Tuesday, December 1, 2009

S(sss)A(aaa)F(fff)E(eee)T(ttt)Y(yyy) Safety Safety Dance (dancedancedance)

Magellan sent me another email chockful of Safety Tips for travel (some of which are obvious and others are flagrant ploys to sell their products) but I did note a few which I wanted to remember and share:

Safe Travel Tips

Be aware of those around you. Crowded international airports are terrific for pickpockets, as jet-lagged, disoriented travelers are easy marks. Keep a close eye on your belongings, and don’t allow yourself to be distracted if someone “accidentally” bumps into you or drops something in front of you. I have what my husband affectionately calls my Pantheon Hold. I make sure the purse zipper is facing the front and I hold the purse at the zipper closure so that even if a pickpocket tries to cut my strap i've got a hold on the purse.

Prevent theft of carry-on items. When going through airport security, make sure that the metal detector is clear and ready for you to enter before you send your carry-on items through X-ray.

Avoid the first floor as ground floor windows and sliding glass doors are much more accessible than those above.
This is not usually a problem in Europe where rooms are rarely on the ground floor. Note that the first floor in Europe is the second floor in America and if you ask for a second floor in a hotel in Prague, you will end up on what we consider the third floor!

When checking in, be discreet when disclosing personal information. If the hotel clerk gives you your room number verbally, ask for a different room. If you are a solo woman traveler, check in as Mr. and Mrs.

Don’t leave valuables in your room. If you must travel with valuables, secure them in the hotel safe. Love the rooms in Vegas which have an inroom safe...be smart don't use 1234!!!

Keep the door locked when in your room, and never open the door to unexpected visitors. Use a door stop alarm to alert you to unwanted intruders, and check with the front desk to verify the identity of maintenance personnel before you let them in.
OR you could be double preventive and set your luggage in front of the door to avoid bed bugs and warn you of intruders.

When you are out for the day, keep the room key with you rather than turning it in at the front desk. I did this ONCE in Europe and never again. I stressed over it all day. Never again.

Park in well–lit areas, and never leave any visible belongings in your car.

Don’t draw attention to yourself with expensive clothing or jewelry, as this makes you an attractive target. Similarly know what clothes are appropriate in a country. When my friend and I met her mother in italy, her mother searched half a day for shorts to wear. Finally I mentioned to a shopkeeper the problem we were having and she told us the reason we couldn't find any shorts is because in Europe shorts are worn ONLY at the beach. She said Europeans always know who Americans are because of the shorts. I took this to heart. When I took a group of high school kids to London and Paris, I made them promise not to pack any shorts. There is no reason to wear what amounts to a flashing "I AM AMERICAN" sign all around a foreign city!

Don’t leave your camera hanging around your neck. When not in use tuck it in a pocket or purse.
Or hanging from your wrist. I had a camera cut off my wrist in New Orleans once. The camera I didn't care about. All the pictures I lost makes my heart hurt.

Don't show your money. Pickpockets observe travelers when shopping, and then later know exactly which pocket to pick. Use a money belt or security wallet to keep your valuables out of sight and close to your body, and tuck a little “mad money” in a front pocket for the day’s expenses.

Divide up your funds so that if your wallet is taken, you have a back up supply (in your socks or elsewhere) to get you back on track. Be careful with this. I once lost 10 pounds in England because it fell out of my pants. I get back to the hotel room told Carrie I had lost 10 pounds and she said "Because of all the walking" and I said no because my jeans were too tight and I didn't get the bill in far enough. We both cracked up laughing thinking that losing 10 pounds can be an awesome thing too! Unfortunately it wasn't for me that day. Make sure your back ups are reliable!

Don't accept food or drinks from strangers. They may contain drugs that will knock you out, creating opportunity for a thorough robbery or worse. Like DUH!

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