Being at home gives you a lot of securities: you feel safe and are familiar with your surroundings. However, there are a lot of great things going on outside your front door. You have to step out and live life to enjoy them.

Traveling is one my favorite pastimes even though I do not get to travel as much as I would like to. Traveling well is a skill. Naive tourists often get ripped off and find themselves in sticky situations if they are not careful.

If you would like to make the most of your travel experience, without any of the hiccups, follow these tips:

  • Avoid pickpockets. Pickpockets are thieves who will steal your money or valuables without you even realizing it. Some touristy areas are notorious for pickpockets (Naples, Italy) and you should adjust yourselves accordingly. If you are in a touristy and crowded area, keep your wits about you. Never give a tell about where your money is. One pickpocket even put out a sign saying “Beware of pickpockets: check to make sure your valuables are safe.” Then he sat and watched while each tourist checked their valuables, often giving away where their wallets/valuables were kept. Beware of any commotion; it is often a distraction by a thief. And also be on the look out for children beggars. These well trained thieves are extremely skilled at swindling you out of your wallet. And do not think you know what a pickpocket looks like, pickpockets are often dressed like businessmen to keep you unaware.
  • Keep your valuables safe. Money and passports should not live in outer pockets. A money belt worn underneath your clothes is the best solution. You can privately take out the cash that you need in a bathroom, while keeping everything else away from a thief. Back pockets are easy for thieves to snatch out of, so do not keep anything important there. If you have a bag, keep it close to your body and zippered closed.
  • Avoid tourist traps. This suggestion is about safety as well as for the betterment of your trip. Tourist traps are pricey, inauthentic and unmemorable. Think it would be hilarious to get a picture with a man dressed as a Roman soldier in front of the Colosseum or a woman dressed as the statue of liberty in NYC? Photos are not free. Roman soldiers have been known to scam naive tourists out of $100 before. If you must have the photo, set a price beforehand and stick to it.
  • Run away from con artists. Con artists abound around tourist traps. Much like the Roman soldiers, you can easily get conned if you are not smart enough. Beware of anyone who is offering to carry your bags for you or show you around town. They might run off with your luggage or charge you an outrageous fee.
  • Be smart. The same principles at home apply to traveling. You wouldn’t wander in a back alleyway in the middle of the night at home, would you? Then why would you do that on a trip?
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