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Safety on the Streets Abroad

Just as you would at home, take precautions when you are traveling overseas and walking in the city or countryside. You will need to be especially careful when you are abroad because you will not have the advantage of knowing where exactly the best places to walk alone are, and where to avoid. You may also stand out more abroad as a visitor who has money and valuables. While you should not be overwhelmed with panic whenever you step outside your hotel, you should nevertheless exercise caution when you are on the streets.

Be cautious when you are on the subway, on a crowded bus, in an elevator and in crowded tourist sites. All of these places carry a greater risk of crime against tourists. Be careful also at festivals and in markets, as well as – obviously – in dangerous neighborhoods.

Don’t take short cuts or use unlit alleyways or poorly lit streets at night – in fact, try not to walk alone at night. Take a taxi to get back to your hotel. In the day time, avoid political demonstrations and other public gatherings that could spill over into violence. You may also find that any claim on your visitor insurance is not recognized if you have willingly placed yourself at the scene of protest or demonstration.

Don’t get distracted by loud conversations, arguments, fights and other incidents on the street. These may be staged to distract you. If you are genuinely concerned, move away and call the police from a safe place such as a café or store. If you are suddenly stopped by someone offering to clean dirt or paint off your clothes, move away quickly. Scam artists and thieves operate by distraction and with speed and many will have an accomplice to distract you while they pick your pockets. Always have your wits about you.

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