When traveling to Asia, it’s important to see the historic sites, enjoy the nightlife and visit important cultural venues such as museums but it’s also important to keep your personal safety in mind. Tourists are targets of crime because they don’t know all the local customs, don’t know which areas are crime ridden and don’t know anything about the local police.
When you travel, it’s important to take certain safety precautions. To start, visit the State Department’s website and read the current information on your destination before you travel. The State Department’s current information includes a summary of recent crimes committed against tourists, where they happened and what to look out for. The information will include warnings about everything from crime hotspots to upcoming protests so it’s an important resource for any traveler.
If the State Department has issued a travel advisory about a particular country, it might be a good idea to postpone your trip. You don’t want to end up in the middle of a coup or civil war. If your destination isn’t about to be plunged into chaos and there hasn’t been a string of murders around your hotel, it’s time to start thinking about what to take with you and what to leave behind.
The most important rule is to not look like a target. Don’t wear expensive jewelry or clothing that will make you stand out as a rich mark to footpads and cut purses. You don’t want to attract their attention by wearing copious amounts of diamonds and gold.
It’s also not a good idea to carry cash and what cash you do carry should be stored in a money belt. Money belts have zippered compartments where you can store cash and documents out of reach of thieves and for this reason they are an invaluable travel accessory. Rather than carry cash, bring credit cards and travelers checks. Unlike cash, you can replace both these things if they’re stolen.
Of course, credit cards and travelers checks aren’t the only valuables you’ll be bringing with you so anything of worth that you won’t be carrying on your person should be stored in your hotel’s safe both day and night. If you have to bring a laptop with you, spend $20 before you leave to buy a laptop lock.
In many ways, being safe in an Asian city is the same as being safe in an American one. Try not to wander off the beaten path into alleyways or slums that could conceal criminal elements. If you stay close to other tourists you may make yourself a target of pickpockets but you won’t be the target of violent crimes.
As a tourist, you have a lot of control over whether or not you are perceived as a target based on how you dress, where you travel and what you do. As long as you exercise some common sense, dress modestly and pay attention to State Department warnings, you should be fine. By consciously minimizing the risks to your safety you’ll be better able to enjoy your vacation.