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Ten Tips to Ensure your Safety Abroad

Vacations and cruises are supposed to be fun. However, travelers should not be lulled into a false sense of security. Tourists have long been considered prime targets for scam artists and petty thieves, and American tourists are often favorites. While you are riveted by the sights you have gone so far to see, do not allow your fun to be squelched by a stranger who brushed by to empty your pockets.

So how do you have the time of your life and remain safe? Planning and awareness are the keys. Knowing what to expect and how to deal with it, not to mention using common sense, should save you a lot of time and frustration – and help keep you safe. Still, there are some tricks that are not so obvious. Listed below are some of the best, lesser-known tips for ensuring your safety and security while traveling:

1. Make Copies

Make two photocopies of your passport identification page, airline tickets, driver's license and the credit cards that you plan to bring with you. Leave one copy of this data with family or friends at home; pack the other in a place separate from where you carry the originals.

2. Pack Extra

Pack an extra set of passport photos along with a photocopy of your passport’s information page to make replacing your passport easier in case it is lost or stolen.

3. Before you go

Check out the U.S. Department of State’s Consular Sheets. They offer a wealth of information on everything from the location of the U.S. embassy or consulate in the subject country, unusual immigration practices, health conditions, unusual currency and entry regulations, crime and security information and drug penalties.

4. At the Airport

Delay putting your luggage and laptop on the conveyor belt until you're sure you'll be the next person through the metal detector.

5. Carrying a Wallet

If you carry a wallet, it is best to carry it in front pockets and divide your money, keeping a little in each pocket. In fact, why carry a wallet in your pocket at all if you don't have to? Preferable is a wallet that attaches to your belt and tucks inside your slacks or a special money belt that you may wear underneath your clothes.

6. Jewelry

Women should wear only a simple wedding band in lieu of a diamond ring. In some foreign cities and even some areas within the United States, a diamond ring might be worth what a criminal could earn in a year. Remove the temptation!

7. When Checking into Hotel

Help ensure your protection by asking the front desk personnel not to announce your room number but instead to write it down or point to it. Also, only sign your first initial and last name. Titles or degrees can make it easier to determine gender, marital status or profession – and wealth.

8. At Your Hotel

Board the elevator last and select your floor buttons last

9. Upon Hotel Check In

Pickup up two business cards or matchbooks containing the hotel name and address. Keep one with you when you go out so you know your hotel’s address and telephone number. Place the other by the phone in your room for your convenience.

10. Keep It On

When you leave your room, always leave the television on.

International Vacations