Keep a Low Profile
You don't need to announce that you are a tourist to anyone within earshot. In fact, making your presence known can be a dangerous proposition in countries where kidnappings and terrorist attacks are common.
To avoid becoming a target, follow these tips:
- Exercise caution around crowded, touristy places, such as tourist attractions, marketplaces and packed subways or train stations. Also stay away from desolate, remote areas or alleys where you'll be alone.
- Don't draw attention to yourself. Wearing a fanny pack and a camera around your neck are like flashing billboards that you're a tourist. Dressing expensively or ostentatiously will make you look like an easy target for thieves.
- Look as though you belong. Figure out where you're going ahead of time. Walking around with a big map will quickly identify that you're not a local. If you do need directions, ask a police officer or go into a hotel or restaurant.
- Watch out for anyone who seems to be staring at or following you. Report any suspicious activity to local law enforcement officials, or to the local U.S. embassy or consulate.
- Know where to go if you get into trouble, whether that's the nearest U.S. embassy, a police station or hotel.
More Great Links
- CDC. "What You Need to Know About Vaccinations and Travel: A Checklist."http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/content/vaccinations.aspx.
- CDC. "Your Survival Guide to Safe and Healthy Travel."http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/content/survival-guide.aspx.
- Sejvar, et al. "Leptospirosis in 'Eco-Challenge' Athletes, Malaysian Borneo, 2000. CDC.http://www.cdc.gov/Ncidod/eid/vol9no6/pdfs/02-0751.pdf.
- U.S. Department of State. "A Safe Tip Abroad."http://travel.state.gov/travel/tips/safety/safety_1747.html.
- U.S. Department of State. "Tips for Traveling Abroad."http://travel.state.gov/travel/tips/tips_1232.html.
- WHO. "International Travel and Health."http://www.who.int.ith/.
HowStuffWorks hikes El Caminito del Rey, a very dangerous hiking path in Spain that was closed to the public for 15 years after several deaths.