Travel Tips Part 3 - In Transit

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Posted by Carina Franca

It’s easy to get lost and feel vulnerable when traveling. Even if this happens, you must not look how you feel. Being alert and prepared for the unexpected is a proactive way of staying safe.
Vehicle safety is key to remaining safe while traveling overland. Before you get in any vehicle to drive or to be driven you need to make sure that all is working fine. See the tips below to help you get your list up to speed for your next trip.
  • Does the vehicle have insurance? Do you have a copy of the insurance information?
  • Are the tires in good condition? Are they properly inflated? Is the spare tire inflated and in good condition? 
  • Are the fluid levels and oil level topped off? Do you have extra, if needed?
  • Is there a battery jumper cable in the car? Do you know how to use it if you need to? Are the battery terminals clean and not corroded? Corrosion can keep a battery from working properly. If the terminals are corroded, either ask for a different vehicle or have the rental agency clean the terminals.
  • Do you know the route you are taking? Are there hazards to watch out for during the trip? Is there road construction that might make you take a detour from your planned route?
  • Avoid driving at night, especially in Africa and some parts of Asia.
  • If you are using a hired driver, make sure he is a trained professional. If you are using a hired driver, have you explained that drinking and driving are not allowed?

Street safety can be applied anywhere you go. You don't need to be in transit or on a trip to follow these guidelines.
  • Do not wear your nametag after leaving your hotel or convention center.
  • Do not wear a fancy watch that will draw attention.
  • Do not wear anything that could identify you as a foreigner.
  • Do not look lost. If you are lost, walk into the nearest store. Reorganize yourself, get your bearings, and find your way to where you need to go.
  • Do not wear baseball hats. These will identify you or your country. This can possibly make you a target to thieves and others who seek to do harm.
  • Do not take pictures of military buildings, bridges, or other infrastructure that might be deemed by the local government to be sensitive. In some countries you can be arrested for taking photos of these types.
  • Walk with determination, even if you are lost.
  • Walk against the traffic, and as far away as possible off the roads. Kidnappings happen rapidly when you are walking with the traffic. Someone can take you before you even see them approaching.
  • Walk on main streets whenever possible.
  • If you have to go to a bank, be careful when you exit it. Pay close attention to whether you are being followed. If you are, step into a shop, or flag down a taxi. The object is to put distance between you and the person following you.
  • Always stay at a well-known hotel that is in a safe area.
  • Avoid first floor rooms. There is a greater chance of someone being able to break into your room from the outside.
  • Make sure your room key works properly.
  • When entering your room, check to see if there is another entrance. If there is, make sure it’s locked from your side.
  • Make sure your room is secure
  • During check in, don't leave your personal information unattended.
  • Lock your room as best as possible. Sometimes putting something against the main door can keep you from getting robbed or worse. This has happened in some countries.
  • Never leave valuables lying around in your room. Use the room safe to store your money, passport, and any other documents. If you are leaving electronics, such as a computer or iPad, in your room lock them up. There is no reason to tempt hotel employees who may have access to your room.

If you are ever kidnapped try to remain calm. Do not react! If you relax, you can comply with the situation and think what to do. If you are a woman remember that  the risk for rape is greater. Try to look undesirable by going to the bathroom in your clothes. Try to absorb what is happening and pray.
To learn more what this video on Traveling Tips while in Transit: