Travel Safely, Travel Smart

Moving around the planet can be rewarding and life-changing. It can also go horribly wrong if you are not being careful!

My first consideration is luggage and carrying personal items. I tend to dress with purpose. I prefer jackets or sweaters with interior pockets which might slow down (although not guaranteed to stop) a pick pocket. If I am carrying cash, I carry it under my clothing in a concealed waist wallet or in some other discreet fashion. If I need cash, I only bring it out in the privacy of a bathroom stall, and put the minimum amount possible into a pocket.  If you have chipped credit cards, consider an rfid wallet, bag, or sleeve to prevent someone from trying to read or copy your information from your cards. I use credit cards when I travel with excellent security.  I have alerts set. On a recent trip to Africa a young man asked to pose with my group in front of a waterfall. He was holding two cell phones.  One was actually skimming her credit card information. Later one of us had purchases on a credit card from a city in South Africa, where we never went. Charmer=Thief.  He was smooth.

Keep your eyes open. Clearly the world at-large is collectively on alert for bad people.  If you see someone who arouses your suspicions…go with that. Our brains are brilliant at spotting danger even if we are poor sometimes at believing it.  We are biologically built to notice danger to ourselves and to others.  That doesn’t just apply at home. Keep that with you on business or leisure trips. In many places, if you are a tourist you are considered “rich” and therefor a target.

When I check into a hotel or “fancy” resort (less often for me but occasionally possible), I ask for a room that is NOT on the first floor. This makes a window entry for an ill-intentioned person less desirable.  I prefer a room with a safe for anything valuable I don’t want to take along. I lock my suitcase(s) whenever I leave the room. I leave the television on and hang the DO NOT DISTURB  the door to deter thieves.  I do not advertise my room number or go into my room alone if there is anyone in the hallway. I wait until they move along before going to my door.

Sleep on flights? If you have valuables along, be thoughtful about how you advertise them to other passengers. You never know who might help themselves to your bag, cell phone, or jacket if you are asleep and mouth-breathing or head to the little passenger’s room.  Bad people, particularly con-artists, are not scary in appearance or clearly marked as dangerous.  I won’t say “trust no one”, but lean towards “trust no one”.

In hotel rooms, put tissue in the peephole if it doesn’t have a cover. One-way peephole technology can be defeated, giving a nice view of your room while you’re there or out.  Also, don’t assume calls to your room are actually from the hotel. If someone calls asking to enter the room for a repair, requests you to leave the room, or wants to confirm credit card information, hang up and call the front desk yourself to confirm.

There are all sorts of articles with travel tips. I found a few I really like. We share similar ideas but these offer other great hacks!

Happy Reading, my smart peeps! And more importantly, safe travels!


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