How To Stay Safe While Travelling

tropical-vacation

And your vacation is calling you to Nicaragua!

You may dream of sipping Piña Coladas on the beach while watching azure waves. You may fantasize about dancing the night away in a cool salsa club. Or you might long for adventure gliding down a volcano or rappelling in beautiful waterfalls.

But no matter where you go, you can expose yourself to danger. However, common crime appears not to be the central issue for those considering a visit to Nicaragua. What seems to worry most potential travelers to Nicaragua is not crime, but war. Incredibly some seem to believe Nicaragua is still at war, a bit surprising, since the Contra conflict ended over 26 years ago. After achieving peace, Nicaragua vanished completely from the world news radar. Common sense precautions and decent language skills are a must for independent travelers coming to Nicaragua for the first time. Since hostels and many budget lodgings  are located in sketchier parts of town, one  should avoid night walks alone and keep your valuables in your room or safe whenever available.

So let’s start our discussion by addressing pre-departure planning. First, you need to understand any risks associated with your  trip to Nicaragua. International travelers are often surprised to learn that the United Nations ranks Nicaragua as one of the safest countries in Latin America. These days, it’s easy to research your destination via the Internet. You can learn local customs and gain valuable insight into the region’s political, social and health issues.

Some of the most useful sites are provided by the U.S. State Department, the U.S . Department of Homeland Security, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control as well as the United Nations and the World Health Organization.

Homicide statistics are listed for U.S. cities and countries with a population of 250,000 or greater. Rates are based on cases per 100,000 people for all of calendar year 2014.

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Use these sites to get the latest updates on travel warnings, health risks, visa requirements, and crime statistics in Nicaragua. They can also provide contact information for  foreign embassies and consulates.

Next, accept that different cultures often have different customs and beliefs. And remember that travel involves a good deal of unpredictability. So it’s vital for you to learn everything you can about Nicaragua — including its history, traditions, rituals and institutions — even if you are staying in only one place. Keep in mind that what you consider normal, everyday behavior in America might be interpreted quite differently in various places around the planet. Seemingly harmless conduct might offend or even incite people in other countries.

Don’t wear T- shirts with social or political messages, including raunchy rock or rap references. National pride aside, avoid wearing flags or flag-inspired insignias because they may attract unwanted attention, especially during an election year.

Packing and Carrying

Always pack your own bags when traveling. This holds great importance if you are traveling outside of your respective country. One of the first questions you will be asked by customs officials is: “Did you pack your own bags?”

The idea is you are responsible for whatever is contained within those suitcases. If you packed them, you can be sure about what customs officers will and won’t find.

For example, some food or personal items items could be considered prohibited. So when a customs officer finds the “contraband” in your bag, you could face delays or fines.

And when you’re packing, you should always make sure that you place the most essential items on top where they can be retrieved easily. In an emergency, you don’t want to have to dig down to the bottom of your bag. This will become especially important if you ever have to ditch your bags and carry only your essentials.

Mark Your Luggage

We are all familiar with traditional luggage tags. They’re very important when you are standing in line at baggage claim or when you’re trying to discern your luggage at a hotel.

In any case and in any way that you choose to expose your creativity, be sure to mark your luggage to make it easily identifiable to you.

 

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I.D. Carriers

An I.D. carrier is an excellent way to carry your important papers, licenses and other documents. Everyone from soldiers, law enforcement personnel and civilians should carry everyday ID cards, licenses, visas, passports and credit cards.

An ID carrier is a piece of gear that every traveler should not leave home without. It’s a small pouch that’s usually worn around the neck as a convenient way to protect these items during the numerous times you will need quick access to your personal information.
Make sure you have copies of any and all important documents such as your passport. Keep the copies in a safe place and do not carry them with you. Also write down all your credit card information such as bank, type of card, VISA , MC, AMEX, etc., card numbers, expiration dates and security codes. Put these in a safe location as well.

Avoid ID carriers with cord or string lanyards. If possible use carriers with a ball-and -chain type neck cord similar to those used on dog tags. Ball -and-chain cords can save your life because they easily break away if pulled or tugged.

Homicide statistics are listed for U.S. cities and countries with a population of 250,000 or greater. Rates are based on cases per 100,000 people for all of calendar year 2014.

 

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Mitigate the Risk of Street Crime

To avoid being a target, always dress to blend into the environment. In other words, keep a low profile. Don’t draw attention to yourself with flashy jewelry and designer clothing unless you’re surrounded with people who dress the same way.

Another cardinal rule while traveling is: Do not flash cash. Keep as little money on your person as possible when you’re on the move. Use small bills to pay for things.

Additionally, separate your cash and your credit cards. In this way, if you happen to get jacked, then just reach into your front pocket and give…them the 20 dollars or 40 dollars to satisfy them.

Practice good situational awareness as you move about at your destination. Keen eyes and sharp wits are always readily available and they make the best weapons against street crime.

Lastly, be aware of people around you. Be smart and limit the information you reveal while talking in your hotel or restaurant or a local watering hole.

Travel Happy and stay safe!

 

 

 

 

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