Travel is one of life’s greatest pleasures and adventures, but no one would deny that travel comes with risks. And some of the greatest risks are the possibilities of getting scammed or robbed.
In all likelihood, it will happen to you. No matter how careful you are, or how meticulously you plan where to stay, avoid walking alone at night…at one point or another, you are probably going to fall prey to a scammer or pick-pocket.
But there are steps you can take to minimize the risk. Money belts may not appear to be the most fashionable items but they can prove invaluable in avoiding being pick-pocketed. Keeping your wallet and other valuables in pants pockets is a risky game, especially in cities where such crime is common. When you’re new to a city and are clearly flustered and looking for directions, or marveling at your new surroundings, you are an easy target for an experienced thief. Wearing a money belt under your shirt makes it a lot less likely that someone will grab your valuables off of you. So consider investing in one before you hit the road.
It’s tempting to always go for the cheapest accommodations possible, and that mode of travel can often lead to meeting some interesting folks who can become travel companions and lifelong friends. However, taking your chances on an insecure hostel or motel ups the chances that your belongings are going to be nabbed. At the very least, ask if there is a safe at the front desk where someone can lock up your valuables while you’re out. It’s a huge downer to lose anything important to you while traveling and major thefts can result in your trip being cut short while you try to recover the damages.
Even if you opt for a private room, check to make sure the locks work and are secure. Bring your own padlocks to be on the safe side and inquire about safety at the front desk.
Do your research, too – know what kind of crimes are common in the cities and the places in which they are most likely to happen. You may not want to avoid these areas altogether, as they are likely to be related to some of the sights you want to see, but you can avoid booking a room there and leave your credit cards and passport at home, just in case you do have a run-in with a thief.
Scammers are everywhere and tourists are fresh meat for them. Before heading to a new country, read up on some of the popular scams people try to run there so you’ll know what to look out for. It also helps to have a rough idea of what things like taxi rides and other services cost so that you’re not duped the minute you set foot outside the airport or train station.
Seek advice from other travelers when you arrive, as well. Learn from their wisdom, as they will know who is honest and who is not and can recommend those who are good to do business with. These steps can go a long way toward minimizing your risks and having an enjoyable trip.