Better Safe Than Really Bummed Out

12 Jul

If only it was this easy to indentify bad guys. *Sigh*

Today I’m hoping to offer a kind of public service to any potential travelers.  You see I read an awful lot of blogs, forums and websites dedicated to travel.  Perhaps I do this so that you won’t have to!  Or maybe this is just me rationalizing my reading habits.  Take it how you will.

I’ve also done many a lengthy business trip and have traveled thousand of miles as a roller derby announcer (don’t ask).  I’ve been over seas once and to Mexico and Canada multiple times.  By offering up my credentials I’m saying “trust me, I might possibly have some clue here”.  If not, stay tuned.  I promise to write about ponies tomorrow.

General Thoughts

Leaving electronics plugged in when you’re not around is a huge temptation for thiefs.  If someone does enter your room the first places they will look will be your bedside table and the outlets.  I’m a big fan of hiding things in the bathroom since very little of value is typically stored here.

Bad guys like dumb people.  Dumb people like being cell phone zombies.  Dumb people like having belongings but not keeping track of them.  Put the phone away unless you are calling for help because it’s a distraction.  Before getting down to other business make sure your things aren’t laughably unsecure.  Ladies can wrap their arm or leg through a purse strap.  Gentlemen can put a camera bag or laptop bag between their feet.  Anything that helps you avoid a big travel sad face, my friends.

Make some noise.  Bring an emergency whistle, have an app on your cell phone or learn how to yodel.  This will come in handy should you want to dissuade any troublemakers.  Of course, it’s easier to avoid trouble if you’re actively looking for it.

Never count money in public.  Never.  Go to a bathroom and have some quality time alone with it.  Do your best not to look like you have extra money.  Leave your nice watch and jewelry at home.  There are a lot of desperate people in the world these days. 

For the Ladies

When checking in to a hotel make sure that they don’t announce your room number in case any skeevy sorts are eavesdropping.  If they say it then just ask nicely for a different room.  One clerk gave me the same room but made sure to say “I’m sorry, here’s a new room” and then wrote down the same number on a new slip.

If you order breakfast and have to leave a slip by your door only use your first initial.  I do this with my luggage, too.  Better they don’t know I’m a lady.

When leaving the hotel room leave on the radio or TV.  I hate using this one because I feel like I’m a environment villain.  Then I think of how much more energy would be used to ship home my corpse and well… yeah.

If you’re out walking by yourself check reflections in windows just to make sure you don’t have any unwelcome admirers.  Someone there?  Cross the street and then look them in the eye.  This lets them know you see them and you’re not above letting them know it.  Don’t worry about being rude here.  Failing in the etiquette department isn’t your biggest concern and I’m sure that your non-buddy won’t worry about his manners when he’s mugging you.

For the Studs

If you are carrying a wallet (with all your really important stuff in a money belt, natch) keep it secure.  Try pants with deep pockets, zippered pockets or button closures.  Chains look too heavy to me but there are other ways to keep your wallet attached.  Many companies make wallets that loop around your belt, hook onto your belt loop or hang the darn thing inside your pants.  Add duct tape to the sides to make it stick in your pocket.  Buy one with material that is grippy and makes sliding it out tougher.

Empty your wallet.  Though it may be filled with receipts for Quizno’s and phone numbers you don’t call the potential new bad guy in your life doesn’t know that.  For them big wallet equals big money.  Keep just the basics here.

If you’re hanging in a really tough part of the world, I’m talking developing countries or south Bismarck here, take an extra precaution.  Think about getting a wallet that hugs your calf so if you are asked to drop your pants (yes, really) it will be covered.

Take a fake.  This primarily works in developing countries.  Put a few cards that look like credit cards and some bogus money in a real wallet.  This way if someone wants you to hand it over, you can.  Shopping club cards, old hotel key cards and the like will do the trick for the credit cards (ask a female friend if you’re out).  For the money I’ve heard of people using very low value real currency for the fake cash.  Others have used very good phoney money with the wrong picture on one side.

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