiner clip or a strap around your chair for bags. For purses, consider a cross body style.
> Stop Using Your Back Pocket
As common as it is, that will be the first place a pickpocket checks. Your front pockets are more difficult to access without you noticing. If you’re traveling to a city where pickpockets run amok, try using a money belt or a hidden stash clip like this. You can also buy specialized clothing with hidden pockets or have one sewn into your clothing.
> Use ATMs Wisely
Remember that advice about covering your hand when keying in your PIN number at an ATM? It’s good advice, especially in a foreign country when you can’t be sure who is watching over your shoulder or recording you. Another thing to remember is to check the card reader before inserting your card. If you can pull it off, move it around a bit, or looks out of the ordinary- Don’t use it as there’s likely a card skimming device attached. Make sure to notify the bank and ask if they have any other kiosks you can use and never let anyone ‘assist’ you in making a transaction.
“If an ATM machine appears to have eaten your card, run a finger along the card slot to see if you can feel anything protruding. The “Lebanese Loop” is a trick where a thin plastic sleeve captures your card (preventing the machine from reading it) – then as soon as you walk away, a thief yanks it out and runs off with your card.”
> Ask Locals for Advice
Most locals are friendly and will warn you about straying into dangerous areas. Be sure to ask more than one local and then double check that info by asking your hotel front desk or concierge. Don’t be afraid to ask what areas or streets they avoid and where to find a great local restaurant!
> A Few Words About Risk…
If you want to travel, risk is unavoidable – but it can be managed. Remember that social media and news outlets are biased and often report on unusual or rare occurrences. So be careful where you’re getting updates from. This doesn’t mean bad things don’t happen, just don’t get lost in all the publicity.
Source: Expert Vagabond