Solo Travel Safety-Theft. I have been robbed in broad daylight at a key European capital. What made me a likely victim? I was dressed up for a first time client meeting. Secondly, I was in a train station about to board. Since Europe’s trains move in and out fast, I was focused on not missing my departure. The good news was as a long time solo travelers, I wisely had split credit cards and cash into 3 places. As a result, my losses were limited. However, in the digital age, travelers must watch out not just for theft but identity theft too.
Here are my 5 personal tips to avoid being a victim.
Solo Travel Safety-Theft: Plan Ahead:
Before you leave home, take these steps.
Copy debit and credit cards, and notify card companies. Be sure you can call or go online to cancel if lthe cards or lost or stolen. When you do, find out if any fraudulent charges are there.
Look at getting a prepaid credit/debit card. When you do that and have a limit, you avoid a real headache. These would tend to have a way online to call if lost or stolen.
Watch out if your ATM card is linked to larger accounts, like mortgages and retirement plans. Think about traveling with a card that is not linked to limit losses. (I recently spoke with a traveler just back from southern Africa whose bank card disappeared in an ATM. She was able to get full recovery from the bank and also from her credit card company when a separate charge was billed.)
Solo Travel Safety-Theft: Plan Ahead: Manage Electronics:
Password protect your phone, and guard personal data. Think of all the data you have on your phone. If you access your bank on your cell, be sure your password is up to date. Consider changing “Home” in your Contacts to be more secure. There have been incidents in Mexico of “cyber kidnapping”. That is what can happen if you lose your phone. In these cases, a family back home had a ransom demand. They often paid before finding out only the lost or stolen phone was “kidnapped”.
Solo Travel Safety-Theft: Plan B:
You should have a source of emergency funds. I was on solo travel in France at 9/11. Each day it was unclear if i would have to find a new hotel room. I was staying on the Left Bank at a small hotel. However, they were booked up. Once air travel was on hold, I could still stay there if I moved around to available rooms there. But with 8 days extra hotel, meals and transport, I paid an extra $1,000. If you find that you are stuck in an emergency, you need to have a way to get cash fast, don’t just assume you can use your ATM card.