How to avoid being mugged or robbed while traveling

Written by admin on December 13, 2012 – 5:49 pm -

You’re traveling and think you’ve taken all the precautions. But, what happens if you’re caught off guard, mugged or had your possessions disappear faster than you can say, “One, two, three?” Even the most savvy travelers may have been confronted by this situation.

Don’t be paranoid. But, as the Boy Scouts say, “Be prepared.” Take the offensive and use your big city smarts.

Don’t look like a tourist:

That’s easier said than done if you’re in a place where you clearly aren’t a native. The most important thing you can do is not to look tentative. Most people have been lost in cities they don’t know. But, if you’re out of your element, be sure you have your destination mapped out and keep on walking. If you’re lost at night, don’t stand on a corner. Rather, go into a hotel lobby or a well-lit restaurant.

If you’re in a car, don’t stop on the side of the road. Rather, keep driving until there’s a lighted area that’s under surveillance such a hotel drive way or a gas station that’s open.

Consumer Traveler readers know not to leave their worldly belongings hanging out of a back pack that’s an easy mark. On the other hand, people have been robbed in subways and crowded places without knowing it’s happened until it’s too late. Be on the look out for groups of kids crowding around you, trying to distract you and so on. Sorry to say, but this has been know to happen (even) in Paris.

Tips if you’re being targeted:

    . Stay calm: it’s hard to do but will help you survive the incident and unnerve your attackers.
    . Keep your cash in a safe as well as your credit cards.
    . Be sure to have photocopies of your essential documents, numbers of credit cards plus the contact phone numbers with you (in a safe place). Leave a copy of the information with someone at home who’d be willing to make those calls.
    . Do not bring jewelry or wear bling. Most robbers don’t have the time to discern what’s real or not.
    . Consider taking a self-defense class. But only apply it in the event of life threatening circumstances.

Men: Carry two wallets. Put one in your back pocket that has some money, papers and (hopefully) enough to satisfy the attackers. The second one should be in your front pocket, which is more difficult to access.

Women: Carry nothing in your handbag that you can’t afford to lose. Purses can be yanked off your body even with the sturdiest of straps, cut from behind and it’s not worth the risk. Carry only what you’ll need that day and leave the rest in the hotel’s safe.

People should stay with their group in well lit and well populated areas. This is a deterrent to muggers who would rather confront people who aren’t surrounded by others.

If you’re mugged:

    . Do what you’re told.
    . Hand over everything since a dead hero isn’t what anyone needs or wants to be.
    . Whatever you do, if someone is holding a gun or a knife, don’t become aggressive. It could be your undoing.
    . Some people take out travel insurance in case of such situations. Do you?

If you’ve been threatened, what did you do and how did you cope? Please add any advice you can. Hope it never again happens to you or for that matter, anyone. Wouldn’t that be nice.

Posted in Consumer Traveler |