Over five-million visitors are expected in London during the Olympic Games later this month, more than a quarter-of-a-million staying overnight. That's a lot of extra people in a small space. If you're one of them, or the millions of other tourists traveling internationally during the busy summer season, these trade tips from Mike Kelly, CEO of On Call International
, a leading provider of medical, security and travel assistance, may help keep you and your belongings safe.
Be Street Smart
Pick-pocketers are very common in European destinations, such as London, especially in a large-crowd environment. Kelly suggests that women wear cross body bags to have more control of their belongings, and men put a rubber band around their wallet to create resistance against their pants while sightseeing. Also, limit fancy jewelry or handbags - follow the local cultural standards so you blend in and are less of a target. Pick-pocketers are often well trained, so keep an eye on your personal belongings at all times.
Keep A Closed Door Policy
Most hotels across London will be filled to capacity and guests should expect constant foot traffic in and out of hotels. It is important to remember to not open your hotel door for someone you don't know. Think of your room as your home - ask the individual on the other end why they need to come in. If you didn't request a hotel bell hop to bring up towels or shampoo, it's best to stay safe and communicate via phone or through the door. Don't open your hotel door to "room inspectors" who will swipe a valuable or two as they pretend to check the "quality of housekeeping." When leaving your room for the day, keep your hotel key with you, instead of at the front desk, and leave your "do not disturb" sign on your door so others think it is occupied.
Mix Up Your Money
While credit cards are useful when visiting any foreign destination, it will be beneficial to have some local currency as well. Don't use an ATM machine if someone is standing around you. Kelly says, "make sure to watch out for small cameras meant to record you as you enter a PIN." Also don't keep all your valuables in one place. In the event something gets stolen, you should have some extra cash or credit cards stored in the hotel safe or a secret, safe place. Credit card companies can provide travelers with a new card very quickly, be sure to check which cards have the best policies before heading abroad.
Protect your Passport
Your passport is the most important document to pack when traveling overseas. Kelly suggests having a few copies in different places. "I always keep a copy in my 'overseas' suitcase and with my family members at home. I also have a picture of it stored in my phone for emergency purposes." Make sure you have the US embassy contact information on hand. Should the unfortunate occur, having a travel assistance membership with a company such as On Call International can help. There are several services including assistance with lost and stolen documents, which will aide in the passport retrieval process.