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Big, Bad Travel Dangers in 2013

All travellers need to be more vigilant to the dangers they face when exploring new places. Unfortunately, bad things can happen to good travellers. Understanding what the dangers are and how to avoid them helps travellers safely venture to exotic locations.

Before You Go

Make copies of important documents. In fact, make more than one copy. You can carry a copy with you and leave the originals at your hotel in their safe. Don't bring original birth certificates or social security cards with you when you travel. Write down the contact information for all your credit cards. If any are lost or stolen, you can easily cancel and quickly get replacements.

Remain Inconspicuous

Women should always travel in groups when in foreign countries. If taking a cab alone, have your hotel arrange it with a trusted cab company; do not accept rides from taxis that you did not call from the hotel.

The United States Department of State recommends that travellers can avoid becoming crime victims by choosing proper attire that is not too flashy, refrain from wearing high value jewellery and only carry enough money for the day's expenses, leaving the rest in the hotel safe. Never allow a stranger to convince you to carry a package. Under no circumstance should your suitcases be left unattended in public areas.

Real Life Advice From Experienced Travellers

A Durango Herald article shares some tips from experienced travellers regarding personal safety:

  • Pauline Frommer is the co-publisher of Frommer Guidebooks. When she travels, she does not take her jewellery along, and she dresses just as the locals do. On her recent Mexican vacation, she wore long and loose trousers, the same kind as the locals, so she was less conspicuous as a traveller.

  • Cindy Vanhoutte is an experienced travel agent and vacation rental specialist. When she travels, she scopes out the neighbourhood she's thinking of renting a vacation property in by using the Google Street View. While this is not the same as seeing the neighbourhood in person, she gets an idea as to whether or not she wants to pursue property in that area.

The Durango Herald  also spoke with the regional security director for International SOS, Alex Puig. Puig was held up while on a trip as his wallet and money were stolen. Puig said:

"Our clients are flying to the developing world and going to spots they never would have gone to 10 years ago. In the era of Facebook postings, all the great things you're doing can lead people to bad judgment."

Other Tips for Safe Travel

The Identity Theft Resource Center has some good tips to help travellers avoid identity theft, an issue that victims, like Alex Puig, often face. Make sure you make copies of all your credit cards, your passport and other important documents you need for your trip. Copy both sides of your credit card so that you have each financial institution's emergency number.

Travelling should be hassle-free. Whether you are travelling for business or pleasure, keeping your identity safe will add to your security and protect you if you are robbed or your credit card information is illegally obtained. The travel site, Vagabond Journey, suggests asking your hotel front desk about places to avoid so you are not cheated or scammed. It also recommends searching the Internet for your "(place name) scams".

A well-informed traveller is a well-prepared traveller who can avoid tough situations by not going to dangerous places. However, even the most crowded places, like airports and outdoor markets, are attractive areas to pickpockets.

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