Vacationing outside of your comfort zone always comes along with certain challenges. The joys that come along with an entire vacation – right from the careful selection of the vacation destination all the way to the choice of a lodge and subsequent trip, can all be ruined by a moment of negligence, carelessness, or both.
We’ve all heard gruesome tales that accompany tourists who travel abroad. Personally, I’ve encountered a few near-miss situations myself. However, keeping a few helpful tips in mind could be invaluable.
- Try blending into the environment: Many different things make tourist stand out from the locals as different. Once identified as a tourist, you could easily become a target for hoodlums and criminals. To avoid becoming an easy prey, dress as much as possible to fit into the environment and avoid the use of fanny packs everywhere you go. Certain countries have dress laws, while every environment has an unspoken dress code, find that out before leaving your hotel.
- Use minimal Jewelry: This pretty much explains itself. You do not need to wear expensive jewelry while on vacation. It’s all the better if you can do without wearing any. If, however, you feel a need to put on jewelry, use less flashy ones that do not scream for attention, or wear an imitation that wouldn’t be much of a loss if stolen. Vacation is an adventure; purchase and use a local accessory that makes you fit in better.
- Know your environment: This is always difficult considering you only just arrived and most likely need a map for everywhere you choose to go. Still, it is imperative that you are as aware as possible of where you came from, and where you are going. Study your map as much as possible and always have a copy handy. Do not forget to always carry a hotel card.
- Be observant of your surroundings: Negligence is the fastest route to danger in any unknown environment. You want to take note of those around you and their activities. While your actions should not border on paranoia, you want to be as observant as possible without giving yourself off as a very nervous tourist.
- Be careful of overly nice persons: Except you are in your hotel or resort rental and are being attended to by a customarily nice member of staff, you do not want to trust persons who unnecessarily try to familiarize themselves with you. True, you can find sincere friends among this bunch, but this is a well-used scam ploy you want to avoid.
- Guard your wallet: You do not want to lose your cash and/or credit card to a pick pocket or to a thief. A simple trick is to carry a “fake” wallet in your back pocket, while safeguarding your wallet with all of your money and credit cards in your front pocket. You might also consider separating your cash and into different pockets or money clips to reduce the risk of a total loss.
- Duplicate your passport: Make up to 2 duplicate copies of your passport. Leave a copy with a friend, carry a copy around if you need to, and keep the actual passport in your hotel safe.
- Inform a friend or family of your itinerary: Letting someone know your plans (destination, travel route, and expected return time) is always a great idea.
- Keep your senses sharp: Avoid excessive drinking that dulls your judgement and leaves you as an easy prey. Have a good time just enough to keep you fully aware of your actions.
- Use common sense: Any offer that seems too good to be true, most likely is. Be careful of those with whom you strike deals. Make use of reputable agencies, bring along as much of the local currency as is necessary, use credit cards in reliable places, use the ATM only in open places, be careful of who you ask questions, and take note of and avoid high risk environments.
Every possible tourist destination has its own peculiarities. However, we realize that the best vacations ever in unfamiliar shores is only a product of careful planning and environmental awareness. From your resort rental to your various sight-seeing destinations, always be friendly with the locals.