While Americans are usually vigilant about keeping themselves and their belonging safe at home, once they’re traveling they often leave common sense at the airport gate.
USA Today recently posted an article titled “Is Common Sense in Travel Dead?”, which lists some of the ways Americans are getting themselves into trouble around the world. Many of them are by doing things they usually wouldn’t do at home.
Around 6% of hotel doors are left ajar every night as people forget their key cards and decide to head down to dinner anyway. These same people, who would never think about leaving their house unlocked, will merrily leave all their electronics in an unlocked hotel and then complain when they are stolen.
One example is the passenger who is unable to follow the signs in an airport or use the check-in kiosk but has no problems using their smartphone which is much more complex. These are the passengers who are likely to freeze in the event of an emergency, or worse-panic and cause others harm if something out of the ordinary happens like an emergency landing.
There’s a change in attitude when some people are traveling, as well as a tendency to become too relaxed and complacent and forget that there are people looking to rob easy targets. This is also true for domestic tourism, as many people believe that they are much safer in America than anywhere else and fail to protect themselves, taking risks that they wouldn’t usually take.
Here are some common sense travel tips:
- Research the destination. Check for common scams that you need to watch out for, and look at reviews and experiences from other travelers.
- Always know the emergency numbers for the country where you are traveling.
- Take the address of your hotel with you, especially if it’s in another language so you can show it to taxi drivers.
- Never leave your belongings alone-even if they are sitting on a chair beside you.
- Never leave your hotel door or rental car doors unlocked.
- Don’t leave valuables in your rental car or motorhome.
- If arriving at a new destination try to schedule your flight for earlier in the day so you don’t arrive after dark.
- Keep copies of your passport and insurance information in different locations and in different bags.
- Keep your passport on your body or in the hotel safe.
- Don’t wear earphones as you look distracted and are more likely to be targeted.
- Try not to wear expensive items of jewelry out in public.
- Use ATM’s to take out money but avoid walking around with large amounts of cash on you. Also avoid ATM’s if people are loitering nearby.
Perhaps the best advice is to simply be aware of your surroundings and don’t become complacent. Often traveling is safer than being at home, but make sure you pack your common sense before you leave.