IBC Security has a first row seat to the thousands of tourists that travel to Portugal every year. Although Portugal has one of the safest ratings as a country, globally. In fact, Portugal is rated the fifth safest country in the world.
Having said this, it’s important to note that you are never 100% safe from falling victim to a con artist or petty crime. Here’s our tips on how to be a safe tourist.
1. Write Down Important Information
If something bad does happen, you might not have enough time to find the numbers for local emergency services or the police. So make sure that you note this information down, both on your phone and on a small note of paper and keep it in your pocket.
2. Speak To The Locals
Not only are the locals able to tell you where the places to eat are, they also have wealth of knowledge available on the neighbourhoods and areas you intend to visit.
Speak to the locals about areas you may want to avoid, ask which ones are safe at night and during the day. Also, ask them if any of the nearby beaches have reputations for theft.
Most locals will be friendly and warn you about the areas that you should be alert in.
3. Share Your Itinerary
It’s a good idea to email a copy of your trip itinerary to friends and family. It’s a simple fail safe tip this, if your friends and family don’t hear back from you regularly they will be able to get in touch with the hotel you should be staying in, or the villa company that managed your rental.
It gives them the information they need in order to do something should contact from you cease during your trip.
4. Project Awareness
Projecting awareness is generally about how aware you are to your surroundings. When walking around town, walk with confidence and purposes.
Try not to act worried or concerned, even if you are a little lost.
A potential threat will zone in on tourists who seem distracted and worried.
5. Keep Some Emergency Cash
If you’re out and about and exploring, it’s a good idea to simply prepare for a worst case scenario. Don’t keep all your cash, debit cards and credit cards on your person at all times.
In the event that your bag, purse or wallet get snatched, at least you’ll be able to get back to your villa or hotel and know that you have a backup plan in place.
You don’t want to be stuck in Portugal with no bank cards or cash, and no representative banks of your bank back home. It’s very inconvenient.
6. Travel In Numbers
There’s safety in numbers! The more people you have around you, the more sets of eyes you have to be aware.
A group of people is also much more intimidating to potential threats, they’ll think twice before targeting 6 of you than they would if it was just you alone.
If you are travelling solo, it may be a good idea to try and make some new travel buddies and go exploring unfamiliar areas together.
7. Bring a First Aid Kit
This may seem like a fairly obvious point, but many travellers don’t come with the basic essentials when it comes to first aid. Even if it is a small cut while you’re out on the town, or a slight trip on Portugal’s famous calcada pavements.
At least you’ll be equipped with some basic bandages, antiseptic creams and plasters.
8. Stay As Sober As Possible
We all know that Portugal is a favoured destination for those travelling on their bachelor or bachelorettes weekend, as much so as it is for the avid golfer and retiree.
We all know what our alcohol limitations are, so make sure you stick to them.
A drunk target is easier to take advantage of than a sober one who has their wits about them. Never mind how terribly dangerous it is to drive while intoxicated.
Suggest that someone in your four ball or group of friends stays sober if you do intend to drink a lot, so that someone is able to think clearly in the event of a mishap.
9. Trust Your Instincts
At the end of the day, it’s all about how you feel when travelling. Don’t be afraid to trust your instincts, even if it is at the risk of sounding silly or dramatic to those around you.
If you don’t like the look of a place, don’t go in.
If you get invited to do an activity with someone you’ve just met, and it “doesn’t feel right”, then don’t go.
Don’t afraid to say no in fear of seeming stuck up.
10. All Around Risk
Our last point is this, you can travel to even the most safest of countries and still be at risk.
It’s important to note that criminals don’t only operate in low-rated countries.
It’s entirely possible to be scammed by a beautiful woman, or be taken advantage of on a night out anywhere in the world.
So just be aware of the risk, stay safe and be alert, always.