When you’re in “holiday mode”, you may not realize how much you’ve let your guard down. Visiting any country has its dangers, and Spain is no different. Here are a few tips that will ensure your holiday doesn’t become a bad memory.
Spain is an amazing destination for relaxation, experiential travel, and for making lasting memories. Rich in culture and alive with flavours, it’s no wonder why Spain is one of the leading vacation hotspots worldwide. It’s a great experience getting to know the locals and learning about the Spanish heritage, but you also need to be aware of what is going on around you.
Some areas of Spain, like any country, tend to be populated with lower class or impoverished people who need to take desperate measures to feed their families and themselves, including stealing from you – the unknowing tourist. If you would like to help, it’s best to contact the Red Cross society for Spain, otherwise, here are a few tips to make sure you don’t become a victim.
- Leave expensive jewellery at home. If you simply must bring it along, then avoid wearing it to places where you really don’t need it, like the beach. Keep it in a locked safe in your hotel room.
- Don’t carry around large sums of cash. Most places in Spain will accept credit cards, which give you the security of being able to cancel them the moment you lose them (keep the phone numbers with you on a piece of paper so you can make that call quickly). Traveller’s cheques are also a safer option and are insured. For smaller vendors who only take cash, keep small amounts of cash on you and don’t place it in a common place for pickpockets to take from … in your sock or a hidden pocket inside a sleeve are good places.
- Try not to look like a tourist. You can always tell who they are … they’re the ones flitting about from one area to another armed with a map, itinerary, and a lost look on their faces. Plan out your day ahead of time so that you can simply walk around like an ordinary citizen, confident of your surroundings. Another option is to set up the map on your cellphone so you can glance at it when necessary … nobody thinks much of that. Just remember – cellphones can be stolen, too, so keep them secure in your hand or in a hidden and firmly closed pocket.
- If you are bringing a camera around with you, as any tourist is certain to do, keep it grasped firmly in your hand at all times, or try to find a way to keep it hidden. This may not be possible for larger cameras, so keep them in a camera bag that has a handle long enough to lay on your shoulder and across your body, diagonally to the opposite hip. This will makeÂ the bag more difficult to remove. Keep the bag, itself, in front of you where you can see it at all times.
- Don’t fall for scams! If you are renting a vehicle, make sure you always lock it up upon leaving it. A popular trick used to steal cars is to tell you that your tire is flat … once you leave the car to check it, the person then jumps in and steals your car. If you encounter a situation like this, pull over, but do not leave your car. Keep the doors locked and the windows up. If you have a cellphone, call the rental company or the police and explain the situation. They will come and look into it.
- Don’t travel alone. There is safety in numbers, so try to keep one or two people with you at all times.
- Handle your own luggage or allow hotel staff to carry it for you … never allow a driver (unless it is a hired driver) or a person off the street to carry your bags for you.
With a little common sense, a trip to Spain can be exciting and fulfilling.