As certain parts of Northern Africa become more and more volatile from political upheaval, the US State Department is issuing travel advisories for many areas on the continent, including some areas considered stable. For instance, this past week saw the US Embassy in Tanzania releasing a set of Personal Safety Reminder and Tips in response to a rise in opportunistic crime aimed at foreigners and expats. Some of their recommendations include:
- Be alert.
- Minimize your exposure and therefore your risk of becoming a victim of crime.
- Do not carry a bag when walking on the street, either day or night.
- Use all available security equipment (locked doors, windows, alarms).
- Trust your instincts.
- If you see something unusual, leave the area, seek out a safe location, and report the matter to authorities.
- Be wary of those who offer unsolicited help or service.
- When driving, always leave yourself room to maneuver around an obstacle. Do not permit other cars to block you in.
- Keep emergency numbers programmed into your cell phone.
- Ensure your cell phone is with you at all times, turned on, and charged.
- Travel in groups during daylight as much as possible.
There is a lot more information on the Embassy’s website, including advice against carrying credit and debit cards when out in public. While this advice was issued in response to specific events in Tanzania, they are invaluable to travelers in all risky geographic locations.