Travel Safety Tips
Travel safety: a pickpocket in action
Travel safety examples and advice
Thailand Special! Lovely, must-see country, culture and beaches but…
– Petty thievery is common in Bangkok, bigger resorts and small cheap hotels, so look out for your valuables, especially if you’re busy getting wrecked, so secure your goodies before a night on the rampage.
– Private long-distance buses have a terrible reputation. Thievery is rife on board especially during overnight trips and actively supported by many bus operators, including stowing a lad with a light and lock-picks in the luggage hold during the entire journey! Locks are no protection, keep all valuables on your body and beware when the lights go out! And/or take a bus from a government bus station.
– Also use a little common sense about going off to lonely places with friendly Thais, and do not take unmarked taxis, particularly women.
– Ensure hotel rooms are secured at night, sneak in thievery is common, especially in cheap hotels where locks are inefficient. Stick a chair or wedge under the door.
6) Speak the Language
Apart from making life easier, a small grasp of the language will also help you to develop protective relationships, to earn a degree of respect from lightweight thieves, and to slip into the background more easily. It’s smart to read up on local culture and traditions too.
7) Safety in Numbers
Travel in pairs/groups if possible. If not, be wary but not paranoid, of friendly local people. Most of the time they will be genuine.
8) Calculate it
Ensure that you recognise and understand the values of different local banknotes, especially in areas of high inflation. Work out how much you should get before you go anywhere near the change place. Carry a calculator and be seen to use it when you change money, even at official currency change shops. Beware of sleight-of-hand merchants, especially when changing money on the street. Count the money in your hand, and don’t allow him/her to recount in his hand!
9) Don’t take the Biscuit
Avoid food and drink offerings from strangers even if you’ve been sitting next to them on a bus for a couple of days! They can be drugged, a growing global habit, though especially prevalent in Latin America and South East Asia.
10) Driving crazy
Beware the flat tyre and the helpful locals who distract you with fast talking assistance while an associate surreptitiously rifles your vehicle. Especially a problem around Barcelona and Madrid, but also known in France and Mexico.
Southern France, on the other hand, specialises in smash and grab robbery, often on motorcycles or scooters. So keep your valuables locked in the glove compartment, check your tyres often, and never stop for anyone except police. If you have to stop do it in a busy well-lit place. And carry a quick (temporary) repair aerosol.