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Travel Safer: Protect Yourself from Theft While Traveling

I travel all over the Caribbean and the US and one of the questions I always get is, “Is it safe to go there?” or “I didn’t think it was safe to go there”.   I hear that a lot about Miami, Mexico and Jamaica to name a few places.  Those happen to be 3 of my favorite places.  My standard answer is that unless you are after Drugs or Women you will not have a problem.  If you are looking for Drugs or Women you can have a problem any place in the world including Orlando.  What I think people are really asking is, how to travel safer?  In all my travels I have only had trouble once.  I had my car broken into at a hotel in Columbus, OH.  As much as I blame the Crooks I also blame myself.  I was tired and decided to be lazy and I left valuable items in my car, in plane site, and to top it off, I drove a convertible at that time.  The Crooks used a knife and cut my roof and unlocked the car and took my Leather Coat and a bunch of other things!  I should have taken the items inside the hotel or placed them in the trunk and I would still have them.  Lesson learned!

Travel Safer Tips on how you can protect yourself from theft while traveling.

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Below are some things that you can do that will protect you from Theft and keep you safe.  Note that nothing is 100%, but these tips will reduce your chances of being a victim.

Travel Safer – 3 Car Safety Tips

  1.     Don’t leaving valuables or things that look valuable in your car (Shopping bags, boxes of items you purchased, suitcases, computer bags, etc.)
  1.    Park your car close to the Lobby/Front Door in Motels or Hotel (Preferable where it can been seen by the hotel staff in the lobby)
  2.    Park your car under lights (Buglers like to operate in the dark)   

Travel Safer – 3 Resort/Hotel/Motel Safety Tips:

  1.    Don’t leaving valuables in plain sight within the hotel room (Most theft is smash and grab if your jewelry is hidden they may miss it) 
  2.    Use the hotel room safe
  3.    Use the swing-bar lock while in the hotel room

Travel Safer – 3 General Tips

  1.    Don’t packing more items than you truly need, especially electronic items
  2.    Try not to travel alone, there is safety in numbers  (Travel in Groups when you can)
  3.      Make sure you have Emergency Funds (Traveler’s Checks or Emergency Credit Card)

      Bonus Tip: Purchasing travel insurance ahead of a trip.  Travel insurance often covers stolen items.

Travel Safer – 3 Safety Tips

  1.    Tell people where you are going and where you are staying (At least one reliable person)
  2.     Register your Travel with the Department of State at the Smart Traveler Enrollment  

       Program (STEP)  (The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service that allows U.S.

      citizens traveling or living abroad to enroll with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.  STEP will help

      the U.S. Embassy to contact you and provide assistance to you in an emergency.)

  1.    Don’t go to Gas Stations or ATM Machines at Night (Try not to go alone)

      Bonus Tip:  Keep a Paper and Electronic Copy of your Passport in case yours is lost or

      stolen.  It is also a good ideal to give an electronic copy to a Friend that you can reach in

      case of an emergency!


I learned my lesson when my car was broken into.   Since then, I have followed the Tips I have listed above and used common sense.  Be vigilant, keep your eyes and ears open for signs of danger.  Pay attention to your surrounding and not your phone.  Stay in high traffic area.  Use a buddy system.   Bottom line, stay alert, I want you to be safe and not a victim!  I travel all over the Caribbean and the US and I am not going to stop.  I just want to travel safer!

Important Helpful Links:

Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP):

How to find a US Embassy:

Lost Passport:

By Phone


1-888-874-7793 (TDD/TTY)

By Email:

Help for U.S. Citizen Victims of Crime Overseas:

Department of State in the U.S. call 1-888-407-4747 (from the U.S. or Canada)

(202) 501-4444 (from overseas).

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Bill Collins

Bill Collins is a former Army Officer turned veteran traveler. I have traveled to 28 different Countries mainly concentrated in the Central & Latin America and have spent the last 16 years exploring the Caribbean Islands.

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