How to Travel Safely

Traveling, especially to an area that you are completely unfamiliar, can leave you vulnerable to theft. Taking a few precautions can ensure that your trip will run smoothly.

Make sure your insurance will cover any items you will be bringing. If your laptop was stolen on a trip, you would not want to find out the hard way that your insurance was inadequate. You can also get travel insurance to cover you in the event your hotel room or flight is canceled.

Make three photocopies of everything in your wallet: ID, tickets, credit cards, medical cards, passport, etc. One set of copies goes to a trusted person not traveling with you, one stays home, and one goes with you. If your wallet vanishes, you will have phone and account numbers handy to report items stolen.

When traveling through an airport, focus on the security checkpoint before worrying about anything else you'll be doing that day. Some criminals will work in pairs or groups by having one slow you down near the metal detectors. Another will take a bag while you're busy wondering about the hold up. And try attaching all your bags with carabineers so that you'll remember to take everything with you. This also makes it hard for a thief to walk away with your bags.

If you travel in a foreign country, exercise caution when taking a cab. Some cab drivers will say the fare is up to you, indicating the fare is negotiable. When you arrive at your destination, they change their tune and want some outrageous price. They may even find a cop, and together they get you to pay the higher fee. The driver and cop will probably split whatever they scammed from you. If you take a cab ride from a driver who likes to haggle, do the haggling up front. Write down the price you agreed on so that you can show it to the driver later if they change their mind.

Also, avoid looking like a tourist, especially if you are in a foreign country. Don't wear bright colors and avoid logos. Try spray painting your backpack (it will look old and beat up – something a thief doesn't want). Don't keep your money in a money belt; keep it in an inside pants pocket. Also, obscure the logo on your camera and keep it in a case that looks beat up. Keep the case close to your body, too. Other important tips include learning at least some of the customs of the country you will be traveling in. Learning a little bit of the language, landscape and laws will help you out as well. And carefully guard your passport. Losing it in a foreign country could mean big trouble.

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