Tips for preventing theft while travelling

Tips for preventing theft while travelling

Travellers are unfortunately easy targets for pickpockets, particularly in touristy areas. The loss of valuables is distressing and can ruin what would otherwise be an enjoyable and relaxing vacation. But we can prevent ourselves from falling victim to thieves as long as we stay alert and do not let our guard down. 

Here are some tips to guard yourself against thefts!

1. Valuables – only the essentials

Items that are extremely precious to you, whether it is expensive pieces of jewellery or an heirloom, should be left at home. You will not want to catch the attention of thieves with your sparkling and pricey jewellery. Bring only the essential items, namely your passport, money, camera, mobile phone and the credit and debit cards you intend to use. 

2. Cash – separate them

Rather than placing all the cash that you have on hand in your wallet, place only a sufficient amount in your wallet for the day and keep the rest in a separate pouch or store them in different compartments of your wallet. You can also choose to split your cash with your travel companion or place them in hidden pockets in your clothing. That way, you are less likely to draw unnecessary attention when making purchases. 

3. Valuables that you will not use – store them

Do make use of the security safe if it is provided at your lodging. Use it to store valuable items that you are unlikely to use on the go, such as your laptops, tablets, camera lens, spare cash as well as your passport. Bring along a combination lock in the event that a security safe is not provided in your lodging and store your valuables in your suitcase and remember to lock it before you set off! For extra security, you may consider burying your valuables with dirty clothing in your suitcase before you lock it.

4. Day bags – go for zipper closures

Your day bag for travelling should be large enough to store items that you will need on the go and have enough inner compartments for you to organise your belongings. But it should also be sufficiently small and discreet such that it does not attract unnecessary attention. Whether you prefer a cross-body bag or backpack, the day bag you pick should have a zip closure so that your valuables are not left exposed.

Avoid bags with drawstring or flap closures as they give pickpockets easy access to belongings in your bag. Those who want to carry backpacks should also consider locking their bags for added security. 

5. Dressing and mannerisms – not like a tourist!

Appear like a tourist – let your camera hang around your shoulder, look lost, open your maps in the middle of the street and speak loudly – and you will catch the attention of pickpockets. Blend in with the local community and you are less likely to be a target of thieves. Dress appropriately and be mindful of local customs in the destination you are visiting so that you do not end up standing out. Keep your camera away if you are not using it and avoid opening maps in the middle of the street – head to a corner if you need to look up directions or approach a local!

Appear calm and confident when on the go, even if you are lost. You may want to plan your itinerary in advance and seek advice on directions from locals you meet, be it the receptionist at your accommodation or service staff at stores. You are less likely to be identified as a tourist when you appear to know your way around.

6. Be alert

Stay vigilant, be mindful of your surroundings and keep your belongings close to you wherever you go. Take extra care when you are in crowded and touristy places as pickpockets are likely to be lurking around and waiting for unsuspecting tourists to prey on. Avoid areas that are dark, secluded and poorly lit as they are perfect conditions for skillful thieves to work in. 

Do not leave valuables exposed and be wary of strangers who approach you. Pickpockets may not necessarily appear like pickpockets and they can work in teams to distract preys in an attempt to run off with their valuables. 

When dining out or taking public transport, do not place your bags on the floor or leave them unattended. Your bags may be taken away when you are not paying attention to them. Either carry your bag or place it on your lap and keep an eye on it – do not give pickpockets a chance to take your valuables away!

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Food safety tips when travelling

Food safety tips when travelling

Many of us love to sample new foods during our travels. In the midst of all that indulgence, it is all too easy to forget food safety and the risk of contracting foodborne illnesses, which can ruin our holidays by sending us on seemingly endless trips to the restroom. But foodborne illnesses are preventable if we exercise care and caution with the food we eat. 

Here are some tips for a safe and indulgent adventure abroad!

1. Avoid tap water

Depending on the country you visit, tap water may not be safe for consumption as it may be contaminated by viruses and bacteria that can cause diseases. Water that has been contaminated can make you ill, even if consumed in small amounts. Stick to bottled water where possible and drink only beverages that are served piping hot, such as coffee or tea. Avoid having ice cubes in your beverages as it is likely that they were made from tap water. 

2. Avoid raw foods

Again, this is largely dependent on the country that you visit. For countries where tap water is not safe for consumption, raw foods which include salads and undercooked vegetables should be avoided as it is likely that tap water had been used to wash the vegetables. Other raw foods that should be avoided are raw or undercooked meat, seafood and eggs as well as unpasteurised dairy products, whether it is milk or cheese.

3. Eat food that is piping hot

If you are visiting a country where foodborne illnesses are prevalent, you should be eating foods that are served piping hot when dining out. This is because high temperatures will destroy the germs and bacteria that can make you ill, such that the cooked food you eat is safe for consumption. You should also take extra care when ordering street food – only order from a vendor where food is prepared on the spot, not to mention in a hygienic manner. 

4. Fruits 

You can still enjoy the goodness of fruits when you travel – stick to fruits that can be peeled and do not require washing before consumption. Germs are highly unlikely to get into fruits that can be peeled. Such fruits include oranges, bananas, mangoes, kiwis and melons. If you insist on washing your fruits before eating them, use bottled water to do so.

5. Go with the flow when eating out

This may sound counter-intuitive but when in doubt, dine at eateries that are packed with patrons, especially in countries where foodborne illnesses are prevalent. Eateries that are crowded are less likely to serve foods that will make you ill or they would not even be frequented by patrons. If you are looking to have street food, head to vendors with plenty of customers – it is unlikely that food served by popular vendors have been sitting for many hours around though it is always good to check. 

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5 Essential Tips for Solo Travellers!

5 Essential Tips for Solo Travellers!

Travelling alone is not always sad and mopey and pathetic. It can be a joy because there’s just no one you’ve got to accommodate, no one you’ve got to please. You’re just you and you can do whatever you please (sounds good?). But then again, without knowing what you can do, you’ll not be able to enjoy a nice trip. So here’s another 5 tips for you!

1. Talk to The Locals

It’s easy. Just walk up and say hello. The worst that can happen is you’ll get ignored, or laughed at. The best? You could make a new friend and gain valuable insider knowledge about wherever you are. Locals are always the ones who know the area the best, and may or may not lend you a helping hand when you need it. Solo travellers tend to end up with so many more friends than if they were to travel in a group.

2. Try New Things

There are many things in foreign countries that are fun for solo travellers. You just got to be daring! Try things you wouldn’t try at home (as long as they’re safe). Whether it’s horse riding or quad biking, or something more extreme like scuba diving or skydiving, if it’s something you’ve always wanted to do then go ahead and book it in. However, don’t forget to make sure your guide/teacher understands you (and vice versa) and ensure the experience is safe.

3. Safety First

Perhaps the foremost concern of the solo or single traveler is safety. Without a companion to watch your back, you are more vulnerable to criminals and scam artists, as well as simple health worries. So be careful, know the emergency numbers of the country you’re heading to. 

4. Opt For a Home Stay

Home stay is pretty common when you travel alone. AirBnb offers breakfast and bed with a local host in the country you’re visiting. Staying overnight in a local’s home can be frightening but  it is insightful at the same time. You won’t even feel alone, and you can also learn about the culture and community of the country. It’s like killing two birds with a stone! AirBnb hosts are always ready to host.

5. Local Meals

If you’re afraid of staying over at a stranger’s home, then you can opt for another option, which is to have a meal with the locals. You don’t have to worry about staying over, all the inconvenience you’re afraid of are dispelled if you share a meal with the local host. You can also learn about the culture and community of the country without having to stay over! BonAppetour hosts are always ready to welcome travellers for a hearty meal.

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Women Travellers: Travel Tips

Women Travellers: Travel Tips

Traveling with a group of girlfriends is the best feeling ever. Imagine running for buses and strolling through the designer streets of Italy. Everything can be fun but don’t forget to plan well and learn some tips for group travel! 

Here’s 5 basic tips for women travelling:

1. Save Emergency Contacts

In any situation and in any country, keep yourselves informed of the emergency contacts. It’s something really simple and important, yet neglected by most travellers. Here’s a list of contacts that may come in handy for you when you plan your trip with your friends! 

2. Don't Be Shy

Even though you may be travelling as a group, but don’t be shy. Speaking with other travellers or the locals is a great way to get some interesting travel tips. Hostels are a great way to meet new travellers, so make it a point to hang out at the lounge areas or the bar with your fellow hostel mates. Where possible, ask the locals for recommendations on where are the good places to eat, or which area of the neighbourhood should you go to. The receptionists at your hostel/hotel, your Airbnb hosts, the owner of the sandwich shop at the corner of the street or event the bartender at a nearby bar would definitely have some great tips. 

Immersive cultural experiences 

Make it a point to immerse yourself in cultural activites happening in that city. Food or street festivals like the Carivale in Venice or the San Giovanni festivals around Italy are occasions where the locals come out to celebrate, and joining in the celebrations can make you feel like a part of the city. Be careful of the large crowds though – and stick close together with your group. Apart from major festivals happening while you are there, try out dining with locals at their homes instead. Being invited to a dinner party at a local home is one of the most intimate ways of experiencing life from a local perspective, and of course, a great way to feast on local cuisines with your girlfriends as well. 

3. Do the Walking Tours

Italy may be a little huge and intimidating for some travellers, especially when you could have heard about the occurrences of con men/women that may be waiting for the perfect opportunity. But fear not, instead of joining a huge tour group that you may be stuck with the entire duration of your trip, you can always join the walking tours. Walking tours let you kill two birds with one stone, and it’s much safer, even for group of women. 

4. Manicures

Something that is second to shopping, girls always look out for beauty salon. Manicures are famous and prevalent in Italy, especially in Florence. Perhaps you might have heard of the horror stories about getting your nails done in Italy, where there are chances of ending up with bloody cuticles. But fear not, there are places in Florence, Italy that serve customers well and leave you satisfied with perfect nails! Istituto di Bellezza Genny brings you a soothing and relaxing manicure! 

5. Shopping

Chain Stores and Mainstream Shopping in Rome
Via del Corso, and the streets that radiate from it, is the most obvious shopping area. The mile-long street which runs from Piazza Venezia to Piazza del Popolo has a range of afforadble shops, including the Ferrari flagship store, numerous shoe stores, popular fashion brands like Diesel and Benetton.

Going out with a group of girls, this is something that can never be missed out. Yes, it’s shopping! Here’s a list of areas to shop, from high end to mainsteam to flea markets in Rome.

Looking for High Fashion in Rome?

Some of the biggest names in Italian fashion – Fendi, Valentino, Bulgari – hail from Rome and you will find their flagship stores, as well as boutiques by Prada, Armani, Versace, Ferragamo, Cavalli, Gucci, and many others, along the grid of streets near the Spanish Steps

Flea Markets
There are several good outdoor markets, flea markets, and places to buy antiques in Rome. Porta Portese, which operates on Sundays from 7am until 1pm, is the most important flea market in Rome and is one of the largest flea markets in Europe. At Porta Portese, you’ll find everything from antique housewares to secondhand clothing and music to original art, jewelry, posters, furniture, etc. It is the perfect place to find random trinkets with your friends and bring them all home!

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