Rules to follow in your room
Be sure there are smoke detectors, up-to-date fire extinguishers and good lighting. Know where emergency exits are.
- Keep doors and windows locked at all times.
- Ask for ID from anyone knocking on the door, including room service and maids.
- Stay alert. Look around at workers and other guests. Any strange behavior can be a warning sign. This is called "situational awareness." People let their guard down when they travel, and criminals know it.
- Use ATMs that are in busy, well-lit locations and be sure no one is watching you. Protect your personal identification number by covering the keypad. Don't throw your receipt away near the ATM and don't flash your cash.
Help at home
Some of your best security might be thousands of miles away at home. Designate a friend or relative as a frequent contact. Leave a copy of your travel itinerary, including hotel names and phone numbers. Give him or her copies of important documents, including your passport data page, credit cards, medical insurance and other health information, and access to funds in case you need cash in an emergency.
Carry a cell phone or smartphone with you at all times. If yours is incompatible with GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) or you don't want to pay expensive international roaming charges, rent a phone before you leave that will have service at your destination. TravelCell.com and Cellular Abroad are good places to start.
An iPhone application called IcePics (In Case of Emergency Pictures) is a personal security app, allowing users to quickly snap and e-mail a photograph with the touch of one button in a potentially threatening situation. The photo and GPS location, which includes a link to a Google map of where the photo was taken, are automatically e-mailed to contacts preselected by the user.