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 easily victimize. 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 t 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,
* or distract you by creating a disturbance.

Beware of groups of vagrant children who create a distraction while picking 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 through the city. Even if you are lost, always act as if you know where you are going. Try to ask for directions only from individuals in authority.

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. Some countries have tourist police that speak multiple languages giving them the ability to speak with tourists.

If confronted, don’t fight back — give up your valuables. Nothing is worth getting hurt over.

Be aware of scam artists. They exist in every country in the world. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. There are many reports online of gem scam artists that may have accomplices from your home country. Don’t try to make a fast buck; you will wind up losing many, many dollars.

Do not even think of getting involved in drugs or drug trafficking. You do not want to spend the rest of your life rotting in a foreign prison. Remember, you have to follow the laws of your host country, and you may not get the luxuries that criminals back home receive.

Be smart, use common sense, and have a great vacation.

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