We never want to be in this situation when traveling anywhere. I have been traveling most of my life and always love to travel to places that most people think would be dangerous. Don't get me wrong, I love visit places like Brazil and even a good old-fashioned safari and Kenya, but it is something different to visit locations most people consider hostile.
The only downside to traveling to some offbeat locations is that they are generally more dangerous than popular tourist attractions. Over the course of the last two years I have been able to travel to close to 30 countries and live across four continents. I visited the secluded Guyana's which rests on the top right corner of South America, and I even lived in Eastern Africa where I was able to visit Somaliland and South Sudan.
There were some very close calls when I was kidnapped in Venezuela and also arrested and detained in South Sudan. Those were the extent of my problems while traveling overseas however, I have never once been robbed or been part of an attempted robbery.
While some call this lucky, I can attribute this to the precautions that I take while protecting my technology worth thousands of dollars. I think that most thieves would have a field day when they realize that I'm carrying over $5,000 of technology in my carry-on bag every time that I travel. Since I am also a traveling day trader, I also have to keep backups of everything.
My laptop is my livelihood, if I happen to lose a computer mouse I won't be able to day trade and make a living anymore. You try to find a mouse in the middle of Ethiopia or while you're visiting a remote village in South America. Here are some tips to keep in mind in order to not get robbed while traveling overseas:
Pay Attention To The Locals
The first thing that I always pay attention to when traveling overseas are the locals; do they hold their bags in the Metro or do they leave it on the back? Do they leave things on tables or do they always put things away? Do you see people with a relaxed demeanor or are people taking extra precautions?
Living in South America for so long, I can tell you almost immediately once I arrive in a new city whether or not a safe. One of the easiest things you can do is ask one of the locals whether it is safe. I always like to ask the elders in addition to younger people because they are usually the ones that are going to provide the two extremes. If both parties tell you the same thing you know exactly what to expect.
Most people don't pay attention to the little things but body language is everything. Make sure to always pay attention to what the locals are doing. They are always going to know best.
Take Extra Precautions At Night
This is obviously a no brainer. When you arrive in a new city late at night or you are exploring a new city's nightlife you should always try to take extra precautions. You don't want to end up in the wrong place at the wrong time. You have watched "Locked Up Abroad" haven't you?
Always try to avoid walking alone or in places where you could be surprised. This includes walking under overpasses of highways or streets with back alleys; if it doesn't feel right you probably shouldn't be there. Always go home in a taxi when you aren't familiar with the area or if you have been drinking. If you are familiar with the area, it's probably a good idea if you take a taxi anyway since you have probably been drinking.
Try not to go out alone. You may be the kind of person that loves to go out alone, you can always find someone that can join you. You can use services like Couchsurfing to find locals to get together with. Travelers are always willing to meet other travelers.
Demeanor on Steroids
If you act like you are unsure of yourself that means that you probably are. When you are lost your emotions run higher than normal and you make stupid decisions. Whenever you are walking somewhere pretend like you know where you are going. There is a big difference between someone that looks lost and someone that has confidence.
Thieves don't want to mess with somebody that looks strong and confident; just because you're a woman doesn't mean that you have to be an easy target. Even if you're walking around looking at tourist attractions make sure that you tried to exude confidence while on your daily activities.
Hide The Goodies
Nothing like taking out that brand new iPhone or new tablet in the middle of a crowded plaza where everyone can see it. Don't make yourself vulnerable. It is okay to take pictures, but don't show off your goodies when you don't have to. Don't play on your phone if you are in a location that you aren't familiar with and if you have to take a picture always put your camera or cell phone in your pocket immediately afterwards.
Walking with your camera in your hand or waving a cell phone is a bad idea and makes you an open target. Whenever you are sitting outside make sure not to leave your electronics or personal items on the corners of tables or chairs that are far from reach.
Eyes In The Back Of Your Head
I remember the day that I was being followed in the capital city of Montevideo, Uruguay. No matter what I did I couldn't shake this new found stalker. Since I have been living overseas for so long, I have gotten in the habit to always pay attention to my surroundings.
The reason why I caught this strapping gentlement was because I decided to change the battery on my camera just to make sure that no one was following me. My uncle and I were the only tourists in the plaza that day so I knew that we could be a possible target. Once I realized he was following us, we stopped at a café and had lunch for three hours, the food was that good, we lost him after an hour.
Keep Those Pants Tight
Make fun of girls all you want but if someone is trying to steal their IDs I'm willing to bet that they will feel it. I'm not telling you to go out and purchase pants that cut off your circulation but you may want to consider wearing clothes that fit so you can feel any intruders.
If you don't like to stay fashionable, then consider purchasing some of the clothes that Scottevest. They have great products where you're able to conceal your important items.
My last and final tip is to use common sense. Don't be an idiot. Most people think it's funny when I tell them tha,t but most stories that I hear where people were robbed could have been avoided. Make sure that you're always paying attention to your valuables and that you never let your things out of your sight. Take it from a person who has never been robbed, if you follow the steps the worst that can happen is you just get kidnapped or arrested.