There’s nothing that compares to the experience of travelling throughout the world, experiencing new cultures, scenery and the history of your destination. The downside is that crime is a reality no matter where you are in the world and being in foreign countries can sometimes increase that risk.
By following the tips below, you’ll increase your odds of enjoying a safe, incident-free vacation in some of the world’s most popular destinations.
Mobile Phone Theft in Barcelona
The theft of mobile phones is becoming increasingly common in the beautiful city of Barcelona, Spain. Recently, a vacationer from Wales had his phone stolen and is said to be facing financial ruin after his mobile provider informed him that he was responsible for the more than £23,000 bill run up by the thief who used it.
To reduce the chances of becoming a victim and being forced to go without your GPS and other essential features, be sure you know where your phone is at all times and never leave it out in the open, such as sitting atop a restaurant table. Men, consider storing your phone in a front pant pocket, while women should opt to keep it inside a zippered pocket in a purse. It’s good practice no matter where you are in the world, to always keep your device locked with a unique password when not in use.
While violent crime in the “City of Lights” is fairly rare, pickpocketing and purse snatching is becoming increasingly common. According to the U.K.’s Daily Mail, in 2013, guards at the Louvre Museum went on strike to protest against the mass of menacing thieves at the famous facility. In a city that draws more than 30 million tourists annually, the gendarmes have been unable to stay ahead of the criminals.
There are several simple things you can do to help decrease the chances of significant loss—think, carrying smaller amounts of money per day and hiding your wallet in a safe place; however, with thieves becoming increasingly crafty, it isn’t always possible to prevent pickpocketing. Your best bet is to sign up with a service like Lifelock, with its $1 million guarantee, helping you sleep easier knowing that if you are robbed, they help minimize the damage and protect your sensitive information.
Counterfeit Scams in Hong Kong
In another one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, Hong Kong, there are many counterfeit bills in circulation. Be sure to check that all bills or coins given as change are in the correct currency and that it’s actually legal tender. Check the watermark as well as the texture. If something doesn’t seem right, don’t be afraid to reject it. A big red flag to watch for is a seller who claims not to have the correct change, but is happy to round it up by giving you a larger bill.
Violent Crime in the Bahamas
While the Bahamas offers beautiful tropical escapes with white, powdery sands and crystal clear, warm waters, travellers to the islands are unfortunately at an increased risk of violent crime, including robberies and sexual violence against women. Much of the crime occurs on the island of New Providence, where the nation’s capital, Nassau, and the country’s largest population is found.
By avoiding non-tourist areas, particularly south of Shirley Street in downtown Nassau and not walking alone after dark in any area, you can decrease the odds of becoming victimized. Naturally, you’ll want to avoid engaging in risky behaviors like drinking too much alcohol or displaying large amounts of cash or flashy jewellery.
Car Break-ins in Portugal
Portugal is becoming an increasingly attractive destination for tourists with its year-round mild climate, booming wine industry and a multitude of historical attractions. Lisbon is its most popular city and while violent crime is not a common occurrence, car break-ins are an issue. Due to the frequency of these incidents, police reports are often not taken at all.
When parking in a large lot with many other vehicles, it’s best to empty the car of any personal effects, take the keys and leave the doors unlocked.