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  The Chatter Box : Travel
Safety tips by littlemac on 8 May 2006 4:18pm
I'm off to London soon and have heard lots of tales about pick pockets. do any of you well travelled people know the best way to keep your belongings safe whilst out and about?
Re: Safety tips by Wild in Africa on 8 May 2006 5:24pm
Use simple common sense. Do not flash expensive goodies in public including mobile phones, iPods etc.
Keep valuables if possible in zipped inside pockets (cargo clothing with lots of zippable pockets is good for travel and safety). Never carry anything of value in exposed back pockets.
Like in any major city avoid dark streets at night away from the well lit areas and look out for crowds of people hanging about drunk outside pubs and clubs.
Re: Safety tips by perfectbitch on 8 May 2006 8:18pm
Pickpockets tend to operate in busy shopping areas (eg Oxford Street) and tube stations. When on an escalator, always keep your bag on your right so that anyone walking up or down the stairs on your left cannot snatch your bag.

It's not that bad here but do just keep your wits about you.

Re: Safety tips by simon1287 on 8 May 2006 8:52pm
I know what it's like to hear tales of a new place, especially those involving crime, and feel a little nervous of what could happen.
Crime can happen anywhere. My tip is to keep alert whilst still absorbing the local culture and the happenings around you.
People often become targets when they drift into the "I'm too preoccupied territory".
Also, don't feel afraid to tell anybody stopping you in the streets that you are sorry but you are in a rush.
I'm not advising arrogance or suggesting you ignore people but if you feel demands coming your way, it's best to end if politely but swiftly.
On the whole, I'd recommend you enjoy yourself.
London is a truly international world class city and so far, I have never been a victim of street crime.
Re: Safety tips by pandab on 9 May 2006 3:59am
While London can be a bit scary, that is usually because of its size and the number of people ... for me, anyway. I'm not accustomed to big cities, and it can take me a day or so to get used to it <G>.

Here are my personal safety rules while traveling anywhere (not in any order):

1 - Avoid flashing glitter and goodies. Keep jewelry to a minimum and don't show off your electronic stuff.

2 - Keep a couple large bills secreted someplace, just in case. My sneakers have removable soles, so I fold 2 large bills and put them under each sole. That way, should I be robbed or lose my wallet, I have enough spare cash to at least get to help. If your driver's license is bendable, you put that in your shoe, too. Photo ids can come in handy.

3 - Along the same lines, keep a copy of your passport. Better yet, keep a couple copies. I keep one in my suitcase and one in my backpack. Plus, my father keeps one. The idea is that, should your passport be stolen or lost, you have the vital information you need.

4 - When out at night, keep to well-lit places with people. No shortcuts down dark streets or through quiet parks.

5 - When out in the city, day or night, move with a purpose. Carry yourself with confidence. I don't mean you have to act tough. You just need to present yourself as someone who's not worth the trouble to hassle.

6 - If you need to stop on a busy sidewalk to consult a map, stand with your back to a building. That's not advice to prevent crime. It's advice to prevent getting walked on during rush hour <G>.

7 - Don't be afraid to ask for directions or help, but pick people you feel comfortable around. I usually duck into a store or a restaurant.

8 - If you carry a backpack (like me), keep you wallet in bottom of the compartment closest to your back and, if you sling it on one shoulder, keep the zipper tab closest to your body. Pickpockets like easy targets. The smaller front pockets are easier for you to get into ... and easier for thieves, too.

9 - If you are a woman traveling alone, stay ALERT. Not suspicious or jumpy. Just keep aware of your surroundings. Notice where the exits are. For heaven's sake, if anyone messes with you, don't be afraid to let loose with a 5-alarm scream of "No". And I mean a scream.

10 - Finally ... Don't load yourself down with excess weight. I can stuff a lot of souvenirs in my handy backpack, but I've been a situation where that extra weight came within a cat's whisker of causing me some major hurt. If push comes the shove, ditch everything and run like hell, screaming all the way.

Having gone through all that, let me say that bad situation happened right here in my hometown, not overseas. I have NEVER had a close shave while traveling.

Oh! One more thing ... Be friendly. Smile a lot. But if you're a woman traveling alone, and you get an invitation to go out with a stranger, use your head. I once got asked out by a waiter who was worried that I was "lonely". Listen to your instinct about people, male or female. If you don't know them, they don't need to know your hotel or even your full name.

Stay alert and aware. Be smart, but have fun!

Re: Safety tips by arty_farty on 9 May 2006 11:00am
1. keep your keys in a safe place, for example an inner pocket so you can get in to where you are staying.

2. again don't flash your mobile, wallet, jewlelry or ipod.

3. shoulder bags should be worn diagonaly across your chest to make it harder to get nicked.

4. always act as if you are meeting up with someone that way you act confidantly but don't stick out.

5. again stay in well lit areas.

6. if listeing to music keep one earphone out so you can hear whats going on.
Re: Safety tips by pandab on 10 May 2006 2:38am
Something else I do with my backpack ... If I'm sitting down or standing on a subway, I take the backpack off and step one foot through a strap. Yes, if anyone grabs it, I might fall over, but like I said in my earlier post, thieves like easy, quick targets. Anything that slows them down is a plus. If they can't grab it and run, they will usually let go and take off.

If you're ever confronted, and you don't have a good escape route, hand over whatever the thief demands, ESPECIALLY if they are armed. I know it sounds bad, but your wallet or purse is not worth your life. You will not move faster than a bullet, and unless you've had special training, you won't out maneuver a knife.

Seriously, though, the chances of running into a thief is really, really slim. Just keep your wits about you, and you'll be fine.

Re: Safety tips by sighthound on 10 May 2006 4:09am
On the other hand, pandab, if you are a woman alone and you are accosted, it is often better to react extremely.

I have been attacked several times in my life (and it was ALWAYS when I was tired and had let my guard down and I looked like a victim) and, each time, I surprised myself by acting like a total mad woman - yelling and brandishing whatever was handy to brandish. Each time, it stopped the guy dead in his tracks and it either gave me enough time to get away or he slunk away by himself.

If it is a common thief, maybe it is better to give him your money or cell phone but it's often not money he's after and, if you lose the element of surprise, you lose a big advantage. (It's hard to figure that out in a split second, I know, but my instincts haven't failed me yet.)

BTW, has anyone ever been accosted by a female thief?
Re: Safety tips by perfectbitch on 10 May 2006 9:14am
Hey, sorry to hear you've been attacked and targetted by thieves and horrid people. It's true, these things happen when your tired or preoccupied.

My mother had her bag snatched by 2 females back in the 80's and my daughter was attacked in the street by a mentally ill woman who slapped her hard enough to puncture her ear drum just last year.



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