By: Susan Sherren for Couture Trips Published: May 5, 2022 15:10
Nothing can ruin a trip quicker than being a victim of a crime or theft. Here are a few recommendations to help you stay aware and are informed before you leave your home.
Avoid traveling at night and have a companion.
Try not to wear expensive clothing, jewelry, or luggage; you don't want to attract a criminal.
Take reliable forms of transportation. Many large European cities have approved/licensed Taxies and other forms of transportation.
If a criminal confronts you, give them what they want; do not resist. Try not to escalate the situation. Stay calm and cool headed.
Keep an eye on your drink(s) if you are at a pub or bar. Victims of crime can be drugged with unknown substances placed in their cocktails or other beverages.
Watch your purse at all times. Do not lay your bag/purse or backpack on a table or hang it on the back of a chair.
Keep your purse or bag between your knees or under the table secured with your foot.
If you're confronted by someone claiming to be a plainclothes police officer, ask to talk to a uniformed officer or go to the nearest police station for confirmation.
Scams can include squirting a substances on someone and then having other people apologize and offer to help the person clean up. While one of them is attempting to clean your shirt with a napkin, the other could be rummaging through your pockets.
Keep your cell phone tucked away when not in use.
Avoid keeping large sums of cash on you. Have a backup credit card locked securely in your hotel room.
Avoid consuming too much alcohol or prescription drugs that cloud your thinking processes. If you are in a compromised situation, you are more likely to become a victim of a crime.
Leave a detailed itinerary with a trusted family member or friend back home.
Split your cash up with your other traveling companions.
Use a money belt to keep your cash and credit cards safe.
Petty thieves will often try to distract you or bump up against you. Avoid crowded spaces like public transportation zones. If a train is overcrowded, pass on that one and take the next train or bus.
Avoid traveling with too much luggage. Keep an eye on your luggage at all times.
Ignore people trying to sell you a "hard luck" story.
Don't stop to sign petitions or engaging with people voicing public opinions. It is not your country and not your concern.
Have backup copies of your passport, vaccine card, or other documents. Store them in a secure location and keep a copy on your phone in case of theft or loss.
If your itinerary includes a train trip, keep your luggage within view. When the train stops, stand by your luggage to ensure it is not removed unknowingly.
Avoid dark alleyways or blind alleys.
Stay in reputable hotels that are in safe areas.
Remember, distractions are a technique thieves use to steal from you. Stay alert and stay on your toes.
Sit against a wall or ask for a booth in a restaurant, pub, or café. You want to be facing the crowd or customers in a restaurant.
Stay alert, especially in crowded train stations and airports. If you have to buy a ticket or converse with a ticket agent, designate one person in your group to eye your belongings.
If a stranger asks you to take a photo of them, ensure you have your belongings in tow and secured.
Don't ask strangers to watch your belongings for just even a minute.
Take photos of your luggage and other personal belongings in case of theft.
Use tracking devices such as Apple Air Tag to keep track of your personal items.
In restrooms, watch your purse, backpack, etc.
Remember, criminals can be innocent-looking children.
Crime victims overseas should contact the nearest US embassy, consulate, or consular agency. The Department of State can help replace stolen passports, contact family and friends, identify health care providers, explain the local criminal justice process, and connect victims of crime with available resources. However, they do not have the legal authority to conduct a criminal investigation or prosecute crimes. (http://travel.state.gov/travelsafely).
*These are merely recommendations to help you avoid being a victim of a crime—this list is not comprehensive and should be used only as suggestions and a guide.