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Staying Safe While Traveling Alone

A recent study by the Global Business Travel Association reported that 83% of female travelers said they have experienced at least one or more safety-related issue while traveling solo.  While some problems can’t be avoided, there are a number of measures that can be taken to ensure your trip is a safe one, starting with pre-planning.

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A recent study by the Global Business Travel Association reported that 83% of female travelers said they have experienced at least one or more safety-related issue while traveling solo.  While some problems can’t be avoided, there are a number of measures that can be taken to ensure your trip is a safe one, starting with pre-planning.

This article was originally posted on The Patriot Ledger.

A recent study by the Global Business Travel Association reported that 83% of female travelers said they have experienced at least one or more safetyrelated issue while traveling solo.  While some problems can’t be avoided, there are a number of measures that can be taken to ensure your trip is a safe one, starting with pre-planning. 

Do some research on the area you’re traveling to and select lodging in a well-lit neighborhood, preferably where the “locals” stay.  Once checked in to your hotel, observe the surroundings, making sure you know the location of exits.  Don’t provide your name out loud and if your room number is announced, get a new room.  Always request a room with no connecting doors.  Go one proactive step further by bringing a rubber doorstop to wedge from the inside of your room at night.  You’ll sleep better in a strange place knowing all safety measures are in place. 

Know transportation options ahead of time and have a contingency plan mapped out if busses/trains, etc. are running off schedule.  

Focusing on Fraud Webinar

Carry any valuables on your person appropriately, making sure not to flaunt items. Once out and about watch for suspicious behaviors, such as someone attempting to have you join their touring group or being a bit too friendly or curious about where you come from.  It may seem jaded but be aware of someone who is a little too charming or flirtatiousand never provide any personal details that could come back to haunt you.  Also, if someone makes an unsolicited offer to take your picture, provide a guided tour, show you the way to a restaurant, etc. and won’t take “no, thank you” for an answer, then move on as quickly as possible. 

Specific threat potentials exist depending on where you travel; for instance in the Latin American countries, there are several current scams targeted at tourists.  Beware the “good Samaritan” in these countries, whose intentions may be anything but good.  Also, don’t fall for the plainclothes police or unmarked police car scam.  This one has been primarily reported in Latin America and Southeast Asia where fake police officers take advantage of a tourist’s unfamiliarity with the country’s police uniforms and law enforcement procedures.  Someone will approach and claim to be a police officer and say there has been an issue with counterfeit bills.  He’ll then ask to see your wallet to determine if you’re carrying funny money…and you can guess what happens from there! 

The so-called bracelet scam is another popular one in several European countries, particularly around tourist destinations like the Eiffel Tower.  One or more “bracelet pushers” will approach, and without your okay, tie a homemade bracelet on your wrist and then demand payment.  If you decline, he’ll follow you around to intimidate you into paying. 

Then there’s the tea house scam, mostly reported in China. A friendly person or small group approaches and begins an innocent conversation on the pretense of sharpening their English skills.  At some point, they’ll invite you to a traditional tea party at a teahouse and when the bill comes it will be anywhere between $85 and a whopping $500!  These scammers work in cahoots with teahouses and have successfully ripped off many, many tourists. 

Enough of the scary stories.  By all means, enjoy your time traveling but learn to develop a “security mindset” by expecting the unexpected.  Prepare for worst case scenarios, so that even if a minor snafu occurs, you’re ready to take corrective action.   

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