Have a Safe Journey

Traveling is great fun. Be it your little three year old or your elderly parents, the thought of going out of the city even for a brief while fills them with a sense of excitement and anticipation. To feel close to nature you would like to move with gay abandon but it would make sense to take care of a few things especially when young and old people are with you. Follow these tips and make your trip even more enjoyable.

Have a Safe Journey

Have a Safe Journey [Illustration by Shiju George]

  • Only carry as much cash as you need for the day, as automatic teller machines are found every few blocks in many cities.
  • Wear a “money necklace” over your neck and under your undershirt, to hold your cash/passport. Using your front pocket for wallet/valuables is simply not safe. Kids will notice it, grab it from behind, and run away. Sure, you’ll feel it, but you won’t be able to catch them.
  • No matter what others tell you, do not wear belt bags, back packs or anything of the sort! If you are travelling out of country, locals will usually be able to spot you for a tourist; such bags are a dead giveaway. A quick snip of that belt and your bag is gone. Especially be aware on subways and public buses. Backpacks are also a bad idea – many a thief has gotten away with slitting a hole in the bottom of a backpack belonging to an unsuspecting tourist; the smaller contents of your bag could spill out and you’d never know.
  • When out sightseeing or walking after dark, keep very little money in your wallet. If confronted by a person seeking to rob you, pull it out slowly and quickly throw it far away from you. Run in the opposite direction that you throw the wallet. Hopefully, if the robber picks up the wallet he’ll think there’s a lot in it than it has and he will go after it. You can run to safety, and you won’t be out a huge amount of money.
  • Place small bells in your carry bag. When someone tries to move it, you will hear them. Always, when standing around or sitting drinking coffee, keep your foot through the strap. If someone drops something, or something happens, look at your backpack. This may be a diversion to steal your backpack.
  • Alarms are available for your suitcases too. The alarm sends out a loud sound if someone tries to pick up a suitcase and walk away with it.
  • First, attach a brightly coloured piece of fabric to the handle of your luggage. This will prevent anyone for mistaking it for his or her own. Secondly, when using a public washroom, never ever leave anything of value on the inside hooks of the door or on the floor. Put them on your lap.
  • Do not wear or carry any external carrying devices – purses or backpacks – in any city. Purses are snatched and belly packs can be opened easily in crowded trains and buses. Wear clothing with front pockets for casual necessities, or use black nylon hideaway pouches attached to your belt and worn under your clothing for important items.
  • In hopes that your luggage never gets lost, a precautionary measure: Print clearly your name, but instead of your residence, put the address of your local police station. This way if someone is searching for a perfect burglary, they will be deterred when they realise it is the police station.
  • To help people help you during an emergency in a foreign land, type and preferably laminate a small card, on which you mention your age, blood group and other relevant medical details. Most important, a number to contact – a global cell phone or the number of the hotel you are staying at. Carry this at all times in your wallet. Mothers can write details of children with them on the same card.
  • Try not to look like a tourist. Wear plain clothes that won’t give the impression you are carrying money or valuables. Leave jewelry at home – including rings and watches. Buy a cheap watch just for travel – you only need to have the correct time while on a trip!

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