In general we would like to advice: Don´t worry too much, but just be careful, this can already prevent many problems.
Some small advices that might also help you are:
- Before you go traveling, it can be very useful to make photos of your most important documents and send them to your mailbox, in case you get stolen from everything. If you arrive in a new country is is also useful to make a copy of the small entrance paper and the entrance stamp you got in your passport. This proves that you not only have a valid passport, but also that you arrived legal in the country.
- The biggest cause of getting stolen is usual that people are not careful enough: Always keep an eye on your own things! Never expect that another will do this for you if you didn´t ask him or her.
- Do not show too much with the valuable thing you carry around and don´t take too much valuable things with you if you´re going to explore the city. Leave things behind a lock in your hostel or somewhere hidden and/or locked in your backpack. One of the preventions for not getting robbed is when nobody knows that you have anything with you that´s worth stealing. A backpack that has HP written on the back, isn’t really smart...
- Use a fake wallet with about 20 US$ and an old banking card. You can give this away when you get robbed on the street (they might get angry if you don’t have anything at all to give...) and/or put one at an obvious place in your big backpack, so when it happens that someone gives your backpack a quick look in the dorm, he will find this wallet and hopefully stops looking for the real valuable things.
- In crowded places it´s better to carry your small backpack on your chest.
- Be careful with wearing jewelry if you´re going out on the street.
- If you travel with a digital camera, make sure that you make regular backups. If you have a 4 Gig. memory card big enough to store all the pictures of your 4 weeks journey and you lose this card, it gets wet, or dusty on the last day, you lose everything...
- If you take a taxi, it´s better to take one that you choose while it rides, one with clearly visible official signs, or even a radio. Better don´t take one that just stops next to you and asks if you need a ride. Also never get into a taxi that already has a person in it.
- Do not trust policemen (especially without a police car) who ask you to show your papers without a clear reason. Show them a copy and tell them that the original is in your hotel room or that you will only show it at the policy office. Most real policemen will not ask tourists on the streets for their papers (this counts for Latin America, but might be different in other parts of the world!)
- Don´t get tricked by distraction! This is one of the most common tricks to steal your wallet or even your backpack. Do not accept help when someone (or something) spills ´by accident´ something on your clothes. If you notice that something got spilled on you it is better to keep on walking, go to your hotel or enter a big not to crowded, public building, before you clean yourself.
- Watch out for a drug that´s called Scopolamine. This drug takes away your resistance and part of your memory, which means that someone can steal everything from you, you even help the person and after you don´t remember! It doesn´t happen often, but just be a bit careful with accepting food or drinks from a total stranger.
Please don't forget to always have a good travel insurance while traveling and/ or joining abroad. If you don't have an insurance yet, we can recommend you to have a look on: http://www.volunteercard.com/