If we know what we should do, most big cities like Paris, London and New York can be very safe. However, no matter safe a city is, we should take a number of precautionary steps to make sure that we stay safe no matter what we do. The most important thing to know is that we shouldn’t act too obviously that we are travellers. Before visiting the city, we should do research to make sure that we are familiar with the overall layout of the city. There should be very safe parts of the city, parts that are safe only during the day and parts that are unsafe for the entire day.
We shouldn’t walk around with our guidebook, map, name tag and camera in plain sight. It is also a bad idea to leave our valuables in the hotel room. Many areas in big cities are completely safe during the day; but we shouldn’t wander around after dark. As an example, it is quite risky to stay at Central Park and Lower East Side in New York after dark. In Paris, we should exercise caution when visiting Les Halles and Gare du Nord during night time. King’s Cross and Soho should also be avoided during the night, when we are in London.
We shouldn’t carry all our money with us and it is better to bring the amount that’s sufficient for the day. We can be left penniless if our purse or wallet is stolen. It is always a good idea to rely on ATM cards while travelling. We should keep the bank’s phone number handy, if we our card is missing. This is a much more convenient option and ATMs can be found anywhere. Withdrawing money from these machines also provides us with better rates and we could avoid excessive charges. We should use ATM only in public, crowded areas. If we need to get the money at night, the machine should be well lit and there are many people nearby.
If we really need to use the ATM in isolated and quiet spot, we should take at least five minutes to observe the surrounding. We should make sure that there’s no one lurking nearby, ready to ambush any ATM user. If we spot someone suspicious, we should leave the area. We shouldn’t linger and wait for the person to go away, because this could also be rather unsafe. Sneak thieves and pickpockets love to target tourists in crowded areas. If we carry valuable documents, such as plane ticket, passports and others, we should keep them in belt bag. Women should also grip their handbags tightly, so it would be difficult for snatchers to take them away.
It is quite likely that we will be confronted by homeless, panhandlers and beggars. We shouldn’t engage them even in quick conversation. We should stay polite, but avoid contact with them. When meeting strangers, we shouldn’t participate in any game of chance, because it is likely illegal and designed to scam us.