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Travel Tips on Safe Travel

  • Be aware that you will not be able to access your checked bags after they are screened. Therefore, you should remove everything that you want to take on the plane with you before handing over your checked bag for screening. Click here to read more about the changes in airport screening procedures.
  • WTA offers a wealth of information about security while traveling within the U.S. or abroad. Click here for articles to read or download on hotel security, special issues for female travelers, etc.
  • WTA members can get 10% off a wide variety of travel safety products through Citizens Against Crime, Inc. Call Citizens Against Crime at 1-800-466-1010 and identify yourself as a WTA member.
  • Don't alert would-be thieves to the fact that you're away from home. Hire someone to do outside maintenance (mowing, snow removal) while you're gone.
  • Although you probably suspend your mail and newspaper delivery while you're away, you know that sometimes the process breaks down and it arrives anyway! Ask a friend to check for papers and mail if you will be away for more than a few days. They can also pick up any 'complimentary' papers whose presence could indicate an empty home.
  • Do a quick check before leaving home to make sure all the door and window locks work properly. Also check all your smoke detectors to make sure they are working and have fresh batteries.
  • If you leave your seat during a flight, donít leave important or valuable items in the seatback pocket.
  • Carry a current photograph of your child when traveling. If he or she becomes lost, having a recent picture will make the search easier. This is a good tip for your pets as well.
  • Street performances give pickpockets an abundance of people focused on the show and not on protecting their belongings. Enjoy the show, but remain vigilant about your belongings. Keep your hands on your pocketbook and wallet, and keep shopping bags closed and in full view.
  • If you are traveling to a high-crime area, be sure to book a room at a vertical, business-oriented hotel rather than one that has several buildings spread out over the property.
  • Hotel parking lots can have dark areas surrounded by trees, dumpster's, etc. Park in a spot that is well lit, close to the main entrance, and away from an attackerís potential hiding place. If in doubt, park at the check in spot and ask someone from the hotel to accompany you while you park your car.
  • Professional thieves are trained to spotóand victimize--tourists who are even slightly intoxicated. Be wary of possible assault and robbery after leaving a nightclub or bar in a foreign country. It is much safer to travel in groups. In some countries, some drinking establishments themselves have been known to contaminate or drug the drinks to gain control over the patron (and their ATM card, credit cardÖ).
  • When leaving on vacation, do not change your home answering machine greeting telling callers when youíll return. Thatís an invitation to thieves. Instead, call in and check your messages, or let people know ahead of time by calling them individually.
  • Take advice from the locals you meet (hotel staff is a good resource) as to the safety of various areas in the city. Avoid areas they say arenít safe.
  • Fanny packs and backpacks mark you immediately as a tourist. If you must carry one, be aware of your surroundings and watch for those who may snip off the pack or slit a hole in the bottom of your backpack. Donít carry money or important documents in these external packs. Use them only for extra clothes, raingear, maps, and other replaceable items.
  • Leave your taxi door ajar while you get your luggage out of the trunk, (if the driver isnít doing it for you). The taxi driver then cannot drive away with your bags.
  • Itís a good idea, when traveling with a group, to designate a specific spot to meet in case the group gets separated.
  • Worried about losing each other in a crowd? Have everyone in your family wear a bright colored shirt (the same color if possible) and remember what each person is wearing. Another idea is to each carry a bright umbrella, and open it above the crowd if you get separated. (This works better for adults, who are less apt to lose the umbrella.)
  • Theft of ATM and calling card numbers is big business. Someone doesnít have to be right behind you to steal your number. With binoculars, they can get the number from almost any angle. Block the view of the phone and ATM number pads with your hands and body while dialing/entering, especially in airports and large cities.
  • Donít flash fancy jewelry or cash when traveling. Store cash in a money belt or inner pocket. Keep expensive jewelry at home. However, single women should consider wearing a wedding ring when traveling to make themselves less of a target.
  • Keep your credit card account numbers and the banksí toll-free numbers in a safe place while traveling (not in your wallet or purse). Leave a copy to a friend or family member at home as well. Call immediately if your wallet is stolen. Also be sure to call the following credit agencies to file a fraud alert report
    • Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
    • Experian (formerly TRW): 1-800-301-7195
    • Trans Union: 1-800-680-7289
    • Social Security Administration Fraud Line: 1-800-269-0271
  • Check your homeowners insurance to see if it covers losses incurred away from home. This can help you reclaim money for lost luggage or materials stolen from hotel rooms. Check the airline's policy on reimbursing for lost luggage. If the maximum amount is too low, you may be able to purchase "excess valuation" coverage when you check in.