Dear Travel Agents/Advisors,
Today I met a dear friend and we talked about where it is safe to travel. We were not talking about Coronavirus, but safety in general. We shared stories about unsafe experiences we have had or heard of in different parts of the world, and what can be done to feel safe.
Here are some ideas:
When going to a beach anywhere in the world, it is fine to bring a cellular phone, some local money, and if you really need it, bring only one credit card (leaving a copy of this credit card or the information from this credit card on a piece of paper in the safe of your hotel). It is fine to bring the magnet key for the hotel, but it should not reference the room number. If you are going with a friend or more people, divide all of the belongings into few bags (more bags than the number of people is preferable) and leave them all around you. Take turns going into the water and the one who stays with the bags keeps watch over all of the bags. Even with all of this caution, there is still a risk that pickpockets can come very fast and steal one bag. The chances that one pickpocket will take all the bags is very low, especially if they are not grouped together.
Important advice – don’t run after the pickpocket. He/she could have a knife or something that could hurt someone. They are usually very fast and know the area better than the tourists. Remember that being pickpocketed can happen to anyone, so be vigilant, don’t wear jewelry and don’t leave your belongings on the beach unattended. Also do not believe that any “nice” couple or older person next to you will be honest and watch your belongings for you.
Another time to be cautious is when traveling alone, especially to a foreign country where you do not speak the language fluently, and do not know your surroundings very well. Unfortunately, I had to help a traveler who went to another country by himself (yes, many more men do this than women). “Friendly” locals came and invited him for a drink and to chat. It sounds like so much fun making friends with locals, and experiencing the country with them, but these people are con artists. They slip a pill into a drink and the tourist wakes up the next day in his room totally robbed. How did I learn about this? When the travel agent called my tour company to get help changing the airline ticket.
In my next blog I will write about my personal experience being robbed in Costa Rica.
These are not normal situations, but it is important to understand safety in any place where people travel.
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