Of course I heard some stories during my travel that tourist that have been robbed. You have to be alert for example in South (like Colombia and Peru) and Central America (like Mexico and El Salvador), they are poor countries and a lot of locals don’t have that much money to spent; so you are a walking Dollar for them and keep that in mind!! Here some tips what I do to lower my risk of being robbed or harassed.
My Tips to Reduce the Risk and Stay Safe
- Make sure you bring more than one credit card on your travel, if one gets stolen you always have a back-up.
- I always bring a significant amount of cash USD with me in case of emergency.
- Spread your valuables like phone, iPad, camera, USD, other cash, credit cards among your bags and body.
- Make copies of your ID’s in case of emergency.
- I always make a copy with emergency phone numbers to block my cards, embassy locations and numbers, logins of important sites.
- Wear a hidden money belt with passport, credit card and some of the USD underneath your cloths at least during your overnight travels.
- Never put your bag in the overhead luggage during you travel; always on your lap or underneath your legs on the ground. When you are asleep; they will try to get in.
- Put locks on your bags; I always use number locks of good quality the bigger the hurdle the less chance they get in. I even lock my bags in my hotel when I leave for a day or tour: gives me better feeling.
- I don’t travel that much with Chicken buses, prefer shuttles that are safer, faster and meeting more other tourist.
- I make contact with the local people; I think this way you get more empathy and hope they will protect you when necessary.
- Don’t bring everything with you when hitting town or tour; only the necessary items.
- Don’t wear all your jewelry and expensive watches on you, don’t show off with your wealth.
- Don’t behave vulnerable or drunk; for them you look like an easy target!
- Be carful walking the streets at night, ask around and use your common sense what streets and places are safe to walk. I always ask in the hotels when and where its safe to walk.
- Try to dress properly and don’t show too much skin…. it’s Latin America don’t forget that!!
- I preferred an Uber taxi above the local taxi’s; but Ubers are not always available.
- Don’t behave too stressed out and show confidence!! This is for me a big deal, be strong and how you can handle the world, which is true because you are on the other side of the world!!!!
- Don’t get involved in drugs; I have heard nasty stories about this. Drugs is not in my agenda and I can’t imagine that you get yourself into a situation where you have to bribe/pay the police get out of trouble.
- Try to learn a little bit of the local language (Spanish), this will help to make contact and will get you out of a nasty situation more easily.
- Don’t forget to enjoy your trip and don’t panic and have some trust in people, not all are having the wrong intentions with you!!
Some tips are really straightforward I know; but I experienced that they are not so straightforward for everybody!!! They are just tips and doesn’t mean that you practice this you don’t get harmed or robbed. There is still a chance that you might…..but they are small; gangs normally leave the tourist alone.
Above all enjoy your holiday!!!