Traveling safely means using the same common sense precautions you’d use around home to avoid potential problems.
Here are a few thoughts to consider when packing for your next journey:
Don’t broadcast where you’re from. Proud as you may be to be an American, avoid jewelry such as U.S. flag pins, t-shirts emblazoned with Semper Fi or other insignia that might make you a symbolic target of protest for someone with a grudge against the U.S.
Don’t flash wealth. Avoid displaying expensive jewelry. Another symbol of wealth to downplay is luggage, such as a matched set that says, “I’m expensive and probably have a lot of expensive things inside.”
Blend in. Be part of the crowd. If local women cover their heads, bring a scarf and cover yours. If men wear coats and ties, pack a coat and tie. Don’t load yourself down with cameras; choose a small camera that slips into a pocket. Leave the laptop at home; use Internet cafes to check e-mail.
Be alert. Pay attention to your surroundings and the people near you. Don’t be obsessive, just watchful. If the person sitting near you at lunch is the same one you saw at the bazaar a few hours earlier, your personal alarm system should switch to “on.”
Be discreet. Casual conversation with a cabby as you head for the airport from home can tell a stranger how long you will be gone and the purpose of your trip, not things you want a stranger to know.
There is no reason to be so paranoid that you don’t enjoy your travel, but the same elementary precautions you should use anywhere can help avoid a theft that would ruin the enjoyment of your trip.