Travelling safely requires certain precautions especially when alone or with your family in tow, Once you have decided on your destination and flight reserve your accommodation. The Internet is full of hotel advertising and companies (i.e Expedia any many others) that sell rooms for hotel chains but be aware that there is a charge for their services. Once you have made your room reservation and obtained a confirmation ask the hotel to tell you about the best means of getting there from the airport and how much it costs.
In many European cities public convenient and reasonably priced transportation is available. In Zurich the train station from the airport is just below the airport arrival area. The same is true for London from different airports.
If you are travelling by car ask for the best directions to arrive at the hotel.
In many Middle Eastern and East European countries the arrival lounge of international airports are full of taxi drivers who will literally pull you towards their cars, then drive you in a circuitous route to charge exorbitant amounts. It is best to tell how much you will pay before you get into the taxi and also ask whether the driver will charge you for the luggage. If you know the cost in advance, it will help you negotiate.
In some cases the driver may say that the meter indicates the cost. Do not fall for this age-old trick. The meter may be, and often, is rigged, or the driver will drive several times around the block.
Needless to say, toy should have enough local currency to avoid complications.
When booking a city sightseeing tour, ask whether they pick you up, and if they are, will the bus arrive punctually as promised. In third world countries punctuality is as rare as hen’s teeth.
The front desk clerk, or the concierge, can be of help here.
Do not flaunt your jewellery, especially in third world countries, and dress modestly. More importantly, wear comfortable clothing and shoes.
Watch for unmarked contractions holes and avoid dark streets with little traffic.
If you are an avid photographer and have two or more cameras, carry them in a discreet carry on luggage. Always watch who approaches you in buses and/or subways. Often there are women with children who try to distract you and accomplices pick your pockets. When travelling in subways stand in rows between two doors. Sometimes pickpockets enter the car, pick your pocket, and before the train leaves the platform they exit. Never keep all your funds in one bag or pocket. Take extra care with travel documents.
In some countries there are tourism police on busy sites and who speak several languages. They can provide useful tips and warn you about pending possibilities of pick pocketing or scoundrels who pretend to help you, but in reality to filch.
In several Middle Eastern cities a friendly local approaches tourists with the claim to provide valuable information about the city or a particular restaurant or club where servers urge you in no uncertain terms to order a bottle of expensive wine at an outrageous price.
Other tricks are also widely practiced.
If you decide to rent a car, make absolutely sure to inspect the car before signing. Often there may be dents on the vehicle when you return the car to the company will bill you as though you are responsible. “Expert” thieves in countries with high tourist traffic often rob rental cars.
Park in supervised lots. A colleague’s rental car was broken into twice in one day in southern France, and rental companies outside Italy will not rent a car if you are planning to travel to that country. In fact they ask specifically before signing the contract.
If you use a credit card, auto rental insurance is provided so there is no need for another one.
In the U S A, car rental companies charge extra if you leave the state in which you rent the car.
In third world countries driving at night on high ways requires special attention.
Often trucks without lighting and signs are parked on the highway and several cars are known to drive into them with fatal consequences.
Nightclubs are particularly dangerous places especially for young and inexperienced males. Drinks may be spiked, or “friendly” females join you, unbidden, and ask for very expensive drinks which may be intentionally spilled to force you to order yet another one.
Paying by credit card in hotels and restaurants requires special care. Do not let anyone disappear with your card to a back office. Always ensure that the card is swipes in front of you. New cards now have a pin number for added financial security.
As a final point do not exchange money on the street with “freelancers”. They offer you lucrative rates, but may give you fake paper currency or denominations that have been taken out of circulation. You may find other Travel Tips.
|Writer – Hrayr Berberoglu – E-mail – Read his books?
Professor B offers seminars to companies and interested parties on any category of wine, chocolates, chocolates and wine, olive oils, vinegars and dressings, at a reasonable cost.