Travelling is great until you get yourself into trouble and wind up naked, penniless, and tied to a telephone pole on a dirt road outside a corn field. Even if it never gets that bad, there are ways you can get taken advantage of as a tourist that can end up ruining your vacation. Here's how to stay safe.
Photo by Andreas Thell
Simple Security Items You Should Pack
A rubber door stop is a good way to ensure additional security in your room (when you're in it, of course), and it takes up next to no space in your luggage. If you're storing any valuables, it doesn't hurt to bring a lock. Even a cheap padlock is a good deterrent as anyone attempting to steal from your room will likely be in a hurry. If you're a little paranoid about crime, you might want to pick up a secure bag or purse. Often bags and purses are quickly stolen by thieves who cut the straps. Secure bags are made with resistant materials to prevent this.
Put Together A Travel Emergency Card
Carry a card with you that has local numbers for the police, fire department, hospital(s), and anything else you might need to call in case of emergency. In addition, it's not a bad idea to put your own emergency contact information on the card in case you're in trouble and someone needs to know who to call.
Know Your Taxis
You're almost always better off taking official taxis, as the unmarked cars aren't bound by the strict regulations. A reputable private car service might work just fine, but generally you'll pay a lot more for it. When an unmarked cab is offering a similar or better rate than the official taxis, it's at least worth being a little skeptical. If there's some reason you really don't want to take an official taxi, make sure the fare includes any tolls and fees that might come as a surprise later on. Also, if the fare isn't flat rate, be sure you know the possible routes. Some drivers will know better and will take good care of you, but others will take longer routes to increase the fare. If you know your options, you can suggest a different route to avoid paying too much.
Know Your Rights
Laws change from country to country, but ignorance to them will get you nowhere. when travelling to a new place be sure to research a few of the policies that could affect your activities. There are a lot of misconceptions and knowing better could save you a headache.