Whether you’re a first time tourist or a well seasoned traveler, there is always a concern for safety. Quito, especially, can be an overwhelming city because it is so huge and the traffic- is a topic for another blog. Let’s not forget to mention all those travel pamphlets you’ve been reading up on about the capacity for danger on your travels.
Regardless of what you’ve read or heard, you are a lot safer than you think. Often, your safety depends on you and the decisions you make.
If you look like a million bucks, you are asking to be robbed. Do not carry around your iphone, ipad, laptop, and wear expensive clothing.
Try not to take large amounts of money from the ATM. Try to take a good amount of cash with you and lock it up when you get to your destination. Then, only carry small amounts with you daily.
Tip #1: Flaunting your money is the one thing you DO NOT want to do.
PUT YOUR FOOT DOWN
If someone tries to rob you, give them what they want with no hesitation. Sound familiar?
But what if you did the opposite?
Recently my friend from Denmark was on a bus in Quito. The buses in Quito are super crowded so its an easy target for robbers. The robber tried to cut into her backpack which she was holding on her side. Once she saw what he was doing, she screamed obnoxiously. The robber freaked out and ran off the bus. He was more scared than her!
Remember criminals are humans too. They aren’t born without fear.
Keep in mind, though, there were plenty of people around her to help. If there is no one around when you are threatened, submit.
Robbers really want your stuff, not your life.
Tip #2: If you must carry a bag or purse, tuck your wallet between your hip and your pants and do the same with your cell phone. So if you do get robbed, you still have money, communication, and your life.
HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOR
Say something bad does happen – you get lost, you get into a heated argument with a taxi driver, or even if you do get robbed – it’s all an experience. I am sure you will laugh about it later.
On their first day in Quito, my American friends were trying to find their way back home from school. A Dutch man, who was staying with the same host family as my friend, was helping them. He spoke very little English and very little Spanish. My friends spoke very little Spanish. But Spanish was the only common thread between all of them.
Tip #3: Language barriers can be – and will be – frustrating. Learn simple phrases before you leave. You will save yourself time and money.
Anyway, of course they got lost. Once the Dutch man realized they were way off course he began to say a Dutch word that sounded like “Fixed Pound.” My friends shook their head and wrinkled their foreheads in confusion. The Dutch man began to move closer and closer to their faces and yelled the word louder and louder, “Fixed Pound! Fixed Pound! Fixed Pound!” Because it’s our universal, natural instinct to think that speaking louder will make people understand us right?
It wasn’t until he pulled out his translator – which he forgot was in his pocket the whole time – that my American friends realized he was saying “Full stop.”
Eventually, they made it home. To this day, they wouldn’t have chosen to start their trip any other way. Every time they tell the story , they double over in laughter. Memories like this are better than any souvenir you could buy.
Have you ever been in a sticky situation during your travels? Share it with us!