Prepared, Cautious, Vigilant: The Golden Rules of Safe Traveling

  • Posted by Admin
  • On June 14, 2017
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Yup, it happened to me.  I got robbed.  It was swift, unnoticed, perfectly executed, and a major blow to my pocket, memories, valuables, and ego. 

I was eating lunch at a small restaurant in Madrid, Spain with three other friends.  Besides the four of us, there were only two other patrons in the restaurant at the time.  While eating our lunch we talked and laughed about the night before while looking at pictures on my camera.  I then put it back inside my backpack and then set it on the floor right next to my foot.  We finished our meal and stood to leave, and that’s when I noticed that my backpack was gone.  My cash, passport, debit card, credit card, camera, iPod, souvenirs, maps, and travel guide were gone.  Vanished.  All four of us were in shock that this happened and not one of us even noticed.  We sought help from the employees, but all they could tell us was that the two other patrons had left at least fifteen minutes prior and that we should check the surrounding area in case they took what they wanted and dumped my backpack on the side of the street.  We looked and looked to no avail.  It was crushing and a major hassle to say the least. 

If you don’t want to end up like me penniless, passportless, helpless, and distraught, then please adhere to these tips!

Losing Your Passport

Image Credit: Alex Robert

PREPARE

Money Belts: I know they aren’t very fashionable but they sure are helpful.  You can wear them under your shirt as a necklace or around your waist under your shorts or pants.  They will protect your most important items, your identity and money!  I had one and that afternoon had simply decided not to wear it, arrghhh!  If I would’ve worn it at least I would’ve kept my passport, cash, debit and credit cards.  It was really scary to have lost these things and such a hassle to cancel cards and get a new passport at an embassy (hassle heaven, if there is such a thing). 

CAUTIOUS

Don’t take Valuables: If you can avoid it, do not take valuables at all on your trip!  If you must, leave them at your hotel (in a safe if possible).  Try not to even wear any valuables as you are out and about as they can make you a target.

Be Cognizant: When you get back to your room after a long, adventurous day be cognizant of where you put your things.  It’s so tempting to throw all your stuff anywhere and everywhere.  If you do that, you could risk losing items.  Have a specific place where you put your belongings.  Try to keep your possessions altogether so that they are accessible and easy to find.  Don’t find yourself constantly exclaiming, “Where did I put it, I just had it!”

VIGILANT

Be Aware: My two greatest mistakes in getting robbed is that I was not aware of my surroundings and that I didn’t secure my assets.  No matter where you are, ALWAYS be aware of your surroundings.  Being aware does not necessarily equate with being suspicious.  You don’t have to stare at people, but just know who is around you, how close they are, and how they might make you feel.  Try to avoid big crowds and possible commotions where things be taken very easily. 

Secure your assets: Make sure your money belt or wallet are not easily accessible.  Secure items to your person or an object.  For example, I should not have left my backpack there on the floor.  If I really needed to, the least I could’ve done was put the strap around my leg or the leg of my chair.  It’s something so simple, that I am sure would’ve secured my belongings.  If you are walking around a crowded area put your backpack on your chest instead of your back.  If you’re traveling on a train or a bus keep your most important items with you.  If you have a backpack put it on your lap if possible, then it can also be a headrest for you.  Locks and clips on backpacks are an extra safety measure that you can take as well. 

I learned a lot from the incident in Madrid.  Do yourself a favor and learn from my mistakes!  Do what you can to always be prepared.  Be cautious with your belongings and actions.  Be vigilant in all you do and you will lessen your chances of becoming a victim.

 

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