Holiday Safety Tips are part of the planning process as unwary tourists can make easy targets for thieves. Tourists stand out in a crowd because they are not used to their surroundings, they dress different to the locals, they are generally carrying money, credit cards and valuables such as cameras and mobile phones.
You can reduce your risk of being mugged or robbed by taking a few simple precautions. and following some general holiday safety tips. It is a good idea to research the safety of your intended destination with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. You should also register your travel plans with www.smartraveller.gov.au and check for up to date information on your holiday destinations, covering factors such as political unrest or criminal activities that target tourists. You could also consult with your travel agent, ask your hotel reception desk before departing or talk to friends who have already visited your intended destination for their advice and any safety concerns.
General Holiday Safety Tips
- Keep your travel plans, including accommodation details, to yourself
- Don’t hitch hike
- Try not to travel alone at night
- Avoid ‘seedier’ areas of the cities you visit, especially at night
- Ask your hotel for advice on ‘safe’ versus ‘unsafe’ local areas
- Carry with you at all times the contact details of the Australian embassy. If your city doesn’t have an Australian embassy, find out which other country’s embassy is available to help you, such as the British embassy
- Keep a photocopy of your passport and all other important documents in a safe place. Carry only a copy of your passport leaving the passport itself in your hotel safe when possible
- Use ATMs at secure locations (inside banks) during the day, when there are more people around
- Try to rely more on credit and travel cards rather than large sums of cash
- Split your valuables so not all are lost if an incident occurs. Spread cash amongst bags, divide money if travelling with someone, keep spare cards separate to original ones in case stolen
- Minimise your financial risk by setting up a separate bank account with a small sum of cash available and only take your ATM card for that account. Use internet banking to top this up as required from your main account
- Wear valuables (such as passports and credit cards) on a belt worn under the clothes and next to the skin
- If feeling particularly vulnerable, wear your money belt somewhere other than around your waist (over your shoulder and across your chest under your shirt). Thieves know all about money belts too
- Consider carrying a ‘dummy’ wallet holding a small amount of cash. If you are directly confronted by a mugger, you can hand over the dummy wallet and avoid further distress
- If you are mugged, don’t fight back. It is better to lose a few dollars and a wristwatch than get injured.
- Avoid incidents such as fights, riots or civil disturbances at all times
- Even if you’re not sure where you’re going, walk like you’ve got a purpose.
- Match your dress style to that of the locals. Don’t wear an obvious ‘tourist’ outfit like a loud shirt with a camera slung around your neck.
- Be discreet when map reading.
- Notice the people around you. Be wary if someone seems to be taking more than a passing interest
- Don’t share taxis with strangers and never allow another passenger to enter along the way
- Carjacking is a problem in some cities. When driving, keep all doors locked and windows up. Make sure your boot is locked too
- Take note of emergency exits, stairwells, fire escapes and emergency plans in your hotel, just in case
- Always lock your hotel door when retiring for the night. If there is a chain included, use it
- When arranging to meet people you’ve never met before (such as business associates), wait for them in the lobby. Don’t ask them to come up to your room
- Don’t wear expensive jewellery on obvious display
Thieves in different cities tend to favour different scams. Ask your hotel reception desk or a local tourist information officer for more information about recent incidents happening with other tourists.
Stay safe while travelling by following these holiday safety tips. You can reduce your risk of being robbed or scammed by taking a few simple precautions and always be aware of what’s happening around you. If things seem too good to be true, be wary as they probably are and there is a high chance they are a scam.
Safe and Happy Travels