Tourists in many areas of the country have been targets in the last few years by those who prey on others. Southern states are well known for their hospitality and in fact Charleston, SC has been listed as the most polite city in the US for many years, but it always pays to be safe when traveling.
These tips also apply anywhere.
- Know how to contact emergency personnel. In most parts of the Southeast, like the rest of the US, 911 should do it.
- Try to select a hotel room between the 2nd and 8th floors. First floor rooms are more accessible to thieves and higher floors are harderr to evecuate in case of fire or other emergencies.
- If you must carry a bag, whether it's a pocketbook or camera bag, wear the strap on the opposite shoulder.You run the risk of being pulled down, but a snatch and run thief will probably just release the bag and take off. A bag that just hangs from your shoulder is an easy target.
- Don't travel with large amounts of money. Carry only what you need for the time you are out. Don't flash your money out in the general public. Try carrying a small amount of cash and/or travelers checks, an ID and maybe a couple of credit cards in a wallet. Carry the wallet in a front pocket. A money belt may also be a good idea. Travelers checks can be replaced if stolen.
- Leave the flashy and/or expensive jewelry at home. If you do want to have something nice for an evening out, keep it in the hotel safe when not with you. When you do go out, put it on at the last possible moment amd don't walk around with it showing.
- Maintain control of your luggage, purse, etc. Never leave these items unattended. It is not a good idea to carry luggage on public transportation. If someone grabs a bag and runs, you have to choose whether to let them go or abandon the rest of your luggage. Splurge on a cab.
- Be alert to your surroundings. Don't be afraid to cross the street if you are concerned. It may just let a potential robber know you are paying attention. If someone looks suspicious, assume they do not have your best interest in mind.
- But, don't be trusting of the well dressed stranger either. Remember what your mother told you about talking to strangers. Be wary of accepting invitations and never invite a stranger back to your room.
- Do not answer a knock on your door until you know who the person is. If they claim to work for the hotel, verify it with a quick call to the front desk.
- Travel in groups if possible.
- Avoid dark areas.
- If a robber ever approaches you, don't give resistance. Your life is not worth the money that you can always replace. However, if the criminal has something other than robbing you in mind, don't give in without a fight.
- If anyone ever tries to pull you into a vehicle, fight them. The situation rarely improves when it is moved to a secondary location.
- Always keep your car and hotel room locked, even if you are only stepping away for a moment.
- Know before you go. With the internet, research is so easy now. Find out which parts of town are most and least safe. Learn about possible cons and scams in the area. Remember, forewarned is forearmed.*
* "The Light of Nature Pursued" - Abraham Tucker, 1768