The Clever Travel Companion Updates

Safety Tips for Young Solo Travelers August 31 2017, 0 Comments

This article originally appeared in the Independent SA.

As the popular saying goes: "In the School of Life, travel is the best teacher". 

Some of the world's more seasoned travelers have also said that the best way to challenge yourself and see the world while you're at it; travel solo. While all of this sounds great on paper, practically, it may not work out this way. 

The world can be a very dangerous place, especially if you're in another country, know no one there, cannot speak the language and find yourself in an emergency, this can be a harrowing experience. This is why every traveler must take the necessary precautions and prepare properly. 

Youth oriented travel agency "Contiki" specialises in curating experiences across various parts of the world. According to Kelly Jackson, general manager for Contiki, a lot goes into ensuring that the trips are safe even for young people that come alone, but want the experience. 

"The safety of our guests is always comes first. Being part of The Travel Corporation family of brands, and being a family-owned business, means that we operate with a ‘family first’ mentality. Just as you would go above and beyond for your nearest and dearest, doing anything to ensure their safety and happiness, that’s how we feel about our travellers.

"Sometimes incidents that occur that cannot be planned for. In 2016, the Calais ferry strikes meant that hundreds of Contiki travellers were unable to get either to Paris, or back to London. Yet whilst other companies left their travellers stranded, we don’t work like that" Jackson said. 

For young solo travellers, Jackson had the following tips: 

  • Always let your friends or family know your trip plans. At Contiki we provide our travellers with a duplicate list of hotels for this reason. Parents and friends can contact the hotels at any time to stay in touch.
  • There are Pickpockets everywhere. Pick pocketing and theft happen in every country around the world so just be sensible about this. People are naturally security conscious so don’t let this habit lapse when you’re travelling. Keep locks on your luggage and don’t carry too much cash on you (or your passport) when you’re out sightseeing.
  • Know how to contact local authorities in case of an emergency, and have the means at your disposal to contact them. Get yourself a local SIM card and stay in touch.

 

Jessica Clarke  brand manager of Busabout, an alternative travel company said it is important to keep alert when traveling. 

“Never let your usual sensibilities desert you. Keep your guard up in public places, be aware of pick pockets, know how to contact the Embassy, let family have a copy of your itinerary and be contactable – even if it’s only on Facebook,” Clarke said. 

Here's to your next solo trip. And always remember: SAFETY FIRST. 


Travel Safety Tips August 10 2017, 0 Comments

Everyone is aware of the danger pickpockets and thieves pose and how that danger is especially exacerbated when it comes to tourists and travelers. The consequences are greater for the victim and the theft itself has a higher success rate for the perpetrator. At Clever Travel Companion, our mission is to ensure travelers avoid the common pitfalls of not only theft and travel themselves but also the confusing number of safety options to consider as preparation, so that you can enjoy your adventure hassle free. 

We've compiled a comprehensive guide on complete travel safety covering everything from what to look out for, where to expect it, what to do if you do become a victim to how to avoid becoming one altogether.

We're going to look at some of the way pickpockets go about making their living off of innocent victims. In the below video, a reported from Travel + Escape spends a day with some professional pickpockets and learns how they go about making their living.

It is true that some of their methods are rudimentary and relatively basic but as mentioned, these guys make their living this way. Make no mistake, they are absolute professionals in their trade and can earn huge amounts of money, sometimes over $10,000 per day. So you see, it pays to get good at their trade.

Naturally there are a number of ways to protect yourself in such situations and tons of products on the market that claim to be 100% pickpocket proof. We personally believe a simple approach of remaining vigilant and not making an obvious target of yourself is a good start but concealed, secure, zipper pockets in places pickpockets wouldn't expect are a great way to keep the most valuable of valuables out of harms way. We'll look into this more further down.

Whilst pilfering peoples pockets on public transport is the most obvious and probably most basic method of pickpocketing, it can also be the most risky and perhaps least successful, especially for someone not so skilled. Of course, for such great earning potential, this has lead thieves to develop a huge number of different methods for relieving their victims of their hard earned valuables in all situations. Lets take a look at some of the most common below.

The above scams are prevalent worldwide despite being known as common in the regions mentioned, and are likely to target tourists and travelers only whilst they go about their vacation, sight seeing, walking, visiting landmarks etc... They can also take on a number of different forms and can be carried out by anyone. Be vigilant, thieves often operate in gangs and want to appear as non-suspicious as physically possible so don't assume that because your suspect is a child or elderly that they're not out to rob you.

Public transport theft

Public transport is a pickpockets playground. As you've seen in the above video, they dream of bustling train platforms and cramped carriages, busy buses and confused tourists. That doesn't mean to say you're safe in a private taxi, tuk tuk or at the airport though, some thieves are precisely the kinds of people you're forced to trust like taxi drivers - and when we say thieves, we don't just mean they'll have your iPhone out of your pocket. They can rob you in other ways, like incredibly over charged taxi fares.

This article on statistics for theft in London stands to prove the above point. The number #1 location by a long way is the London Underground.



You may also find yourself vulnerable to getting ripped off or robbed when simply shopping or using local services. These kinds of scams are more likely to indirectly leave you out of pocket than an actual thief helping himself to your your valuables but nonetheless, they are worthy of being aware of. They're also probably the most likely to catch you.



It probably goes without saying that as a tourist, you're not likely to be targeted by other tourists (although it has happened). Certain groups of up to no good locals can be found in every city in the world and are by no measure a representation of the rest of the city - but they do exist and they will target travelers. Europe's freedom of movement immigration policy has also made it very easy for people from lower income regions to go to popular tourist destinations and target locals and tourists alike so make yourself aware and knowledgeable of what you might expect. Be vigilant and be suspicious of over friendliness. There's no need to be grumpy or rude, but don't make yourself vulnerable either.



Accommodation is another area you might find yourself a victim. It's even been known for hotels booking online or over the phone to not exist at all! There have also been reported incidents of reception providing a room key on request to anyone claiming to be staying there. Be wary of any strange activity and always confirm details of room calls, advertisements, local companies and more with the front desk. Check up independent reviews of not just the hotel itself prior to visiting but also the area. Don't leave valuables lying around in your room and don't always trust safety deposit boxes, make sure you have a back up solution to hiding your personal items.


Top Pickpocket Locations? The London Underground! July 17 2017, 0 Comments

The London Undergound: for tourists, a must try experience widely featured as part of London and the U.K's unique culture. For Londoners, a love hate relationship. They love the convenience of being able to cheaply hop on and off regular trains spanning the entire breadth of the city yet hate the hustle and bustle, the cramped platforms and even more cramped trains and for some platforms, then there's the pickpockets.... 

UK insurance company Row has compiled a report outlining three of London's underground and over ground train platforms as the absolute worst for pickpockets and theft in the whole of the UK. More specifically, gadget theft.

The firm said that no less than 85 per cent of UK gadget pickpocket claims this year have cited Bank station as the location for the stolen item, followed by Victoria and Kings Cross.

The insurance company also reported Bangkok, Sydney and Barcelona as the top international locations for claims of stolen gadgets such as phones, cameras and tablets.

The firm has compiled a list of must-dos to avoid being pickpocketed, including carrying devices in zipped bags when not in use, keeping said bag in front of your body, taking cheaper devices on travels, and limiting the use of gadgets in busy places.

The company also – unsurprisingly – advises travelers to get their devices insured, citing deals from as little as 10p per month to cover the new Nokia 3310.

So keep your eyes on your valuables Clever Traveler's! One thing this insurance company wont be directing their claimants and customers to do is protect themselves from being pickpocketed in the first place rather than relying on a dubious insurance claim to return your lost goods. We're in the business of prevention! Pick up some Clever Travel Companion pickpocket proof gear today and make sure you don't fall victim!