Going on holiday is one of the few chances during the year we get to relax, let our hair down, not worry about work, and enjoy ourselves. Sure enough, organising your holiday might be a little stressful. Arranging accommodation, flights, ensuring you have the right insurance, and getting any relevant travel medication to take with you – it can be a lot to remember. The ordeal of flying or taking a trip on a boat can be quite daunting for some too.
But when you reach your location, it’s time to leave your cares behind you, right? Right. But you should always remain vigilant when abroad – particularly if you’re staying at a very busy holiday resort or taking a city break. The last thing you want is to be calling up your insurance company to tell them you’ve been a victim of crime.
We’re not saying that you should spend your holiday worrying about being criminals. But it does pay to be aware of your surroundings. It’s true that in many foreign countries, just as in the UK, pickpockets and thieves often target tourists. They’re a soft target – they’re out of their natural element, and more susceptible to being deceived.
So what can you do to help guard you and your traveling partners from criminals? Well, it might sound silly, but one of the most effective ways is to not look overtly like a tourist. The more you look like a tourist, the more gullible and open to deception you are going to appear. Obviously, you can’t help looking like a foreigner when in a foreign place. But there are some simple rules you can follow to make yourself less noticeable:
Lose the Bum-bag / Fanny-pack
Nothing says rich tourist like a bum-bag. The garment of choice for wealthy Americans on cruise stop-offs across the globe, the ‘fanny-pack’ is where most wearers will keep all of their valuables. You might think they’re better than a wallet, because they’re harder to negotiate away from someone and they keep everything in plain sight. But they’re also a massive advertisement for your naivety. Try using a small wallet instead, and keeping it in a zip or button-down pocket.
Avoid Wearing Your Jumper Like a Scarf
The jumper-over-the-shoulder look just screams wealthy tourist. Either leave your jumper at the hotel if you don’t think you’re realistically going to need it, or take it with you in a small bag.
Location Specific T-Shirts
Simply put: if you see someone in Spain wearing a t-shirt that says ‘Spain’, they’re a tourist. If you see someone wearing a ‘Paris’ t-shirt in Paris, same goes, and so on. Never buy t-shirts from souvenir shops. They’re a safety risk!
Be Discreet With Your Maps
Standing in the middle of a busy concourse with a map out is going to make you look particularly vulnerable – you’re basically telling the world you don’t know where you are! If you’re stuck, and need to refer to your map at length, call in for a drink at a coffee shop. That way you can sit down and concentrate without advertising yourself to pickpockets.