As you plan your summer vacation, there is one area of preparation that you should give your due consideration: your safety. Whether you are traveling alone or with your family, or traveling for business or for pleasure, there is always a chance that you will cross paths with someone who could steal from or otherwise harm you. The following are some precautions you can take before and during your trip:
1. ATMs — Automatic teller machines are a big convenience, but may be places for robberies to happen. Even then, you may not be accosted directly — you could use a fake or compromised ATM, with your information stolen. Only use ATMs at authorized banks and in well lit and public accessible areas. When using an ATM/debit card for purchases, use it as a credit card so that your personal identification number is not displayed.
2. Money — Do not bring a lot of money with you. Instead, rely on several credit cards to pay your way. Contact your credit card companies before you leave, explaining where you plan to travel and when. This is especially important if you are traveling overseas where a credit card company could freeze your account if they suspect suspicious activity. The cash that you do bring should be divided between your wallet and a personal bag…just in case you lose one or the other.
3. Wallets — Speaking of wallets, pickpockets will be looking for ways to relieve you of the same. Your wallet should contain only essential information such as your driver’s license and other identification plus your credit cards. Leave your Social Security card at home and bring with you your emergency contact information including family phone numbers and doctors. Keep your wallet close to you and never stuff it in your back pocket.
4. Documentation — Quite easily, you will feel comfortable in your hotel room. Just as easily, a hotel worker can gain access to your room, find important documents and copy that information to use for nefarious reasons. If your hotel has a safe, use it. If not, then carry the important documentation with you. Then again, why are you staying where there is no safe?
5. Home — Your home is locked, the security camera and lights are on. Even then, there may be telltale signs that you are away. Have your mail stopped or at least picked up and held by a neighbor. Newspaper delivery should also be stopped. If you plan to be away for at least two weeks, you will want someone to cut your grass and keep your yard tidy. It might be a good idea to ask a neighbor to park a car in your driveway to give the appearance that someone is at home.
6. Stragglers — Friendly people can make your trip a pleasant one. Beware, though, that friendliness can be used as a way to gain your confidence, including you letting down your guard just enough to allow someone undesirable to steal your information. Look over your shoulder, maintain a safe distance from strangers and never be caught alone with someone you have no intention of giving a moment to.
Should you live in fear while you are away? Absolutely not. What you should do is take the necessary precautions while you prepare to leave and while you are away. By doing so, you can limit the chance that your trip turns into a security nightmare, perhaps putting you and someone you love at great risk.
Lastly, give someone who is not traveling with you your itinerary. This person should know where you are going and how to contact you. Leave instructions for steps that should be taken in the event of an emergency or if you fail to arrive at your destination.
See Also — Pick Your Next Travel Destination With Ease