Thursday, May 30, 2019

Travel Safely

When I first started traveling, I didn’t know how to travel safely and learned a lot by doing research and learning from experience. My parents did not travel much and did not have any advice for me. This made me realize that many of my students may be in the same boat as I was and it would probably be helpful for me to share some stories and tips for traveling safely.

First I will tell you some stories during our recent cruise in Europe.

After our first port, I saw a lady crying at the Guest Services desk because her purse was stolen and her passport and credit cards were in it.

In Sweden, a crew member went to the bathroom and had his friends watch his bag at the table. They were distracted and someone stole the bag off the table. In the bag were his passport, wallet, cell phone, and crew ID. He was sent home to Indonesia (at his own cost) until he gets his paperwork in order and may return after that.

We met another couple who spent a couple of days in London and her purse was stolen with her passport and credit cards. She had to go to the Embassy and get a temporary Visa for $100. When she gets home, she has to pay for a new passport! Then they stopped in Paris where the husband’s wallet was stolen. The next day his cell phone was stolen. They were so happy to finally get on the ship, but they had no credit cards or money other than what was in their pockets.

So, here are my tips:

·      I wear a travel waist belt under my pants. There is a zippered pocket to hold my passport and back-up credit card. Yes, it is a little bulky but worth the trouble.

·      I wear a small zipper pouch around my neck to hold my credit card, driver’s license, and a little bit of cash. This pouch drops down into my shirt and I can pull it out when I need it.

·      Always let someone know where you are going if you are alone. (But I don’t think it is ever a good idea to travel alone though.)

·      Be aware of your surroundings and the people around you. If someone coming behind you and is getting too close when you are walking, step to the side and let them pass.

·      Be aware of large crowds which is a perfect place for pickpockets.

·      When crossing streets, be careful of passing people who may bump into you and try to pick your pocket.

·      Trust your gut feeling when you are in a place with few people around.  If it doesn’t feel safe or you feel a little nervous, turn back and go to a more populated area.

·      I carry a light nylon pack that cinches closed instead of a zippered pack. This is harder for someone to get into. The only way they can get in is to cut the bottom.

·      In the pack, I don’t keep any valuables. I have a very large plastic Ziploc bag in it that holds a bottle of water and a snack. If I buy small souvenirs, I drop it in the plastic bag in my nylon bag. I feel that if someone slices my bag open, this bulky plastic bag may be slower to fall out and I will feel it if it does. Plus, if it gets stolen, nothing except my souvenirs are of value so they won’t get much.

What other travel tips would you add to this list? Please share.

Photo by Jacek Dylag on Unsplash

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