Traveling overseas can quickly become a nightmare if you should happen to come across pickpockets or scammers. These six tips will help you protect yourself from those who would take advantage of you.
1. Dress Casual
Not to cramp your style -- but flashy outfits and colorful clothes can attract the wrong kind of attention. You don't want to stand out in a crowd and get noticed by a potential scammer. Avoid wearing any expensive jewelry, as this can be a huge factor in whether or not you will become a target for robbery. Blending in should be your main objective while traveling abroad, in order to divert anyone with bad intentions. You don't want your clothes to scream tourist. Keep it casual and low-key to help prevent any unexpected encounters.
2. Zone In On Individual Neighborhoods
A little research goes a long way before a big trip. Other than scheduling tours and setting up your accommodations, you should get a good feel for the different areas of town prior to your arrival. A quick Google search should help you figure out which neighborhoods are safe and which ones should be avoided at all costs. If you are knowledgeable about the seedy areas, you will greatly decrease your chances of getting yourself in trouble. Having a general sense of direction will also help prevent you from getting lost and looking uncomfortable -- making this idea a win-win. If you choose to use the Google Maps App on your phone, make sure to still remain alert and aware of your surroundings. Never let technology hinder your safety.
3. Confidence Is Key
The saying "fake it till you make it" rings true while you are traveling far from home. Being somewhere you've never been can be as terrifying as it is exciting, and with endless places to discover there are endless opportunities to get lost. Although everyone feels that flush of panic in a dangerous situation, it is vital to stay externally calm and appear confident wherever you may find yourself.
Thieves are less likely to target you if appear sure of your location and destination, so try not to look lost -- especially if you are. Making direct eye contact with people also helps. No robbery is off to a good start if you get a good look at the perpetrator, and they know this as well. No matter if you are a man or a woman, scammers will most likely overlook you if you appear to be comfortable with your surroundings and certain of yourself. Hold your head high and you are less likely to become a victim: they're not looking for a challenge, after all.
4. Be Wary Of Friendly Strangers
You can expect your hotel concierge or your waiter at the nearby bistro to be extremely hospitable, but this friendliness isn't normal for everyone. The old adage "don't talk to strangers" may be good advice when it comes to exploring overseas. No one is saying that you should suspect every passerby of ill intentions, but overly-friendly strangers who single you out are probably too good to be true. Never be persuaded to go somewhere you have never been with someone you don't know. Chances are it is part of a scam, or worse.
5. Don't Put Your Electronics On Display
With the rise of the smartphone and endless digital camera options, it is hard to live without our devices. Advanced technology makes it so convenient to whip out your phone and take in-depth, clear pictures of your entire trip. Although this simplifies traveling by a considerable margin, it also makes it easier for unsuspecting tourists to fall victim to robbery. No one expects you to keep your iPhone or tablet locked up in a vault your entire trip, but when you are using your devices in public be especially cautious. Be aware of your surroundings at all times. Don't be on your phone excessively while you're in a large crowd. As soon as you are done taking pictures, put your device away in your pocket or bag. Expensive electronics are a major motivator of theft, and keeping your phone or camera out of sight is your best bet to keep your belongings safe.
6. Travel Light
It's better to be safe than sorry when you are taking a trip overseas. If you are debating bringing your new camera on your next international vacation, you may want to reconsider. Although you will be happy to put your fancy equipment to use, leaving your most expensive possessions behind will give you peace of mind that is absolutely priceless. If you choose instead to capture special moments with your phone or even a disposable camera, you will still have pictures to cherish forever. And you'll rest easy knowing no thieves will be getting the best of you on vacation!
Taking a trip overseas should be the time of your life. You don't have to let petty thieves get the best of you, and using these tips will help give you an edge over even the most cunning of robbers.