When traveling abroad or domestically, safety precautions and common sense can help you enjoy your trip to the max.
The Indiana University Police Department recommends that travelers take some steps before they leave to make their residences less attractive to potential burglars. This includes hiding valuables, such as computers and game stations, leaving a porch light on, closing blinds and curtains and using a timer to manipulate inside lights.
Many of the tips police urge students and staff to practice on campus are also helpful while traveling.
“If something just doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t and you should act upon that feeling. Don’t just blow it off,” said Bob True, interim Superintendent of Public Safety at IU. “Don’t leave items unattended. Don’t leave things visible in locked automobiles, and do watch out for your friends. Make sure everyone is safe when you are out on the town.”
Here are some tips for foreign travel:
- As you're packing, think twice about taking valuables. If they're not essential, they're better off left at home. This will make your bags lighter and you’ll be more agile, which can deter potential thieves.
- Scan your passport and travel documents and e-mail them to yourself so you can easily access the copies if your documents are lost or stolen.
- Take the international phone number for your bank or credit cards because the 1-800 numbers used in the United States won’t work in foreign countries.
- Leave a copy of your itinerary with someone at home but don't share details of your travel plans with others you meet while traveling.
- Buy a money belt (not a fanny pack) to carry your money and passport underneath your clothes.
Here are some tips for domestic travel:
- Blend in as much as possible. Walking around with a camera around your neck and a guidebook in your hand advertises your tourist status and may make you a mark for thieves. Try to be discreet.
- Choose ATMs in malls or stores if possible. Avoid using ATMs at night or in deserted places. When you withdraw money from an ATM, put it away immediately.
- Carry only the cash you need for the moment in your pocket or purse. Carry your passport, credit card and extra money inside your clothes in a money-belt, or leave them in your hotel's safe. When you need to get something out of your money belt do it in a private place.
- Exercise particular caution when in crowds, markets or on public transportation. Pickpockets can be very crafty and sometimes work in pairs -- one person will distract you while another takes your wallet.
- Ask your hotel manager or another knowledgeable person if there are some areas of the city you should avoid.