No matter how safe an area appears, there is always going to be some crime. And there’s always crime against tourists especially, because local criminals know that we are typically carrying the good stuff. Money, electronics and other valuables are never truly safe while traveling abroad, (or even in our own countries) but there are precautions that you can take to avoid becoming the victim. Besides some of the more obvious precautions - like blending in and not appearing immediately as a tourist - it’s a necessity to make yourself aware of common criminal themes and plots.
Imagine you’re traveling in a country where your passport is worth more than gold then you lose it, or perhaps it was stolen. What if the country you are visiting isn’t too fond of Americans (or your home country) and you have absolutely no way of proving who you are, because you are without identification? This is never a good situation, no matter where you are traveling, and I’ve had it happen twice!
To avoid any headaches or possible dangerous situations, you can prevent the worst from happening by letting others know your travel plans. Leave copies of your itinerary, along with photocopies of your travel documents and identifications with trusted friends or family. Let them know where you are by leaving a record of each place you visit (ex. a simple update to a social media site or keep a basic public blog), especially if you wander off your originally-planned routing - who knows, what if you lose all connection to the outside world and basically disappear? If you are pre-booking any hotel reservations, any train or bus tickets, it’s a smart idea to leave this information and your contact information back home.
Think of the worst scenario that can happen while you’re traveling internationally - losing your passport, identification and credit cards. Unluckily for me, I’ve been through this situation twice due to theft. It can be a scary experience at first, being without anyway of identifying yourself and no way of paying for anything. In most cases, there are simple ways to get back on track, though they are normally tremendous headaches. You should never leave yourself without a backup plan. Things happen and no matter how hard you try or how much good karma you’ve built up, things can still happen - obviously when you least expect it.
No matter where you are traveling in the world, you need to travel smart - and safe. I don’t care if it’s the poshest of neighborhoods in the hills of Los Angeles. When you are new to an area, it’s best to be inconspicuous. I’ve traveled through the rough areas of London, Detroit and Puerto Rico, just as I’ve also traveled through areas with low crime rates - it doesn’t matter where you are, but you must always keep your wits about you. Now, of course I don’t suggest pinpointing Compton, California as a place that you should rush to visit or anything (just because you feel as though you can fly ‘under the radar’), but even I have been the victim of many crimes when I’ve least expected it.
Keep your head down and don’t draw attention to yourself - the goal is to blend in, so do your best to look less like a tourist and more like a local. There’s no need to wear that bright colored Disney sweatshirt or that oh-so comfortable fanny pack. I would also suggest to limit the amount of ‘flash’ - what I mean by that is if you have valuables with you, lock them away, far away - or don’t even bring them with you. Keep your camera in your bag as often as possible, and the same goes for your Apple products. And just because you own an expensive piece of jewelry doesn’t mean wearing it around Rome will be the best of ideas.
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