Travelling can be one of the most rewarding, valuable experiences of anyone’s life – endless hours of relaxation, family time and cultural exchange that will truly change a person’s outlook on life and leave them refreshed and revitalised upon their return to ‘real life.’ That said, there are a few things that can go wrong when you embark on a trip – lost luggage, cancelled flights, pickpockets and poor weather.
When I moved to London tons of people in New Zealand warned me that the Big Smoke was jam packed with pickpockets waiting on every corner and hoping to rob me blind whenever my guard was down. This has turned out to be utter rubbish – I feel just as safe in London as I did back home in New Zealand! That said, when I am walking through touristy areas or travelling to unfamiliar countries in Europe I do exercise caution in order to reduce my risks of theft.
This is a common question that I get, and so I wanted to share some great tips with you, my readers, in order to keep you and your possessions safe when you are travelling abroad.
1. Check your credit score before and after you go – This one may sound like it is coming out of left field, but trust me on this! Checking your credit score will ensure that you are made aware of any security breaches in the case of identity theft. Your card could be copied or double swiped when you are travelling and debts run up in your name that you have no knowledge of – these can ruin your life. While you might think solely of your credit information when you are trying to improve your credit score, keeping up on this is just good common sense.
2. Be aware of your surroundings – This one seems like a no brainer, but you would be amazed at how many people get absorbed into their guidebooks and maps and lose all track of their surroundings. If your gut instinct is telling you that you are in an unsafe situation – trust it!
3. Use some creative money storage solutions – Forget about those old money belts that sit under your pants – these are cumbersome and pickpockets know exactly where they are. Instead, try a more creative solution – in your belt? In your bra? In this cool new travel jacket? Remember – NEVER access this money storage accessory in public – pop into the loo if you need to replenish your handy cash supply.
4. Use your maps and guidebooks sparingly – Nothing says ‘gullible tourist’ more than someone wearing a bum bag, sunglasses, a travelling hat and hiking boots who is also brandishing a huge map of the city! Try to blend in as much as possible, and try to duck into a shop or café to recalibrate or check your map.
5. Always settle on a firm price before eating/drinking/driving – No matter where you are in the world you may be at the hands of unscrupulous predators who prey on tourists. Make sure that you always settle on a firm price for everything before you engage in an experience.