Ten Tips for Safer Summer Travel

By Jesse Sokolow on 13 July 2015
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Summer is here and the summer travel season is officially underway. While the majority of places you may visit are safe, a vacation is no time to throw caution to the winds. Foreign travel is mostly just that – foreign to you and, as such, unfamiliar. Thieves know this and are always looking for an easy score. As a result, they tend to operate where tourists congregate, following the philosophy of bank robber Willie Sutton who, when asked why he robbed banks, replied, “Because that’s where the money is.”

Here are ten tips to ensure you and your belongings stay together and safe.

1.) Make copies of essential information.

Before starting out on your trip, scan or photocopy of all your credit cards and documentation, including your driver’s license and passport, and be sure to keep them in a separate bag than the originals. Good practice is to email them to yourself in a secure manner (such as a locked PDF) to ensure that you have access to the information wherever you may be. Even the most wary and careful of us can lose or misplace items, or have them stolen. Having backup copies can ensure peace of mind when in a foreign destination.

2.) Travel light.

When out and about, leave valuables that you don’t absolutely need, such as tech gear or jewelry, behind. Some items can go into an in-room or hotel safe or, if such options aren’t available, a good hiding place. Some of the unnecessary items should be left at home.

3.) Approach ATMs with caution.

An uncle of mine recently had his ATM card number and PIN stolen after withdrawing cash while on a trip. Today’s high-tech crooks not only use skimming devices but sometimes install cameras to watch people key in passwords.  ATMs inside actual bank branches are far less likely to present a threat than standalone units in a store, but approach all with caution, and definitely shield the keypad when entering your PIN.

4.) Avoid crowds.

Thieves and pickpockets are well known to target tourists, so be aware at all times, especially at popular attractions with throngs of people. Crooks can strike at any time at any place, so it’s a good idea to keep items in zippered or buttoned pockets at all times. Learn the word for thief in the local language, shouting “Stop Thief!” in English will not garner much attention in Bratislava.

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