Travel Tips - Part 3

By Darryl Wilson

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Most common travel destinations have taken great pains to ensure that visitors enjoy a safe and protected holiday but it never hurts to be on your guard.


At the Airport, watch for your suitcase as it appears on the carousel. Don’t hang back and wait for the crowds to disperse –you might find that someone else has already taken your bag in the meantime.

Avoid changing money at airports, as thieves could be watching you. Consult with your hotel manager or tourist information center about the public transportation options in your area. Make sure you know what official taxi cabs look like. A thief may pose as a taxi driver to lure you into their car. And don’t share taxis with strangers.

Carjacking is a problem in some cities. When driving, keep all doors locked and windows up. Make sure your trunk is locked too.


Thieves and pickpockets may consider older people as easy targets. To avoid becoming an easy target, keep your travel plans, including accommodation to your self.

Don’t wear expensive jewelry on obvious display and try not to travel at night. Wear valuables (such as traveler’s cheques and credit cards) on a belt worn under the clothes and next to the skin. If you’re feeling particularly vulnerable, wear your money belt somewhere other than around your waist. Thieves know all about money belts too.
You might even want to consider carrying a dummy wallet holding a small amount of cash. If you are directly confronted by a mugger, you can hand over the dummy wallet and avoid further distress.

Avoid unsafe city areas. As a general rule, city streets that include children and women suggest the areas safe for families. Ask your hotel manager for adv ice on ‘safe’ local areas.

Carry with you at all times the contact details of the Canadian Embassy. If your city doesn’t have a Canadian Embassy, find out which other country’s embassy is available to help you, such as the British embassy.
Keep a photocopy of your passport and all other important documents in a safe place.

Use ATM’s during the day, when there are people around. Try to rely more on credit cards and travelers cheques than cash.

If you are mugged, don’t fight back. It is better to lose a few dollars and a wristwatch that get injured.


Scams are common in many countries. Thieves devise inventive ways to rob you. Here are some of the more common scams of which you should be aware.

  • Posing as a police officer and asking to check your money for counterfeit bills.
  • Posing as a tour guide and offering to show you the sights of the city.
  • Slipping sedative drugs into your food or drink.

Thieves in different cities favor different scams. Ask your hotel manager or local tourist information officer5 for more information.

Don’t stand out in a crowd, don’t make yourself a target! Even if you’re not sure where you’re going, walk like you’ve got a purpose. Match your dress style to that of the locals. Don’t wear an obvious ‘tourist’ outfit like a loud shirt with a camera slung around your neck. Be discreet when map reading.


  • If possible, choose hotels that have unmarked ‘swipe cards’ rather than numbered keys for each room. If you lose your swipe card or if it is stolen, the thief won’t know which room to rob.
  • Take note of emergency exits, stairwells, fire escapes and emergency plans.
  • Always lock your hotel door when retiring for the night. If there is a chain included, use it.
  • When arranging to meet people you’ve never met before (such as business associates), wait for them in the lobby. Don’t ask them to come up to your room.

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