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Safety and Security
 

Taxis, trains, buses and subways are great ways to travel while on vacation.  Maintaining your safety while using each mode of travel requires different precautions.  Read our recommendations to help insure your safety and security while traveling on these carriers.

 

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Travel Advice -  Safety recommendations for using taxis, trains, and buses   

We realize that transportation related safety recommendations are unnerving but they should not cause you to rethink your travel plans. The world outside your town is not that much different from the town outside your door.

Always be prudent at home and on vacation, whether your travel is domestic or foreign. We have designed our recommendations to help reduce the likelihood that you will become a crime target or, otherwise, have a bad experience while traveling.

  • Vigilance is the key to avoiding travel problems.
  • Just as you are watchful at home, maintain that vigilance during your travels and you will have a safe and satisfying vacation.

Transportation related safety and crime levels vary by country. Check to see if we have a Destination Guide for your travel destination. If so, we provide a section that describes any significant crime problems by location.

 

Taxi Safety

Taxi service is regulated in most countries.

  • Take only Taxis identified with official markings.
  • The driver should have official identification and the Taxi should be marked in a manner that identifies it as a taxi (e.g. fare light on the roof, a name on the side, etc.).
  • Riding in unauthorized taxis is risky and we recommend that you avoid doing so.

When looking for a taxi from your hotel, let the concierge arrange a taxi for you.

  • If the hotel does not staff a concierge, have the desk staff or owner call a taxi for you.
  • Dispatched taxis charge the same rates as other taxis but do tack on a service charge for the “arranged pickup”.

We recommend that you do not share a taxi unless you are familiar with the other riders. Remember, your main duty is to protect yourself and your traveling companions. If your refusal to join a cab hurts someone’s feeling, let it be.

Public Transportation

Note: We advise you to avoid using public transportation (bus, train and subway) during the morning and evening “rush hours” (7-10 AM and 4-7 PM), since these are the times when the potential for terrorism is the greatest.  These are, also, the times when users of these forms of transportation are targeted by pickpockets and petty thieves.

 

Train Safety

Trains and train station are a notorious for the presence of petty thieves and pickpockets.

  • Always be watchful of your possessions.
  • Theft of luggage while riders wait on the train platforms is one of the most common crimes reported by travelers.
    •  Most travelers have their attention focused on the monitor to track their train and look away from their belongings when they do so.
    • If you have to look away from your possession, try to keep you hands on your luggage.
      • Keeping you feet in firm contact with your bags is also a good strategy.

Once on board the train, store your luggage where you can see it.

  • Although most trains provide storage areas at the end of each car, it is impossible to monitor this area from most seats.
  • We recommend that you do not store your luggage out of sight in the luggage area at the end of the car, as your luggage may not be there when you leave the train.

If you are traveling, overnight and do not have a sleeper compartment, make sure that you or your traveling companions do not sleep at the same time you do, so one of you can keep an eye on your things.

  • If you are traveling alone, try to keep your valuables under you when you sleep.
  • Also, be sure to read the ThereArePlaces article on the use of money belts.

If you have a compartment, lock it. If it cannot be locked, follow the same advice as above about sleeping one at a time

Do not accept food or drinks from strangers on trains as they may be laced with a sleep potion designed to allow them to steal your belongings.

Bus  and Subway Safety

Busses and subways provide all of the same challenges as trains. Observe the same vigilance to protect yourself and your belongings.

Note:  We advise avoiding public transportation (bus, train and subway) during the morning and evening “rush hours” (7-10 AM and 4-7 PM), since these are the times when the potential for terrorism is the greatest.  These are, also, the times when users of these forms of transportation are targeted by pickpockets and petty thieves.

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