Whether you are travelling to London, Manchester, Newcastle or Edinburgh – these tips are guaranteed to apply. All trips to big cities come with several similar risks that you should be aware of. Think about it. Cities are large, densely, populated areas, home to millions of people from all walks of life. They also tend to be popular tourist destinations. Many different types of incidents can occur and being aware and prepared for them will keep you much safer.
Stay in Public Places
If it is your first time visiting a city, be sure to stay in public and well-lit places. Do not wonder off down small alley-ways or follow someone down a closed off area. If thieves suspect you are a tourist and have limited knowledge of the city, they will take advantage of this.
Protect Your Valuables
Thieves are very aware that most people will be carrying a smart phone with them. You should always keep them hidden out of sight and in your bag. If you have any other expensive valuables such as a laptop or tablet. It would be much safer to keep them in your hotel room, where they will be much safer.
Do Your Research
Do your research about high risk areas and find out the tactics scammers and thieves use. In Barcelona, the pickpocket capital of the world, a common tactic involves a couple of women offering you a flower. They will offer you the flower to get close to you, then pick your pockets. Another popular tactic involves someone spraying you with paint or milk, then a local will approach to tell you about the incident and help you, while another person gets their hands into your pocket.
Many popular cities have good public transport systems such as buses, trams and trains. Plan your routes beforehand, therefore you know where you need to be at what time and you can avoid getting lost. If you’re visiting London, you can visit the Transport for London site to help you plan your routes. If you are using taxis, make sure that they are properly registered with the correct signage on the vehicle.
Avoid Looking Overly Touristy
Cities are hugely popular tourist destinations. London welcomed a staggering 19 million tourists in the year 2016-2017. Tourists are the perfect target for criminals. Try to avoid standing out, meaning don’t have a large camera dangling from your neck, and don’t walk around carrying a map all day. Criminals will see you as an easy target and will take advantage of your lack of knowledge of the area.
Consider Using a Safety App
There are many personal safety apps available that can give you a sense of security when visiting a new city. Our article – Could Your Phone Save Your Life? – features four apps that can be used in several ways. One of the apps allows you to create a circle of friends who will know your whereabouts at all times. A different app works as a database, storing information about your medications, passed diseases, allergies and other health information, should you be involved in an incident.
Avoid Suspicious Behaviour
Follow your instincts. If you see any suspicious behaviour, or anything that makes you feel uncomfortable, avoid it. Stay in your group and stick to travelling in the day. If you come across a group of people or situation that makes you feel uncomfortable, follow your gut and avoid them. Take a different route and avoid stumbling into a potentially dangerous situation.
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