The Clever Travel Companion Updates

10 Surprising Risky Destinations - According to the State Department January 16 2018, 0 Comments

The U.S. Department of State recently assigned every country in the world a "travel safety rating". The safest places are ranked Level 1, while the places that Americans are advised to avoid are considered Level 4:

travel safety department of state ratings 

Many tourist-frequented countries were highlighted for travel safety concerns as Level 2, meaning Americans should “exercise increased caution” and “be aware of heightened risks to safety and security.” Many of the advisories stem from threats of terrorism, while others are due to crime or weather.

Surprising Countries with Level 2 Travel Safety Ratings

Here are some countries you might be surprised the State Department gave a lower travel safety rating to, and why the agency says you should exercise caution when visiting them.

Denmark

“Exercise increased caution in Denmark due to terrorism,” the travel advisory states. “Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Denmark. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning.”

Belize

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“Exercise increased caution in Belize due to crime,” the travel advisory states. “Violent crime, such as sexual assault, armed robbery, and murder, is common. Local police lack the resources to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents.”

France

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“Exercise increased caution in France due to terrorism,” the travel advisory states. “Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in France. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning.”

Antarctica

Antarctica research ship cruise

“Exercise increased caution in Antarctica due to environmental hazards posed by extreme and unpredictable weather,” the travel advisory states. “The U.S. government is unable to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Antarctica.”

Italy

Italy warnings and dangers

“Exercise increased caution in Italy due to terrorism,” the travel advisory states. “Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Italy. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning.”

The Bahamas

(Photo: Shutterstock)

“Exercise increased caution in The Bahamas due to crime,” the travel advisory states. “Violent crime, such as burglaries, armed robberies, and sexual assault, is common, even during daylight hours and in tourist areas. U.S. government personnel are not permitted to visit the Sand Trap area in Nassau due to crime.”

The United Kingdom

“Exercise increased caution in the United Kingdom due to terrorism,” the travel advisory states. “There is also a risk of isolated violence by dissident groups in Northern Ireland, focused primarily on police and military targets.”

Germany

Cologne, germany

“Exercise increased caution in Germany due to terrorism,” the travel advisory states. “Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Germany. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning.”

The Maldives

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“Exercise increased caution in Maldives due to terrorism,” the travel advisory states. “Terrorist groups may conduct attacks with little or no warning … Attacks may occur on remote islands which could lengthen the response time of authorities.”

Spain

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“Exercise increased caution in Spain due to terrorism,” the travel advisory states. “Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Spain. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning.”


Planning Your Student Holiday on a Budget December 31 2017, 0 Comments


Financing your travel plans when you are a student is a case of planning and organization. But it’s perfectly possible to have an amazing trip, without having to live off of canned food the entire time you’re away. Budgeting for your next big trip starts here, you’ll just have to decide where you’re going, and what to pack. It's really worth investing in an anti-theft device for your travels. After saving and planning your trip, it's important to keep your money and valuable possessions, such as passports and cameras safe. 

Part time work and student loans 

Getting a student loan and part time work is the most common way of raising money for a student holiday. Be strict with yourself and try and put by a set amount every month, and you will soon find that a little regular amount becomes enough to have a trip away. Using your leisure time to earn a little money will also mean that you’re not out spending it. Research how much it is going to cost for travel and accommodation and then factor in spending money. Give yourself a goal to save for and you can make sure you have enough for your dream trip. 

Volunteering holidays
 

Combining your holiday with a volunteering is a great way to see the world and also making a difference to other people’s lives. You could be helping to improve community buildings in Cuba, or teaching English to children in Peru. There are some amazing student volunteer programmes that will allow you to get away and do something incredibly rewarding and fulfilling at the same time. Often there is lodging in bunkhouses, so you will be sure to make some like-minded new friends. 

Take the bus 

If you want to see America, taking the bus is wonderfully cheap. The Greyhound (a.k.a The Dirty Dog) covers the entire country and is a great way to travel across such a diverse county. There are some good discounts for students that will help you to budget for travel. If you want to go off exploring, The Greyhound will store your luggage for you for 24 hours, allowing you to get out and about, without worrying about carrying around heavy bags. You can easily camp your way around the U.S.A with a bus ticket and a small tent. 

Become a house sitter


Becoming a house sitter means that you won’t have to pay for your accommodation, plus you will be helping someone that needs to know that their home is secure and looked after while they are away. No money is exchanged for services, but you will have somewhere to stay for free. Often you will be responsible for looking after pets, and doing small jobs, such as watering the plants and looking after the garden. You will have plenty of free time to explore the area which you are staying in. Plus house sitting can take you all over the world, you will just need to cover your travel costs and spending money. 

Going on holiday when you’re a student needn’t cost the earth. You can see the world on a budget and still have an amazing time.


Video shows just how easy it is to be pickpocketed this Christmas December 11 2017, 0 Comments

The above video highlights just how easy it is to become the victim of pickpocketing - especially as the high streets, shopping centres and malls get busier in the festive period.

The clip, released by Nationwide building society, a UK Bank, aims to warn people to be more vigilant as they go about their festive shopping this year.

The social experiment was performed by expert pickpocket and entertainer Lee Thompson.

Lee, who advises the police on street theft techniques, said: “Unfortunately pickpocketing is very common, especially in areas where crowds gather and people are distracted.

"A good pickpocket understands human psychology and knows people can only direct their attention to one or two things at a time."

There were 442,000 "theft from persons" offences in the year ending June 2015 in England and Wales alone.

Nationwide polled just over 2,000 street theft victims and found that mobile phone theft accounted for 15% of all incidents with the average value of each loss totalling £221 (approx $300).

Apple's iPhones tops the thieves' wish list, followed by other brands, such as Samsung.

The survey also found trouser and coat pockets are the most common place to steal from, accounting for 34% of incidents.

Bags worn over the shoulder or on the back accounted for 26% of incidents while theft from a bag on the floor or table came in at 18%.

Two thirds of victims (66%) were with someone else or a group; a third (32%) were on their own.

Just 19% of culprits were caught, with four in ten victims (40%) not going to the police because they either didn’t think the thief would be caught (25%) or couldn’t be bothered to report it (9%).

According to those surveyed, London was the most common place for pickpockets to operate with Manchester coming in second, Birmingham third, Glasgow fourth and Leeds fifth.

Dan King, Nationwide’s Head of the Current Accounts, said: “Christmas and sales events like Black Friday or Cyber Monday are a perfect opportunity for criminals to fill their festive wishlist.

"At this time of year people tend to carry more cash on them, making it really easy and lucrative for pickpockets to operate.

"Mobile phone thefts make up a large percentage of all property stolen on the streets and it's not just the phone itself that is valuable, but also the personal data it contains."

Lee's Top Tips to Avoid Pickpockets

Be vigilant - if you suspect someone is following you, stop what you are doing and walk in a different direction.

Don't look like a tourist - pickpockets love tourists because they often carry lumps of cash and are not paying attention.

Travel light - leave any unnecessary valuables in your hotel room or at home.

Don't wear clothes that make you stand out - High end clothes, expensive jewellery or watches make you a walking advertisement for a pickpocket. The Clever Travel Companion range is perfect for this with it's plain aesthetic and secure zipper pockets. 

Don't advertise - if you have to travel with your valuables, keep them out of sight as much as possible.

Cash machines - use well-lit cash machines at a reputable building society or bank.

Secure your backpack - rucksacks are an easy target for pickpockets. Make sure they are securely fastened and secure valuables in your front pockets or a money belt. Keep your bags in sight at all times.