Complete Safety While Traveling - Tips & Advice
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COPYRIGHT 2009 thru 2020 - David Woodsmall
I researched most of this information prior to our 30 day African photo safari
I ASSUME NO LIABILITY - You do or do not do things at your own risk
TRAVEL SAFETY - General Information - TipsThe main thing is to always be alert of your surroundings, the people moving by,
do not have anything expensive that passersby could see. If you use that expensive
camera around people, someone will notice that you have it.
Don't travel down dimly lit streets or by gangs of "idle" people.
In may cities and countries, it is best to take an offically
sanctioned taxicab at night, and arrange for the driver to pick you
up at a preset time (of if your cell phone can reach his, even better).
Remove any branded camera Straps and cases - do not advertise that you have.
Use common sense - avoid opening your wallet or removing cash from your
hidden money stash while people can see you.
CRIME - PERSONAL AND FINANCIAL SECURITY - ATM - ROBBERIESIf you have concerns about locking up your valuables while on safari or traveling to that
exotic town, you may want to ask specific questions of the hotel or safari lodge where you
will be staying.
We had NO theft problems and were NOT robbed, BUT we were a party
of a minimum of six pople, and did not walk around in unsafe areas
(we were usually driven by our Hosts in large 4x4 vans).
We spent over 40 days in Botswana, Kenya, Namibia, South-Africa,
Zambia, Zimbabwe and London on our last trip.
In Johannesburg, South-Africa, our hosts were armed and the places we stayed
in towns were surrounded by electrified fences.
Most Robberies in Southern Africa occur at ATMs - use one inside a Bank,
with armed guards. I've read that many petrol (Gas) stations now have ATM machines.
While we had no theft problems nor robbery, I was surprised to find out that:
In South-Africa, robbers sometimes follow their victims to their hotel and rob
them in the lobby.
CAMERA SAFETY DRIVING THROUGH CROWDS
THEFT FROM CAR WINDOWSBe careful drIving or walking in crowds your camera can be easily ripped from your hands.
If you are driving with the camera strap on your neck, you could, possibly incur a serious neck injury.
They can and do steal anything they can get their hands on (this is rare, but it only takes once).
Our local guide was emphatic about closing and locking our car windows and doors while driving
through crowds of people.
IN-ROOM HOTEL SAFES are NOT SecureMany safari lodges do NOT have in-room safes, although some of these lodges can store your valuables
in a safe at the the lobby (most Safari Lodges do not have this services).
I have read reports of some less-safe lodges, wherein the crooks seem to have access to the contents of
in-room safes (rare, I'm sure, but check the reviews on the lodge or hotel).
Actually, all it takes is a long, thin screwdriver and a little searching on the Internet.
I have a Milockie Hotel Safe Lock (Model #MK1000)
that will work on Most in-room Safes. It may be possible to beat the Milockie, but at least
the crooks now have to go through two locks.
It is not cheap - I paid $ 70 USD in late 2010.
See also YOUR IN-ROOM HOTEL SAFE IS NOT SECURE
LEG SAFES / MONEY BELTSI used both a Money Belt and a Leg Safe. For the leg safe, You want good velcro (not
metal hooks) to avoid setting off metal detectors - mine did not trigger any alarms. I have
seen money belts with a non-metallic buckle.
I had a third, over the neck "safe", that could be used as a more obvious method of hiding
money (give thieves that one).
See also: Complete Money Protection While Traveling
LOCK YOUR TENTWith some Tented camps, SweetWaters fro example, It is possible to lock your tent from the
outside, (or inside) if you have a padlock with a long enough hasp - Of course, then the cleaning staff will
not have access.
NO LOCKSThere are Safari Lodges that have NO room locks that you can use to
lock your room while you are not in your room.
Let me first say that no one experienced any crime on our travels,
including the people that we met.
While the staff were we stayed were very honest, I always wonder about the 15 year kid, next door.
The Ark (a lovely place in Kenya) has no door locks - we had no problems.
Sweetwaters Tented Camp has no locks, but you can use small padlock on zippers.
Several of the better lodges had only one key for a room, so you had to leave it
(if you wanted your room serviced).
PORTABLE ROOM DOOR LOCKWhile I did not use it, I had a small, lightweight portable lock that could be used
to lock (almost) any room door from the inside. I had read that there were many breakins during the night
while the room was occupied, in a hotel near the Johannesburg airport - so of course, we did not stay there.
This seem hotel had lots of stuff disappear from the locked, in-room hotel safe.
KEYS - THERE MAY ONLY BE ONE KEYSome Safari lodges have only the ONE key to your room,
so if you take your key with you, the cleaning staff can not service your room.
SKELETON KEYSMANY lodges use "ancient" key types. I have a skeleton key that I got 40 years ago,
and it could be used to open any of these rooms. These are the key types used by your grandparents.
Hotels that use the "cards" to unload your room door, have to have master "cards" for the staff
(which are usually very honest).
TRAVEL SAFES (not worn)I also took a 20 Liter Pacsafe TravelSafe 20L Portable Safe (model #PE002BK). If you take
one, be certain to bring a LONG, THICK cable that you can use to attach it to some immovable
object. NOTE that there may NOT be anything to attach the safe to, in your room. Are there
any pipes that you can use?
TSA APPROVED LOCKSUse TSA approved padlocks on your luggage, especially, your checked luggage
(so that the TSA can unlock them for inspection,without having to cut them off).
Remember that on any flight, you may be forced to check ALL your luggage,
because luggage space is limited, so always have spare TSA locks for your
bags that you do NOT expect to check (I always have them locked, as well).
I have been using the FOUR wheel TSA combination locks (three is too easy
to figure out, and I have seen a multi-wheel lock that uses LETTERS, rather
than numbers (yielding more combinations). I prefer the combination locks
because there are no keys to lose, but it is easier to get into a combination
lock than into most keyed locks. Personally, I think that padlocks that open
with cards are silly (my personal opinion).
You can buy TSA locks that tell you if the lock has been opened by the TSA,
but then, what real good does it do to know your bags have been opened?
unless you are worried someone will plant something in your luggage
(which seems extremely unlikely).
I doubt that airport security officials in other countries can open TSA
locks without damaging them - I do know that my TSA locks on my checked
luggage in Kenya, South Africa, Zimbabwe and England were never damaged.
Complete Money Protection While Traveling
CAR WINDOW THEFTNEVER Hold expensive cameras, Binoculars or other objects near your car window,
when traveling slowly through crowds - it may get stolen, even with a neck
strap (which could break your neck). Our local guide was emphatic about closing
and locking our car windows while driving through crowds of people.
ALWAYS LOCK YOUR HOTEL DOOR and WINDOWSALWAYS lock your hotel room windows, deck doors and the room door. If not 2-legged critters,
any monkeys in the area WILL get into your room and completely trash your possessions. I hear
that you can never get the smell out of your stuff.
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Complete Tanning - sunburn, spray tans, spf clothing, heat exhaustion...
TICKS - Complete TICK Information
TREAT CLOTHES WITH INSECTICIDE (Permethrin)
HEV = (Blue Light) 400-500 nm (longer than UVA) - may cause Macular Degeneration
UV400 (blocks UVA, UVB and UVC = 100 nm to 400 nm, but NOT HEC)
Safety Travel Tips INDEX - JUMP Table - Click Once on the Desired Item
ATM Robberies |
Car Window THEFT from |
General Travel Safety Tips |
In-Room Hotel SAFES are NOT SECURE |
Follow - crooks may |
Lock your TENT |
Lock your Room Door (Portable Locks) |
NO LOCKS - at some safari lodges |
Skeleton keys |
Leg Safes / Money Belts |
Travel SAFES |
TSA Locks |
Windows - Deck Doors - Room DoorsLOCK Them |
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