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Latin America Travel & Tour Information

Whether walking the streets of London or the streets of Lima, there are certain precautions you must take to aid your chances of an incident free vacation. Latin American countries tend to have unfounded negative characterizations of safety and security, when in fact many countries in the region are no more dangerous than many first world countries. Physical assaults and violent crime is rare in Latin America, and if crime exists it is mainly petty theft. They key is not to put yourself in positions which could attract crime or incident.

Before you leave

Research the country you are going to. Many country governments, such as Australia and the U.S provide a travel warning website for their citizens. Leave as much information about where you will be traveling, what you will be doing and what hotels you will be staying at with someone at home.

Seek information locally

When you arrive at your destination it is advisable to consult local, taxi drivers, hotel staff, and other tourists about the safest ways to move around and if there are areas in which you may wish to stay clear of. They may also be able to offer advice on recently publicized street scams.

Seek safe accommodation

Knowing that you are staying at a hotel with rigid safety standards is a must. The hotel or hostel you stay at should at least be able to provide you with access to a safety box, and it is even better if you are able to keep the key or set your own security code. If backpacking take along your own lock and key, as some hostels will provide lockers but not always the locks to secure them.

When walking the streets

Wearing or carrying items which may identify you as an affluent tourist can be a mistake. You shouldn't pack anything that you would be upset to loose. Leave expensive jewelry, watches and other items of value at home and only carry what you need. That goes for credit cards and other documents as well; if you have no need for them leave them behind in the hotel safe, only take what money you are likely to spend with you.

You should always keep a copy of your passport on your person; the original is better off in the hotel safe. Utilizing a money-belt or sowing pockets into under clothing is great for concealing money and documents when traveling. Just remember temptation is an evil best to be prevented, never flaunt your wealth in public and keep valuables out of site even in your hotel rooms. Always keep your belongings in sight, a handbag over the back of a chair in a restaurant is an invitation for it to be stolen.

The bottom line

Your instincts are your best form of crime prevention, avoid dark and isolated areas, take taxis home at night and keep in groups. Be wary of people acting suspicious or paying particular attention to you especially in crowded areas. Pickpockets are especially skilled at distracting your attention away from your valuables and many work in groups.

Over worrying about your security can distract from your vacation. It is important to take the precautions as well as realizing that the vast majority of people who visit Latin America enjoy incident free travel.
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