We have all heard about vacations that have turned into nightmares. Perhaps you have even been on one of those trips-gone-wrong, and now wish you’d been more alert, more inconspicuous, or even a little more suspicious of the people around you. Follow these tips on your next trip, and be a vacationer instead of a victim.

Get A Room
When you have the choice of several floors at your place of lodging, the second floor is usually the smartest choice. In many areas across the globe, fire truck ladders don’t reach beyond the third floor. In the event of a fire, the lower floors make escape much easier. Why not stay on the first floor? In volatile and crime-ridden areas, the first floor is the most prone to break-ins and looting.

Have A Few Ways Out
Pay close attention to the location of stairways and other fire exits as you find your room. You should know where your primary non-electric egress is located (the stairs closest to your room). Also, walk around a bit on your floor to find a second stairway or another exit. Never get in the elevator in the event of a fire, as the power could go out and leave you trapped inside.

Getting to know your room is a good idea in case you need an emergency exit, but it’s also useful for uncovering weak points where someone else might try to enter your room. Make sure to secure any windows or balcony doors.

Don’t Be A Target
There are several things you can do to reduce the bull’s eye on your back when traveling.

– Don’t look like a tourist. Dress to match the locals, keep the picture taking to a minimum, and don’t walk around with your nose buried in a map. Memorize the local layout, and only refer to the map in your pocket if you must.

– Hide your wealth. Wearing flashy jewelry and paying people from a big wad of cash are common ways that vacationers get targeted for mugging and robbery.

– Don’t answer the door. If you’re not sure who’s at the door, don’t open it. If someone is at your door claiming to be a hotel employee, call the front desk to see if it really is an employee trying to speak with you.

Had a scary trip or traveled through a dangerous place? Tell us about it in the comments.