Author: Sean Keener

RTW Safety

Safety is an important part of RTW travel. More than likely you’ll be totally fine during your trip, but I know that loved ones (particularly moms) are going to be a bit nervous about your adventure. Send her this link to reassure her you’re listening to tips from RTW travel experts who have done it before.

Safe Travels
“Most places around the world are far safer than the news media describe. Don’t be afraid to stray off the beaten path.” – Allan Fawcett
Protect Your Money Belt
In your moneybelt, you should always keep the things you cannot afford to lose: passport, cash, credit cards and any other valuable papers.
Pay Attention at All Times
It is common to try to distract a person in order to take money off of him/her. This includes being ‘rushed’ by multiple kids, guides shoving maps in your face and general chaos.
Protect Your Purse While Walking
People on motorbikes do grab purses, bags and other goods away from walkers, as they are unlikely to be caught. Bags should be worn across the chest whenever possible, or on the shoulder away from the road.
Lock up Valuables
While fellow travelers are usually trustworthy, you still need to take general precautions in hostel dorm rooms. Take all valuables with you, or place them in a locker. Report suspicious persons to the front desk.
Don’t Go Where You Don’t Want
Don’t go anywhere you don’t want to go! If a new ‘friend’ wants to take you to his cousin’s shop, don’t feel compelled to go. Being taken advantage of is no fun.
Be Wary of Unsolicited Assistance
Be wary of unsolicited assistance. Unfortunately, people offering advice, directions and recommendations may also be trying to sell you something. Be prepared for the sales pitch.
Don’t Flash Money
Do not flash money. Keep large bills hidden. Some travelers recommend keeping large sums in a money belt and smaller sums in a pocket, for easy, small-purchase access.
Don’t Place Wallets in Rear Pockets
To lessen the chance of being robbed or pickpocketed, wallets should never be placed in a rear pocket. When possible, they should be placed on the inside front pocket of a jacket. Purses should be worn with the strap across the chest, instead of over the shoulder.
Designer Bags are Flashy
There is a big difference between expensive, study, boring luggage and expensive, designer, flashy luggage. The first one will last through your trip. The second won’t: designer gear practically begs someone to check out what’s in your bag.
Valuables Keep in Carry-on
Keep all toiletries, medicine, keys, travel documents, business papers, cameras, eyeglasses and valuables in your carry on bag. That way, if your luggage is ‘temporarily misplaced’, your sanity won’t be, since you’ll have everything of value with you.
Travel Warnings vs. Travel Advisories
Know the difference between government-issued Travel Warnings and Travel Advisories/Public Announcements. If you travel to a county where a travel warning is in place, your embassy may not be required to help you.
Party Hardy?
If you’re thinking about some being extra party-hardy, consider that, “Over 2,500 Americans are arrested abroad annually. More than 30% of these arrests are drug related. Over 70% of drug related arrests involve marijuana or cocaine.” (Source: U.S. State Department)
Know Government Restrictions
Make sure you know your government travel restrictions before you travel to a foreign country. If travelling is ill-advised, do additional research to figure out why. Keep in mind that all government issued advisories tend to be overly cautious. It makes sense to get in touch from travelers who are actually in the country in question. For updates about trouble spots around the world, check out World Travel Watch.
Uncommon Hair Colors
Uncommon hair colors, natural or dyed, can cause quite a commotion in certain parts of the world. For instance, a redhead may get extra attention in China, or a blond in the Middle East.
Learn a Few Local Words
It’s important to know numbers in other languages to avoid being ripped off or paying the incorrect amount. 1-10 is usually pretty easy to memorize.
Learn Local Scams
Various areas around the world are known for certain scams. Ask around before you go to learn about what they are so you’re better prepared. The BootnAll Boards are a great source for insider tips, and simply reading through the beginning of a country’s guide book should make you aware of common scams.
Keep Insurance Card With You
Keep your insurance card with you at all times, as you would your passport. It is more likely to get you emergency care if you need it.
Use Discretion When Hiring a Guide
Use discretion when hiring a guide/driver, especially when approached by touts offering services. Set out clear prices before entering the car, and do not assume anything – for example, that the driver that picked you up will be your guide.
Protect Your Medications
Watch your prescription medications as you would any other valuable, especially narcotics. People do steal them and sell them on the street.
Be Smart About Your Credit Card Usage
Be smart when using your credit card overseas: if at all possible, avoid using it at markets or less reputable places that might charge you with other purchases after you’ve moved on.
Pay Attention to Your Credit Card Statements
Watch your credit card statements closely and keep all your receipts. Banks are known to make mistakes; humans even more: if the conversion rate doesn’t seem correct or if the salesperson charged you a different number than what’s on your receipt, you need proof and a sharp eye to fix it.
Caution: Passwords on Public Computers
Be wary when typing passwords on public computers, especially those protecting your bank and credit card accounts. Avoid it if possible, and always clear the ‘most recent’ history, in addition to logging out, before you end your session.
Copy Your Passport
Make a color copy of your passport before you hit the road – even better, make two. Keep one in your bag, one in your daybag and one on your person. If asked to show your passport, you can see if your photocopy will work, however, most cops who look for a little baksheesh in places like Russia will not accept it.
Extra Insurance
Carry an extra insurance policy on items of significant value that you insist on bringing, such as a wedding ring. Make sure the policy covers overseas incidents. Or you may just want to leave anything that you won’t be crushed by losing/breaking/having stolen at home.
Skinny Dipping Safety
If you plan on a late-night skinny dipping session in the ocean, don’t stray far from the shore. Never jump in the water if you have been drinking or at a closed beach – you don’t know the dangers that forced it to close.