One of the best things about exploring the Philippines is that it gives travelers a chance to meet new people. It’s often a positive experience, but of course it isn’t always so.
In December 2017, a British tourist shared a Facebook post wherein she recounted meeting a pair of “innocent old ladies” who invited her to join a climb on Mount Taal. She eventually invited them to explore the abandoned Fantasy World theme park nearby.
It was only when she had left the Philippines and was in another country that she discovered that one of her bank cards had been stolen. As a result, thousands of dollars had already been taken out of her Australian and English bank accounts.
Not everyone you’re going to meet in your travels is going to be like these two ladies. Nevertheless, it doesn’t hurt to be careful and mindful when meeting new people. Here are some travel safety tips for people visiting the Philippines for the first time:
Sure, it punctures any idealized notions you may have about the strangers you meet while traveling, but the truth is not everyone you meet will be trustworthy.
This doesn’t mean you distrust every person that you meet. Rather, wait until someone earns your trust before throwing in your lot with them.
Send a text message to your family or friends telling them where you’re going and who you’re with. Make sure someone back home has a copy of your itinerary and set-up a regular schedule of when you’ll update them.
Tell them when you meet new people, so if these people turn out to be untrustworthy, you have another person who can help you find them or report them to authorities.
Everyone’s enamored with traveling as cheaply as possible, but the corners you cut could end up making you vulnerable.
It may be cheaper to cobble together an itinerary with people you’ve just met but sometimes, spending a bit more on a reputable guided tour may be an investment well worth it.
If your hotel or hostel has lockers, then make use of them. Avoid bringing your cards or large amounts of money out when traveling.
When going out of your hotel or hostel, you don’t need to bring all your money or cards with you. Estimate how much you’ll need for the day and bring a little extra for emergencies.
Even if you aren’t actually feeling confident, it’s best that you learn how to look like you are. Looking like you don’t know what you’re doing draws untrustworthy people towards you.
When meeting new people, try to project an aura of confidence so they don’t mistake you as someone they can take advantage of.
By all means, go out to bars and party. But be mindful of how much you’re drinking, especially if you’re drinking with people you’ve just met.
The drunker you are, the less aware you are of what’s happening. Know your limits when it comes to alcohol so you don’t end up making yourself vulnerable to people with bad intentions.
Whether you’ve been mugged, injured or simply need assistance, knowing a country’s emergency numbers will be a great help. This is especially true if you don’t know anyone locally who can be of assistance.
This is more than just not flashing expensive gadgets like cameras or laptops. Technology improves by leaps and bounds, and so do digital ways to swindle or trick someone.
Don’t pull out your credit card or debit card at every opportunity, lest they end up being stolen and your accounts are emptied before you even know it.
If things go wrong and you end up losing not just money but important documents like your passport, your embassy will be the best place to seek help. Knowing how to get in touch beforehand helps you get help quicker and lessens the chance of someone using your documents for identity theft.
Photocopy or take photos of important documents like your passport and credit cards. Make sure that you have a hard and soft copy to that in event you lose them, or need them for help, you’ll have what you need.
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