Travellers are always targets for robbers, be it a pickpocket, or a break in at your accommodation. I have laid out some tips here to limit the risk of you becoming a victim. Do not flash the cash, this is the most common and ignored advice and applies especially if you are travelling to a poorer country.
Will you be robbed on holiday?
Only carry the amount of money you need
Think about the money you carry. I have seen people in the Gambia open there wallets or purse and you see well over £100 sitting there in a country with an average wage of under £20 a week, 2 months’ salary in your wallet is a strong pull. Only take what you need.
Be careful what you carry
Same goes for what you carry, that expensive camera and video camera was a great buy in the sale, and so was your watch and the jewellery you wear. Just think what you have on your person could be worth over a year’s wages in a poor country.
Use the accommodations’ safe, sounds simple but do not forget to put things in the safe.
Credit Card fraud
According to ABTA and Retail Decisions (ReD), card fraud will be the biggest crime this summer. Here is some advice from ABTA and ReD, along with a few tips of my own. British travellers are most at risk due to the fact our cards are valuable, and therefore vulnerable as they tend to have the highest credit limits.
Highest risk destinations
Ghana, Nigeria, Indonesia, Morocco, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Egypt, Dominican Republic. However crime can happen anywhere.
Before you leave home
All travellers should make a note of both there card numbers and the contact number in case of emergencies and leave these in safe keeping with a trusted friend. Better yet take a photocopy of both sides of your card. Of course NEVER give your pin numbers to anyone.
Contact your bank before you travel and inform them of your plans.
What should I look out for overseas
– Shoulder surfing at ATM’s, this occurs when someone tries to watch you enter your pin.
– Do not let your card out your sight; go to the pay point in restaurants etc.
– Never leave your card to run a tab.
– If you believe something has happened to your card contact your bank straight away.
Check your bank statements
Check your statements, if you do not recognise a transaction inform your bank. Sometimes a small transaction are put though your card as a test or to avoid the banks fraud detection software.
Use a travel payment card
Use a travel payment card these have several advantages. First if your card is stolen funds can be replaced. If you lose your bank card it is gone and you have no access to money. Travel payment cards are not connected to your bank account or credit history so it limits frauds done that way. Finally they come in different currencies so you can set your exchange rate before you travel.
Lastly do not think it cannot happen to you, be aware of what is happening and take out travel insurance.
Thanks to Nick for his excellent guest post today, giving consumer travel tips. Nick has worked for independent and multiple travel agents as well as a tour operator. He served on ABTA Eastern Board and currently runs his own independent travel agency for over 15 years.