When you are living abroad, especially in destination cities and countries that may have higher levels of crime, it makes sense to learn how you can stay sound and safe when living abroad. We are not security experts, but here are some common-sense tips for expatriates, who are often targeted by criminal gangs for robberies, extortion and even kidnapping.
1. Stay aware of your surroundings
If you are driving in a more dangerous area, try to avoid distractions and stay off your phone. You should be prepared to take evasive maneuvers if you are in danger. If you are on foot or on transit, be aware of your location and look like you know where you are going. If you feel like you are being followed, go to a cafe, restaurant or hotel. You can then arrange for a pickup or call the police.
2. Make preparations
This is an important tip to stay safe when living abroad. If you have to work or live in an area where crime or kidnappings are commonplace, have a plan if you are confronted by bandits – if you are confronted, cooperate fully and quickly – don’t be a hero.
3. Alternate your routine
If you are being watched, there is a good chance that they are aware of your routine. You can disrupt events by alternating your routine – such as arriving or leaving earlier. It is also suggested that you take different routes to and from your home or office if possible.
4. Keep a low profile
It may be difficult to disguise the fact that you are an expat with much more money than the local populous – which will often make you a target. But you can reduce your risk by not driving a flashy car or wearing an expensive watch or jewelry. Flashing cash is also not advisable.
5. Be careful of social profiles
Your friends and family may not be the only ones who follow you online. Try to avoid giving away your location and remove photo location if possible. Having strict privacy settings on your Twitter and Instagram can also help. Definitely don’t advertise your travel plans or discuss your financial plans or status. If you get approached online to meet in person, it may be best to avoid these requests.
6. Arriving at Airport
When we arrive at an airport in a destination where crime is rampant, we have already contacted our hotel to arrange a driver and have his or her name to check before we enter the car. In some countries, expatriates and global nomads need to be careful when using taxis and especially unlicensed taxi cabs. We understand that shared riding services such as Uber can be safer than the local taxis in some cities.
Criminals are surprisingly lazy and are looking for the easiest to find and overcome victims. Do what you can to protect yourself and to stay safe when living abroad. Also keep in mind that you should buy international health insurance when living abroad. Expat life insurance is also critical if you move abroad, especially if you have children.