Stay Safe in Latin America
Some tips/habits I have picked up while traveling in Guatemala, Mexico, El Salvador, Peru, Ecuador, and Argentina:
No jewelry. I have a little diamond ring from my grandma that I just won’t wear while traveling. Wooden bangles and cheap costume jewelry is ok if it isn’t over the top.
Think each time before you leave the house- how much would it suck if this bag was stolen? Probably not best to be out and about with your Macbook, external hard drive, wallet and 3 debit cards, iPhone, iPod, keys, and passport in your backpack. Carry only what you need.
On that note, try to only bring as much cash as you need for the day. This way, if/when you get mugged, you aren’t losing a week’s budget.
I either wear a crossbody bag or my backpack on the front when in marketplaces. Super nerdy? Yes. A bit over the top? Maybe. Have I ever been robbed in a market? No!
Girls, and probably boys too: Don’t walk around alone at night. If you are going to take a taxi, figure out which taxis are reliable in the country you are visiting.
Don’t put your bags in the overhead bins on public transportation. Bags go either on your lap or between your feet.
I keep a copy of my passport folded up in the bottom of every bag I own, which means that my real passport never leaves the house.
I know it sounds silly, but I feel safer when I am reading something in Spanish. A Spanish newspaper, pamphlet, Harry Potter book in Spanish. Like maybe a thief would see it and be fooled for just a second that I am a local. As if that helps.
Despite all of this, I have friends who have been robbed in groups and in broad daylight, so there is still an element of luck to getting robbed in Latin America. Good luck!