This article was published on January 5th, 2020
Your safety and security is critical when travelling. It has become vital to venture in the wild without appearing too touristy when you’re on your gaycation. Not every place you go is tolerant of the queers and will be as accepting of tourists as you’d want and expect them to be, and it’s best to be prepared when traveling overseas. When you look like a tourist, you are an easy target. Avoid the risks of being mugged, robbed, or taken advantage of by appearing too “touristy” by using these tips.
Plan ahead. Have a general idea of a game plan for your day, and then map that day out from the comfort of your hotel or Airbnb. You’re going to appreciate the stress-free adventure you set up for yourself versus ending up aimlessly wandering around a foreign city or place.
Don’t carry a map. It’s the biggest dead giveaway where you might as well be wearing a neon sign above your head that screams “TOURIST” to every passer by. Know the route and directions before you go in public. It’s 2020 and there are plenty of reliable map apps. Use a smart phone over a map.
Dress to fit in. Leave your favorite sports team or local city name shirts at home, or flags on your clothing or bags with your home country. Khaki cargo pants? Nope. Dark colors and basic to no prints are the way to dress when traveling. Layers help for when unexpected weather hits.
Don’t wear a DSLR camera around your neck. If you’re going to carry your very expensive camera? Put it in a tote bag or conceal it until you need it. Unless you’re a paparazzi, folks are going to know you’re from out of town immediately with several hundred dollars of technology strapped to your neck.
Never show your passport in public. Your passport is your identity and your ticket back home. If you lose your identification while away or have it stolen, you are going to have a lot of troubles boarding flights and getting back home.
Don’t carry large amounts of cash and always use a credit card when you’re able to. Bring an extra credit card or two and leave them in the hotel safe for emergencies. Carry cash with you, but only the amount that you need; keep larger sums secured in the hotel safe.
Don’t ask strangers for help – go into a credible shop or restaurant and ask an employee if you need directions; better yet, ask the concierge at a brand-name hotel. Businesses have a vested interest in providing proper customer service, and sometimes giving the right directions out is one of those services. Strangers can steer you in the wrong direction or mislead you to take advantage of you.
Don’t walk around with luggage and carry-on bags. Take an Uber or Lyft from to/from destinations while traveling with luggage. Having luggage present is a dead giveaway that you’re in from out of town. Don’t allow yourself to be painted as a target this way. When exploring the city, use a small day backpack to secure personal items and valuables; do not use a large backpack.
Never show your room card in public. Keep it tucked away. A hotel room key card is indicative of being a tourist. Keep it tucked away neatly in your wallet until you return to your accommodation.
Be aware of your surroundings when at tourist attractions and points-of-interest – don’t be followed. Keep your head up and off your phone—you’ll be glad you took in the scenery and were secure where you were.
Travel should be fun, an adventure, and full of wonderful memories. Using these tips can help reduce your risk of having your vacation ruined by preventing you being robbed and taken advantage of. Common sense is essential while exploring the world. Safe travels!