Millions of people travel each year to the Orlando area and have a wonderful time. However, as with any tourist destination, crime is a fact of life, so it is important that you take some actions that can help prevent you from being a victim. While there are thousands of safety tips I’d like to give you, here are my top 10.
1) “Use Common Sense” Do not stay in any situation that makes you uncomfortable, trust your instincts. Keep your hotel doors and windows locked, and car doors locked. Do not open the door to your room without first verifying who is there. If they say they are a hotel employee, call the front desk and confirm whether someone is supposed to be there and for what purpose.
2) Do not draw attention to yourself by displaying expensive jewelry or large amounts of cash, and keep your room key with you, but out of sight. Place all valuables in the motel safe deposit box. Better yet, do not even bring large amounts of cash – use traveler’s cheques or a credit card, and bring the numbers to call in the event they are lost or stolen.
3) Avoid contact with wild animals and do not feed any wild animal. Be aware that alligators may inhabit any body of water in Florida.
4) Dress children in bright colors, and teach them rules of safety beforehand, and how to find help if you should become separated. Never leave children unsupervised, especially at the pool or beach.
5) Be aware of your surroundings, stay in well-lit areas, and use the main entrances.
6) Blend in as much as possible. Walking around with a camera around your neck and a guidebook in your hand advertises your tourist status and may make you a mark for thieves. Try to be discreet.
7) Scan your passport and travel documents and e-mail them to yourself. That way, if your documents are lost or stolen you can easily access copies from your e-mail. Leave a copy of your itinerary with someone at home, but don’t share details of your travel plans with others you meet while traveling.
8) Exercise particular caution when in crowds, markets or on public transportation. Pickpockets can be very crafty and sometimes work in pairs – one person will distract you while another takes your wallet. Thieves may also use razor blades to cut purse straps or to slit the purse, take valuables or the whole purse, and escape in a crowd.
9) Try to seem purposeful when you move about. Even if you are lost, act as if you know where you are going. Try to ask for directions only from individuals in authority.
10) Do not accept food or drink from strangers. Criminals have been known to drug food or drink offered to passengers.
If you have a safety tip, or would like to share a particular story about your safety while staying in the Orlando area, please leave a comment. From time to time, we will post other safety tips, so check our blog often. Have fun – and stay safe!