Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Tips for Street Safety Abroad

image courtesy of the U.S. Dept. of State
We're always on the hunt for invaluable travel resources, and one of our favorites is the travel page hosted by the U.S. Department of State.  It is a comprehensive website featuring a wealth of information for travellers, including an outstanding page boasting a wide array of safety tips for U.S. citizens travelling internationally; below is an excerpt from their page entitled A Safe Trip Abroad.  It contains a valuable list of tips for helping keep you and your family safe when exploring a foreign locale on foot! 

Safety on the Street

Use the same common sense traveling overseas that you would at home. Be especially cautious in (or avoid) areas where you may be more easily victimized. These include crowded subways, train stations, elevators, tourist sites, market places, festivals and crime-ridden neighborhoods.
    • Don't use short cuts, narrow alleys or poorly lit streets.
    • Try not to travel alone at night.
    • Avoid public demonstrations and other civil disturbances.
    • Keep a low profile and avoid loud conversations or arguments.
    • Do not discuss travel plans or other personal matters with strangers.
    • Avoid scam artists by being wary of strangers who approach you and offer to be your guide or sell you something at bargain prices.
    • Beware of pickpockets. They often have an accomplice who will:
      • jostle you,
      • ask you for directions or the time,
      • point to something spilled on your clothing,
      • distract you by creating a disturbance.
    • Beware of groups of vagrant children who could create a distraction to pick your pocket.
    • Wear the shoulder strap of your bag across your chest and walk with the bag away from the curb to avoid drive-by purse-snatchers.
    • Try to seem purposeful when you move about. Even if you are lost, act as if you know where you are going. Try to ask for directions only from individuals in authority.
    • Know how to use a pay telephone and have the proper change or token on hand.
    • Learn a few phrases in the local language or have them handy in written form so that you can signal your need for police or medical help.
    • Make a note of emergency telephone numbers you may need: police, fire, your hotel, and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
    • If you are confronted, don't fight back -- give up your valuables.


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