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Staying Safe while At Port

  Tips Home >> Travelling Tips >> Staying Safe while At Port


 

What should I know about shore excursions and safety?
Your time at port can be your own or you can join a Cruise Line sponsored shore excursion. Wandering a port on your own can be a great way to get away from the crowd and immerse yourself in a new culture, but it will also present challenges.
Since everyone for miles just noticed the big white ship full of wealthy tourists coming in, your chances of blending in unnoticed are probably small. Even if you are traveling on a tight budget, the fact that you got off this ship labels you as wealthy, and compared to what you’ll find in most parts of the world, you are. This could place you in a dangerous situation, so you’ll need to be careful. The more you know about the specific port and country the better.
Doing a little research can greatly increase your safety. The less experienced traveler should consider the Cruise Line’s shore excursions. Although possibly more confining than wandering on your own, you might actually find more freedom to enjoy shore activities since you’ll know you’re safe. There are generally fees for ship sponsored shore excursions, so you’ll want to know those in advance so you can compare complete cruise packages.
How can I protect my safety while at port?
Do the research so you’ll know the particular risks you face.
If you haven’t left your valuables at home, leave them in the ship’s safe.
Don’t draw attention to yourself, avoid wearing flashy jewelry and don’t display large amounts of cash.
Where can I find information on issues that will effect my safety while I’m traveling?
travel.state.gov/travel_warnings.html
The U.S. State Department’s Travel Warning and Consular Information web page. This site contains detailed information on foreign countries’ entry requirements, safety, crime, medical facilities, traffic and aviation safety, customs, criminal penalties, and special issue information. It also includes contact information and web links to foreign Embassies and Consulate
www.odci.gov/cia/publications/factbook/country.html
The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency’s country listing section of the CIA’s World Factbook web page. This site contains extremely detailed information on foreign countries. Much of this information would be useful to the business traveler, but it also includes information that would be helpful to the tourist.


How can I avoid being the victim of a pickpocket?
Don’t travel in narrow alleys or poorly lit streets.
When possible, avoid having crowds of people surrounding you.
Carry a dummy wallet and put your money in your front pocket.
Place a rubber band around your wallet, it will make it much more difficult to remove from your pocket without your knowledge.
Carry your purse under your arm.
Carry your money under your clothes.
Know the pickpocket's tricks
What are some of the pickpocket’s tricks?
There are lots of situations that pickpockets use to create opportunities to relieve you of all that heavy cash. Be especially aware of your money when you find yourself in the following situations.
Getting bumped by someone else.
Having something spilled on you or someone pointing out a spot on your clothing.
Someone approaching you and asking for help or directions.
Someone causing a disturbance that draws everyone’s attention.
Being surrounded by a crowd, especially if you are surrounded by groups of children.
How can I avoid getting into trouble with the locals?
Know the laws and obey them.
Learn the customs and respect them.
Dress conservatively.
Remember that those of us in the United States are some of the most hurried people in the world. Not everyone in the world values the demands of a fast paced life. In fact, many think we are fools to spend our lives rushing around. You should try to respect the culture of others and follow their pace. You may find it frustrating to slow down, but you’ll probably find it even more frustrating when your attempts to hurry everyone else is met by an even slower pace.
Be careful when taking photographs. Many countries have restrictions against taking pictures of military or police operations or facilities. Taking photographs of public demonstrations can also be risky. If you have doubts, ask permission first.
Be courteous and respectful when taking photographs and/or observing cultural and religious events. Put yourself in their place. How would you like some improperly dressed tourist showing up and taking pictures at a family funeral just because they find the ceremony interesting? Again, if you have any doubts, ask permission first.
What happens if I get into trouble with the law while at port?
Don’t, you won’t have the same protections that you do in the United States. You’ll be under that country’s legal system, which may not have bail or the right to a speedy trial among other protections available in the United States.
If you are arrested, ask that the U.S. Embassy or Consulate be notified and ask to speak with their representative.
U.S. officials can help you to locate an attorney, secure supplies you might need and notify those back home of your trouble.
The U.S. Embassy or Consulate can only make requests on your behalf since they don’t have any authority to intervene in another county’s internal criminal matters.
Who can I contact if I get in trouble abroad?
usembassy.state.gov
The U.S. State Department International Information Program’s U.S. Embassies web page. This site contains links to U.S. Embassies and Consulates in foreign countries throughout the world. Each site is different, but they all contain information that would be helpful to a U.S. citizen planning on visiting the particular foreign country.
How can the U.S. Government help me if I get into trouble abroad?
travel.state.gov/acs.html
The U.S State Department’s Services and Information for American Citizens Abroad web page. This site contains links to specific information on services that the U.S. State Department can provide to U.S. citizens traveling abroad. It contains sections on emergency services, legal assistance and other aid available, in case of crisis, arrest, death or marriage aboard.

 


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