I can’t believe how many stupid things tourists do while on vacation. I see them sometimes and just shake my head. I’ve even tried warning people I see doing something dangerous that they are not even thinking twice about. In this post, I am sharing some personal experiences and travel safety tips to show how tourists set their traps on vacation.
Travel Safety Tips How to Avoid Tourist Traps
Here are some general tips to keep in mind when travelling which will help you avoid common tourist traps.
- Share your itinerary before you travel
- Scan your important travel documents
- Keep your bags close by at all times
- Stash some cash (don’t pack all papers and money in the same place)
- Travel with anti-theft bags like Travelon
- Pack only what you need – leave valuables at home or in a safe
- Don’t be flashy with your money and things
- Be mindful of who you trust (stranger danger)
- Ask hotel staff and concierges about dangerous places
- Be aware of your surroundings
How to Avoid Unpleasant Experiences While Travelling
Here are a few specific vacation mishap examples I’ve experienced while on vacation. I’ll start at the airport where many bad holidays can begin.
Tourists Who Leave Bags Unattended
The number one biggest mistake tourists make at the airport is leave bags unattended. It only takes a microsecond for someone to pick up a bag and walk away innocently. No one will think twice it’s an airport everyone has luggage. So why do people drop their bags and walk away or trust some stranger sitting at a gate to watch their bags while they go to the bathroom?
Looking for some safe airport bags check these out!
Take the Wrong Bag from the Carousel
Another way to lose your bags at the airport is to walk away with the wrong one. My luggage colour of choice is purple so often I am the only one with that colour suitcase, but this one time I saw another woman on the plane with the same model as mine. When I got to the carousel at the airport I saw her bag and knew – she had taken mine.
I frantically yelled over the customs bag check at her. “You have my bag!” She looked down at the Canadian flag luggage tag in horror. It’s a straightforward thing, check your bag’s identification before pulling it off a luggage carousel. Make sure you are looking for your luggage identification markers. She had a pink ribbon attached to her bag, why did she grab mine?
Make sure your bag stands out from the crowd try one of these!
Hand out gifts in public (get swarmed)
I did this myself once in Cuba, on the streets of Havana. I had a bag of toys for kids and gave one little boy a ball in one of the public squares. The next thing I knew I was being swarmed by people begging me for everything. They were getting way to close, and I realized they were after more than what I brought in that little plastic bag of toys. What can I say, I was young and foolish. That day I vowed never to do handouts in public again.
I tried to help a woman on another press trip to Cuba who was walking around with a bag of gifts. We were sitting in an enclosed patio, and she was handing people gifts over the side of the patio fence. She did this to the horror of the rest of the journalists at her table. We explained to her the dangers of what she was doing. Eventually, she gave away the entire bag to a woman on the street.
Then she came crying to all of us that her cell phone was missing. I looked at her huge bucket bag, wide open and thought you were handing out gifts and you have a bag with no zipper? Seriously you call yourself a travel journalist?
It turned out that the cell phone was in the bag of gifts she gave away. She luckily was able to get back to the woman she handed out the gifts to and beg her to let her look through the gift bag. After a fight with the woman who was afraid she was taking her stuff back, she got her phone back, talk about setting yourself up for disaster.
Bags purses with no zipper or proper closure
I’m always amazed when walking through a busy city on vacation or at home in Toronto how many women have these large bucket bags with no zippers to close them properly. Their wallets were sitting innocently in a wide-open bag just waiting to be taken. In Europe where we were warned of career pickpocket experts, it baffled me even more.
These career criminals have trained themselves to open a zipper without your knowing about it, so leaving everything hanging in a wide-open bag… well that’s just silly. If you are travelling you should be doing so with an anti-theft bag, especially if you are travelling to areas known for pickpocketing.
They Get Friendly with Hotel/Resort Staff
Inviting a stranger into your hotel room is a significant risk. In a moment of passion (or drunkenness), you think you are going to have a good time, but a quick trip to the bathroom with a stranger in your room could be the end of a great vacation.
I was in the Dominican Republic on vacation with my girlfriends when we watched a group of girls go through this. They were just like us. Four girls on vacation in the Caribbean, until one of them, decided to have a resort fling. She brought her resort staff boyfriend into her hotel room for a bit of fun. She ended up losing her wallet and passport.
What resulted was a chaotic mess which included cancelling all her credit cards, frantically trying to find out how to get out of the Dominican Republic without her Canadian passport and losing all the cash she had. Luckily none of her roommate’s stuff was stolen at the moment.
It turned out this person she invited to her room was not even a full-time resort staff member. It was a friend of one of the staff members. The hotel didn’t even know how to help her as she didn’t know his real name or where he came from. Eventually, he returned her passport; he had no intention of doing anything with her credit cards – he just took the cash. But the group lost two days of their dream beach vacation as a result of this incident.
Travel safety is about being aware and being smart. For women, whether we are travelling alone or in groups, we have to have the right travel gear and travel mindset.
For more tips see these posts:
- A Look at the Weight of our Makeup: Travel Tips for Women
- How Airlines Lose Your Luggage? Tips to Prevent Lost Luggage Disasters
- Travelon has the Right Anti-Theft Bags in Styles you Want
- Discovering Ultimate Dream Travel Gear from Vera Bradley
- Flying Air Canada? Why You Should Download the Air Canada App
- 10 Must Visit Travel Websites Before You Book Your Next Vacation