Only 6 more days until we’re on a plane bound for Ecuador and we couldn’t be more excited. This is the jumping off point from where the whole Maverick Expedition begins. Quito, Ecuador is the portal to the Galapagos and it is on Floreana island that we’ll collect our batch of letters to be hand-delivered around the globe.
As we’ve spent the last few days researching Quito and finding accommodations, there’s been one warning that has resounded across the world wide web: Quito is infamous for its muggings and thieves. There are stories plastered over the internet of people being robbed at gunpoint, travelers having their cameras and jewelry stolen off of them, and even taxi drivers robbing their patrons. Are we worried? Not really. I think the most worrying factor is that some people travel with expensive jewelry, however, it makes a good point that you can never be too safe while traveling.
We know that petty crimes are just a risk of international travel and that it’s something that everyone should be prepared for. We feel like we’re a little out of the game since we’ve spent the last two years in Korea. Apart from the looming threats from the north, Korea is probably one of the safest places on the planet. No killings, muggings, or even guns for that matter. It is for that reason that we’re revisiting our previous methods of safety.
A few tricks that we’ve learned over the years to help keep ourselves and our belongings safe.
1. Dummy Wallet.
Most travelers know that it’s never a good idea to keep all of your money in your wallet. If you’re ever in the position where that wallet is lost or stolen, you are S.O.L. my friend. What we’ve learned to do in places where the rate of theft and muggings are high is to carry around a dummy wallet. This usually consists of a wallet filled with a few dollars in cash and some expired credit cards. This is a good way to avoid any dangerous confrontations. If someone is demanding your money, simply hand over your dummy wallet and go on your way. You’ll only lose a couple of dollars at worst, and you’ll walk away with the remainder of your money and your safety. Remember, this doesn’t mean that you should walk around flaunting your dummy wallet in order to get mugged. It’s just an extra precaution.
2. Disperse Your Dough.
It’s never a good idea to keep all of your valuables in once place. Make sure you carry some necessary cash in you wallet, put a couple in your dummy wallet, and then hide a couple of stashes in your suitcase or backpack. Write yourself a little note so that you’ll remember where everything is. If you’re traveling with multiple bags, stash a little cash in each one. Take it from us, when Tawny left her money holder deep in the amazon jungle, she had her fall-back hidden cash to last her the week it took for her wallet to be returned.
3. ILA Door Wedge.
This is something we had never thought of until our we heard a horror story from our friends who were traveling through Nepal. A couple of our friends were fast asleep in their Kathmandu hotel room when someone gassed them underneath their door. When they awoke, they found all of their money, passports, and cameras were missing. They were drugged, and the intruders just waltzed in through the door. Our friends suspect that it was an inside job since whoever came in obviously had a key. This is where the ILA wedge door alarm comes in. The wedge will not only make it extremely difficult for anyone to enter your room, but it will also alert anyone in close proximity with a deafening alarm. If it doesn’t get your attention, it’ll be sure to attract your neighbors and the hotel staff, as well as scare off anyone that was trying to break in. ILA also offers key rings that belt out the same alarm and is extremely portable. You can take a look at all the ILA safety gear here.
4. Follow Your Instincts.
Your instincts are there for a reason and it could be the difference in entering a dangerous situation or not. If something’s telling you not to walk down that alley by yourself, or to put your money in a different location, you should listen. More often than not, you’re feelings of uneasiness are correct. Give yourself more credit and follow your instincts.
Websites are full of warnings and advice for traveling abroad. We don’t want anyone to ever be deterred from traveling because of the fear of being robbed. There are the same risks in just walking down the street in Seattle. Be smart, have fun, and always be aware of your surroundings.