We’ve all heard the horror stories. Pickpocketing, tourist scams and – if you’re Liam
Neeson’s daughter – even kidnap. Although often considered to be relatively safe places,
trawling the busy cities can be dangerous if you haven’t prepared properly. That’s why
here at [smiths] we have compiled a list of essential tips to ensure your safety while you
enjoy those beautiful landmarks.
- Research. It is the golden rule for preparing yourself for a trip. Every city has a
different set of rules, laws and issues that may present themselves at any given
moment, but if you are aware before you go, you will be that much safer. Paris is
a prime example: the tourist scams in the French capital are infamous for both
their frequency and their skill. Scams are incredibly well-executed, with children
being used regularly to sneak money from unwitting tourists. Knowing of issues
like this before travel will stand you in good stead when you are faced with it in
- Keep valuables on your person. Bum bags, fanny packs – whatever you choose
to call them – are a necessary evil. Ugly though they may be, they are a solid way
of ensuring your money, phone and camera are always with you. For the most
safety conscious traveller, a hidden pouch is a necessity. The various small bags
are the perfect way to keep your cash with you discreetly. Remember: if you
don’t absolutely need to bring something valuable, don’t. Leave that nice
jewellery at home.
- Blend in. Ok, this doesn’t apply to everywhere, but for the most part it is
recommended that you try not to stand out in a crowd. It is always nice to
respect a country’s culture and dress in a way that would be deemed appropriate
locally, but it is also a smart way to protect your tourist identity. Tourists are
undoubtedly the top target for scammers and con artists, and clothing can be a
huge giveaway. The worst offenders here are socks and sandal wearers, map
carriers and those wearing a camera around their neck.
- Pre-plan transport. Hiring a car? Book ahead. Getting public transport? Work
out your journey before you leave your accommodation. Walking? Ask a
hotel/hostel worker to help you work out a route. To be extra careful, keep spare
cash and a taxi service number on you in case of emergencies.
- Follow your instincts. This is the most basic safety advice for a reason. If you
feel even slightly threatened or uncomfortable – even without solid cause – trust
your instinct and exit the situation. You can never be too careful, and your
personal safety must be priority number one.
Find wannabe Bill Bryson and senior travel editor @riathewriter being a good egg & looking out for the general publics safety outside RHB