Who can you trust?
You Cannot Trust Every Single Person

Surprisingly, you can trust most people. The problem is that the ones you cannot trust look the same as everybody else. It's difficult to know who is who.

The trick is to reduce the number of people that you cannot trust.

  • The easiest way to do that is to not travel with things of value. I leave everything expensive, such as jewelry, at home. I don't bring anything along that I don't want to lose.

    Purse snatching is a real problem.

    • I dress down. No fancy clothes, jewelry or shoes. I don't say, "I'm rich! Steal from me!" with any fashion statement.

    • I travel with luggage and things that are less expensive. I advertise the fact I probably don't have anything that's worth stealing. This does a lot in keeping away people I cannot trust. Why should they bother with me?

    • I bring no expensive camera. A small $100-$200 Digital Camera is good enough for almost all travel photography.

    • I empty my wallet at home and bring only what I need. Driver's License, Credit cards, small address book (copies left at home) and so forth. I scan all the cards and copy them into a password protected Word document. I email this document to myself for instant retrieval worldwide.

    • If I do travel with anything of value, I keep them in a money belt, including passport, plane tickets, credit cards, extra money, rail passes, and old fashion travelers' checks.

  • I don't let any people see what I have in my luggage or money belt.

    • If I have to get in there, I go to the bathroom to do it or at least block their view.

    • Same thing with a rented car, I don't leave things in view or let people see what I have in the trunk.

    • What the less-than-trustworthy stranger doesn't know, helps me.

    • At the train station, I store the luggage in a locker or stored luggage service instead of walking around with it.

    • I buy food for a picnic from a nearby store so that I can stroll around with the plastic bag and look more like a local.

    • Ask the hotel if there's a guarded parking lot to park in. I did this all the time when I was traveling in Eastern Europe and Brazil and had no troubles.

  • I try not to stand out or look like an easy target.

    • I familiarize myself with the place I'm going to visit.

    • I learn some of the language, at least a few phrases.

    • I get on-line and read about where I'm going to visit.

  • I become aware of my surroundings.

    • I look out for changing situations around me.

    • I keep my eyes open.

    • I take in a country's ways. I don't let them take me in.

  • I try to look and behave like a local when traveling. I purchase a T-shirt of the neighborhood soccer (sports) team. I get the city newspaper and place it on the dashboard of my rental car.

      Walk confident, and thieves stay away.

    • I act confident, walk confident; I try to look as if I know what I'm doing.

    • Again, I use a plastic shopping bag obtained in a local grocery or drug store locally as my day pack. I want to blend in and look like someone doing the shopping.

    • People that I cannot trust won't bother with me then.

  • The next way to avoid the untrustworthy, is to simply stay away from big cities and places frequented by tourists.

    • I like back roads, mountain trails, remote beaches, small cities and smaller villages away from the maddening crowds.

    • Most cities and tourist traps I can cover in a few days.

    • So I'm in and out of the worst places for pickpockets and people I cannot trust. It's cheaper and a whole lot less stressful.

    • Some countries like Spain seem to have lots of pickpockets. So I tend to stay away from them.

  • If it's too good to be true, it probably isn't.

    • I treat everything I hear with skepticism.

    • People who can't be trusted need greedy people to cheat.

    • Honest deals are better than bargains for the most part.

  • If someone approaches me and wants to exchange money or give me a free tour, especially in tourist areas. I say, "No. thank you."

    • The operative word here is 'approach.' If they approach me, I'm on their agenda, which might not be so good.

    • However, if I approach them with an open question then it's usually a better situation.

    • I come up to people I think I can trust such as police, hotel employees and couples. Use common sense.

    • An exception to this, of course, is when hotel and pension operators come up, and offer room. This is usually legitimate. Check guidebooks for details.

    Most hotels have honest employees, but check  the bill.

  • I find that most hotel and restaurant people are good, helpful and true.

    • I cannot trust all of them. So I'm prepared.

    • I always check the restaurant and hotel bills.

    • Sometimes waiters will slip in items not ordered.

    • Hotels sometimes add extra mini-bar, long distance phone charges, and the like.

  • I am wary of organized guided tours.

    • Many tour guides will point me to shops that can have higher prices and a kick-back for the guides themselves.

    • I try to shop elsewhere. When I find the place to shop, it means I am in control.

    • I carry all my souvenirs in my luggage. I automatically start buying less of them.

  • Find out travel information from others on the road and ask the locals for any news about safety and scams. Who are operators they cannot trust.

      Talk to your fellow travelers to get the latest information.

    • Talk to other travelers about their experiences including any safety issues.

    • Ask Open Questions of the locals that can be trusted, such as a hotel operator or police officer.

    • Ask, for instance, "Is there anything I should be aware of in traveling around here?"

  • Finally, I remember to take any problems with thieves and scam, with a little optimism.

    • I can't protect myself and everyone and everything.

    • I will get ripped off sometime.

    • I relax and remember not to sweat the small things. It's all small things.



Who can you trust?

This is a hard question.

My answer is to reduce the number of people that I cannot trust by traveling inconspicuously and going to places that don't have problems.

And if I lose my wallet, I gain an adventure.


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