June 11th, 2008

Preparation Tips for an Enjoyable Vacation

by Don

On a much-anticipated and probably well-deserved vacation, basic safety and security are the last things most people want to worry about. However, especially when traveling in places with which you are unfamiliar, it is always better to take precautions in order to avoid costly mistakes that may endanger your enjoyment of your entire trip.

Firstly, remember that even though the culture may be foreign to you, some things translate to any language. Is a situation making you feel uncomfortable? Are you unable to shake the feeling that something just ‘isn’t quite right’ when you’re out and about? Though you may try to tell yourself that you are overreacting, there is a good chance that this is merely instinct’s way of telling you to find a safer place- trust this intuition.

However, a vacation in which you’re confined to the resort at all time is really no vacation at all. With a little planning, you can protect yourself against some of the most common inconveniences that come with traveling.

Pickpockets and thieves make their living, in large part, from tourists. They are very good at what they do, as the next day’s meal depends on what they can steal. Recognize that while we would all like to believe we are cleverer than the person who has their eye on our valuables, they have more experience stealing than we do guarding our possessions. So, utilize a few simple safeguards when on the streets:

You should only take what is necessary when you’re out seeing the sights. If you do not need all of your credit cards, a lot of cash, or valuables like jewels, do not bring them. Leave them in a secure hotel safe instead. When you must carry cash and credit cards with you, don’t risk losing everything by keeping it all in one place. Divide your cash and keep some in your wallet, some in a separate back, and some in your pockets. Separate your credit cards and do the same- if one is stolen, the account can be cancelled and you still have another to fall back on. This way, even if a thief does manage to steal something from you, it’s unlikely to be everything you have.

And what about those purses you’re separating your money in to? Place the strap across your chest, not over your shoulder, which presents an easy target for thieves. Do not carry your wallet in your back pocket- this makes it much easier to take. Instead, change the place you generally keep your wallet. If possible, a backpack with a lock, or keys attached by a climber’s D-shackle make it even harder to grab valuables.

And always, always be aware of your surroundings. When you are with a group of other tourists, you are an easy target to most pickpockets. However, it is harder to take advantage of an alert tourist.

Most common issues that plague travelers can be avoided with a little foresight. So travel safely, travel smart, and enjoy the sights!

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