Travel Safety tips: Your Safety While Travelling in India
- Book your accommodations in advance; in India, most international flights depart and arrive at night and it is just not advisable to go searching for accommodations at that late hour. Book your hotel room in advance – over the phone or through an online travel agent.
- Research your city and available accommodations well and book your hotel rooms in a well-established area instead of the outskirts of a city.
- Request a room on the higher floors, where the risk of someone breaking-and-entering is much lower. However, do not ascend so high as to be rendered unreachable by fire engines in the eventuality of an emergency. Safety experts recommend staying between the third and sixth floors.
- Request an airport pick-up service. Many hotels offer this as a complimentary service – just mention this at the time of booking.
- After immigration, hail a pre-paid or radio cab from the Airport Cab Desks – Many radio cabs have their outlets within the Arrivals area and enable you to hire a cab on the spot. With GPS, they are one of the safest modes of transportation. Alternatively, you can request an Airport-pick up from the hotel where you have booked a room.
- When stepping out of your room for explorations, tours, meals, or any other reason, ensure that you have locked your door properly – double check to be sure. Some experts recommend leaving lights blazing and TV or radios blaring to give the impression that you are still in the room. However, most hotels are now equipped with card keys; lights are on only when the card is in the slot.
Safety tips to follow on arrival:
Safety tips to follow while out exploring, on a tour or on the move:
- Keep an eye out for your belongings at all times – while travelling, dining or even relaxing in a bar or cafe. Remember to pick your things up before leaving; we are always hearing about instances where travellers end up losing their belongings simply because they forgot to pick it up before leaving a place having set it down on the chair opposite, draped across the back of the chair they sat on, or set down on the floor beside them.
- Do not advertise the fact that you are a tourist: Nothing screams ‘Am a tourist’ as a camera slung around the neck or an open map in your hands. Keep the camera in the bag and take it out only when you need it. Invest in a good camera phone with megapixels higher than 5 for the spur-of-the-moment photography moments – the stuff of interesting travel tales.
- Avoid dressing up – keep that flashy necklace, bracelet and wristwatch at home – take along a relatively inexpensive replica or imitation / fashion jewellery if you must, but keep the real valuables back home. It is not worth the financial and emotional loss.
- Keep an eye out for pickpockets – the friendly local who supposedly bumped on you by mistake could be simply out to make a quick buck from your wallet. They are very quick and do not hesitate to simply cut an opening on your rucksack with a blade and make away with whatever their hands are able to grab. You might just end up with a substantially lighter wallet or rucksack. Stay safe by avoiding crowds especially on public transport, where the chances of shoving and bumping and making a quick getaway after pick pocketing are very high.
- Always have a contingency plan B and plan C that keeps you on the go in the event of any unexpected event. This is essential, especially when travelling to conflicted areas or areas with history of terrorist acts or communal riots.
- Keep your family and friends back home in the know – leave copies of your travel itinerary, passage plans, flight plans, passport and list of hotels where you intend to stay along with details of dates, room numbers and hotel address with reliable friends and family. This way, they will know how to contact you in case of any emergency or in case you go missing in action, they know where to start looking. In case of any changes to travel plans, do not forget to update them – all it takes is a message on FB, Twitter or just an e-mail.
- While on the move, exude confidence at all times, especially if you are lost and are not feeling so confident. Touts and small criminals read body language well and it is better for you if they get the message that you will not be intimidated easily.
- If any of your possessions are stolen or lost, report the loss immediately to the local police. Keep a copy of the police report for insurance claims, requesting copies of documents and as an explanation of what happened.
- After reporting missing items to the police, report the loss or theft of:
- Passport to the nearest embassy or consulate of your country
- Credit cards to the issuing company
- Debit cards to the issuing banks
- Traveller’s cheques to the nearest agent of the issuing company
- Airline/cruise/rail tickets to the appropriate authorities or travel agent; e-tickets are replaceable – all you need to do is take out a printout
- Car rental key to car rental issuing office
- Most important of all, do not lose your positive attitude. Go on to enjoy your holiday.