WASHINGTON - March 27, 2002 - Nearly one billion people travel internationally each year, according to the World Tourism Organization. The events of September 11 have made travelers pay even more attention to their safety, especially when traveling to a foreign country. Marriott’s vice president of international security, Alan Orlob, offers these tips to keep help travelers keep their possessions safe.
Use the hotel’s safe deposit box. Travelers should store their valuables in the hotel’s safe deposit boxes, usually located behind the front desk. This includes passports.
Keep billfolds in front & purses under the arm. To avoid pickpockets, men should put their billfolds into their front pockets - not their rear pockets. Women should hold their handbags under their arms. Try to avoid crowds on subways, buses, etc., where people have close body contact.
Avoid late night strolls. Travelers should avoid going out late at night by themselves. If they have to go out, they should look for lighted areas and plan where to go if they feel they are being followed.
Never leave bags unattended. When traveling, people should always keep a close eye on their personal belongings, especially handbags and briefcases. They should be aware that people might try to distract them to gain access to their belongings. When checking into a hotel or standing at the airport check-in counter, they should keep briefcases between their legs and, at airport restaurants, never leave luggage unattended.
Keep an eye on carry-ons. Laptops are a prime target of thieves. People should be especially vigilant of their belongings at airport security checks. If selected for additional security inspections, they should insist on keeping eye contact on their carry-on items.
Use Automatic Teller Machines. When traveling to major cities travelers should use ATMs to obtain cash rather than bringing travelers checks or large amounts of cash from home. This minimizes the amount of cash one carries and usually provides the best exchange rate. When going out, travelers should only carry the credit cards they will be using. The rest should be stored in the hotel’s safe deposit boxes.
Leave jewelry at home. Awareness is the single biggest factor in deterring thieves abroad. Travelers need to be sensitive to the fact that they may be in a culture whose values differ from their own and that they may be targeted for their perceived wealth. Flashy jewelry and other expensive items should be left at home.