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Staying safe is important wherever you are, but when you are travelling you may be visiting a place with a completely different culture and attitude to crime.

Here are our suggestions on how to be careful whilst travelling so that you return home with everything you left with, and without any problems.

1. Handbags

Always ensure your handbag is closed and have any zips facing forward. Otherwise, you may look round one day and see somebody having a little peek inside.

2. When in crowds

When in a busy place be extra careful with your bags, try and have them in front of you, not on your back.

3. Back pockets

One of the most important tips is to never put your phone, wallet, passport or anything else important in your back pocket. For an experienced pickpocket it would be easy pickings for them to snatch it before you even blink an eye.

Wallet in back pocket
Wallet in back pocket

4. At restaurants

When at a restaurant if you have a bag and put it under the table, make sure it can’t be snatched. Consider wrapping the straps around your legs.

Don’t leave your phone on the table. A sneaky trick is for somebody to put their map on your table while asking for help, and when they remove the map, they also remove your phone. Phones on tables can also be easily snatched by a cyclist or by others passing by.

5. At night

Always keep an eye on who’s around you at night, more so if you are taking pictures using a large camera or your phone. By doing this you will appear less of an easy target. Also at night avoid walking through isolated areas like parks and alleys if possible.

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6. Public transport

When using local transport such as a bus, where your suitcase may have to go underneath in the hold, always keep your valuables with you, just like you would on a plane. Although it should be safe, you never know if someone getting off before you may take your bag, even by accident.

7. Money belts

These are fantastic and go under your clothing. They make it very difficult for someone to get or even know the contents. Here’s example on Amazon.

8. Suitcase with locks

Consider getting a suitcase with a lock, small things like this may be a deterrent and should make stealing your bags seem like more hassle. Here’s an example from Amazon.

9. Hotel safes

When at a hotel always use the safe (if there is one) for anything valuable.

10. Whilst at the beach

Whilst on the beach if possible avoid taking expensive possessions, and especially leave things like passports and other important documents at the hotel.

If you are going into the water make sure someone stays with any bags at all time.

11. Hostels and lockers

If in a hostel put your expensive items in lockers. Hostels aren’t necessarily bad, but you should always be cautious.

Lockers in a hostel
Lockers in a hostel

12. Carrying cash

Only take out what money you need and leave the rest somewhere safe in your hotel.

13. Night buses and trains

When on a night bus, or train, keep your bags with you or somewhere safe. Not under the seat two bunks down. Night transportation can be prime targets for thieves.

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14. Don’t leave bags unattended

Whether it an airport, train station, hotel lobby (the list goes on…) ensure you don’t leave bags unattended, as well as running the risk of it going walkies, there’s also a chance it could be seized and destroyed by security services.

15. When crossing roads

Be wary that other cultures have a different attitude to road safety, so be extra careful and don’t expect cars to stop or give way to you. The pedestrian doesn’t always have priority in some destinations.

Road crossing
Road crossing

16. ATMs and withdrawing money

Check there isn’t a foreign card reader attached to the ATM machine, and always cover your pin number even if no one is around.

17. Cars and taxis

Avoid getting in unknown cars that are waiting outside bars and clubs. Only use licenced marked taxis, private cars organised from a reputable company (ie your hotel), or a service like Uber. Consider my discount code if you are new to Uber.

18. Insurance

Always ensure you travel with sufficient insurance. This being insurance that provides cover for both you and your possessions up to the value you need. Once you have the insurance, print out the important pages like claim numbers and also backup the documents online. Also, give a copy of your insurance details to close friends and family.

19. Emergency numbers

Make sure you know all the emergency numbers for the place you are heading. Put them in your phone or make a note of them.

20. Do your research on scams

Lastly do your research on scam techniques, such as the map technique mentioned at point 4. It’s better to be aware of scam techniques so that you aren’t naive to someone being extra friendly.

And if something does happen…

Don’t let this post scare you into thinking something will happen. The chances are low, but they will be lower if you follow the advice above.

But if something does happen, such as theft, then make sure you get a crime reference number from the police. For any medical issues follow the advice on point 18.

If an issue happens you should check your insurance details to find out the process for a claim. You should do this as soon as possible, as some insurance plans require early notification.

I hope this keeps you safe during your travels and you have a wonderful time.

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Mike Clegg

Editor-in-chief at travelanddestinations.com
Mike is the primary author of Travel and Destinations. He is from the UK but spends most of his time travelling to new places and then shares his pictures and experiences through Instagram and this blog... [Read full bio]
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