General Safety and Security Tips for Travelers

Travelers will face different challenges as they move from a location where they understand the local safety and security atmosphere and take usual precautions, to locations where the safety and security rules they usually apply in their daily lives may need to be adjusted and / or enhanced. Find below a list of general safety and security tips that may be useful for you as you travel.

At the airport

  • Only travel with bags you can easily manage on your own. Generally a carry on with wheels, a shoulder bag and your laptop bag will be sufficient for a week to ten days. Pack smart.
  • Proceed through security checks and go to the boarding area as quickly as possible. These areas are usually the most secure in the airport.
  • Keep control of your luggage at all times. For example: Take your luggage with you inside the bathroom stall, do not leave it unattended.
  • Have your passport, visa and other necessary entry/exit documents in an easy and secure place to retrieve and store as needed. Do not put these documents in your back pocket.
  • Be aware of Deep vein thrombosis (DVT). If you are traveling for more than four hours, try to get up and walk every 2-3 hours.
  • Use only cabs that are authorized by the airport and have a station at the airport.
  • Be familiar with the route the cab needs to take to the hotel and check in regularly with the driver about where you are.

At the hotel

  • Don’t discuss your room number out loud in the lobby.
  • As you check in, ask and learn how to call the front desk if you need help. Do not wait until you need them.
  • Select a hotel room on the third to fifth floor. This generally will keep you out of reach of criminal activity from the street and still within reach of most fire truck ladders.
  • Do not discuss your business or travel plans in public areas where they may be overheard.
  • Manage your room:
    • Have your key ready in your hand when you step off the elevator.
    • Prop your door open and make sure there is no one hidden inside the room before locking your door. Check the closet, under the bed, behind the window curtains and in the bathroom.
    • Make sure the room doors lock, including any balcony and connecting doors.
    • Use the deadbolt on the door in addition to the lock when you are inside your room. Consider packing a small rubber doorstop to use in case the doors do not have a deadbolt.
  • Manage service and visitors to your room:
    • Check with the welcome desk before you let any repair person enter the room.
    • Use the door viewer (peephole) before opening the door to visitors.
    • Do not entertain strangers in your hotel room.
    • Use the do-not-disturb sign if you do not want the room service to enter your room when you are not there.
  • Never leave valuables in your hotel room exposed or unattended, even in a locked suitcase. Use the safe at the hotel.
  • Put copies of your passport and credit cards in your safe. If they are lost you have the information.
  • Verify where the emergency exits are and what is the route to them from your room.
  • Get a few business cards from the hotel to carry with you. That way it is easier to let a cab driver know where to take you when you are ready to go back to your hotel.

Out and about

  • Appearance
    • Do not wear expensive or flashy jewelry.
    • Wear clothes that are respectful of the local customs and culture.
    • Women may consider wearing an inexpensive wedding ring, regardless of their marital status. This may assist in avoiding unwanted attention.
    • Excessive physical shows of affection are often best avoided in public.
  • Create boundaries and trust your instincts
    • Do not share details of your plans and itinerary with strangers.
    • Ignore unwanted attention. Confrontations of any type serve to encourage harassers who want attention, even negative attention will do.
    • Don’t be afraid to appear rude. If a stranger is making you uncomfortable:
      • Ignore / pretend ignorance
      • Feign confusion / lack of understanding
      • Move away / remove yourself from the situation
    • In any crowded situation, be aware of any crowding or jostling, even if it appears innocent. This may be a ploy by pickpockets to distract you.
    • If a situation feels bad, trust your instincts. Get out of the situation immediately and ask for help.
    • Women may want to be aware that in some cultures, making direct eye contact with men may be considered an invitation for advances.
  • Transportation
    • Public transportation varies from country to country. Find out from local and reliable sources about what public transportation is safe and which is not.
    • Stay awake and alert while using public transportation.
  • Valuables
    • Keep your purse or bag under your control at all times. Don’t hang it from the back of your chair, or put it at your side or under the chair at a restaurant. When walking, keep your purse or bag in front of you where you can see it. Do not wear it hanging on one shoulder.
    • Let go if your purse or bag is snatched.
    • Consider using purses or bags that you can wear cross strapped and with tops that close well, with a zipper or a top flap that locks.
    • Consider purchasing special clothing or accessories to hide your passport, money, or credit cards.
    • Keep the majority of your funds in travelers checks and hidden; carry some in your wallet or handbag.
    • Use a money clip. If you are robbed, you may lose the money in the clip but will retain important credit cards and documents.
  • Getting to know the city or town
    • Avoid dark, isolated areas at night.
    • Avoid walking alone at night.
    • Check with local and reliable sources which areas and locales in town are safe and which are not.
    • Verify your maps and directions before leaving the hotel.       If you need directions, go into a shop to ask directions or to check your map.
  • Use the Buddy System
    • Stay in groups if possible, don’t go out alone.
    • If you are traveling alone, let someone in your group know where you are going and when you plan to come back.
    • Have the phones of others in the group in your phone. That way you’ll be able to text each other if an emergency comes up.

Sources

The information on this page may change without notice

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