We’re not saying bad things will happen to you on your next dive vacation, but we are saying they can happen. Savvy travelers, however, know how to prevent the preventable. Do you?
AT THE AIRPORT
- Pack as lightly as possible. Heavy baggage will slow you down and make you more vulnerable to pickpockets and thieves.
- Lock each piece of luggage. For soft bags, buy zipper locks.
- Keep in mind that thieves target expensive, designer luggage or bags that obviously contain expensive equipment like dive gear.
- Keep a list of serial numbers and photographs of your dive gear in case anything is lost or stolen.
AT THE TAXI STAND
- Only take a taxi from the line at airports where taxis are made to line up to pick up passengers.
- Confirm the fare to your hotel or resort before getting in the cab or handing the driver your bags.
- Do not take an unmarked taxi unless you are sure of its legitimacy.
AT THE DIVE SHOP
- Bring a lock for your gear locker and use it if possible. If your gear can’t be locked up at the shop, keep it in your room.
- Clearly label each item of your dive gear with your name in indelible ink. Much dive gear looks alike.
AT THE BEACH
- If you park your car for shore diving, don’t leave valuables in it. Leave your car unlocked so that potential thieves can see there’s nothing of any value inside without breaking a window. Don’t bring any extra gear or personal items you can’t take with you on the dive.
AT THE RESORT OR HOTEL
- If possible, get a room that is not on the ground floor. Ground-floor windows make these rooms more vulnerable to crime. Check all windows for locks.
- Whenever possible, ensure that your hotel room has a peephole, a deadbolt lock or a chain-and-slide bolt.
- If youtravel with valuables, put them in the hotel safe if available.
- Keep your room key concealed. Avoid displaying it in restaurants, at swimming pools, or in other public places where it can be viewed or stolen.
- Keep room numbers private. Avoid signing bar or restaurant checks with your room number.
- Do not advertise how long you will be away from your room. Leave on a light, TV or radio to give the impression that the room is occupied.
ON THE TOWN
- Walk with purpose and project an assertive and business-like image. Criminals will be discouraged if you do not appear vulnerable or easily intimidated.
- Don’t wear expensive jewelry and watches.
- Find out what parts of town locals consider risky and avoid them.
- When possible, travel with another person, particularly at night.
- Drunk tourists make easy targets. Go easy on the alcohol and designate one person in your party to stay sober, even if no one is driving.
- To prevent phone fraud, keep your long-distance telephone card number secure. Dial so that an observer will not overhear or observe your card number.
WITH YOUR MONEY
- Beware of pickpockets. They are often attracted to crowded places and often work in teams of two or three; one may create a distraction while the other one lifts your wallet. Be aware of someone who bumps, shoves or gets too close.
- Don’t tempt a thief by leaving your purse or wallet unattended. It only takes a second to grab it.
- Carry your purse close to your body, not dangling by the straps. Put your wallet in an inside coat or front pants pocket.
- Minimize the amount of cash you carry. Replace cash with travelers checks, which, once signed, are refundable if lost or stolen. Be careful, and alert when cashing travelers checks, or using a cash machine. Never let someone see how much money you have in your wallet, or where you keep your money.
ON THE BOAT
- Bring only the money you will need to tip the boat crew. Leave your wallet and any money that you don’t need in the room safe. If possible, carry tip money, your certification card and DAN membership card in a waterproof pocket belt.