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Old 11-15-2007, 07:55 AM
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Default Travel Precautions

Tourists have been harvested by felons for a long time. Today is little different. Just as you can get into trouble in many big cities in the USA (and some small ones), going abroad can offer more opportunities for misadventure. Particularly if you set yourself up for it through poor awareness or carelessness.

There have been some serious crimes against tourists in Mexico, Costa Rica, cautions about Brazil and lots of other places. This list could go on for quite a while and I am sure if the stats for Florida were thrown in it could be silvering.

Common sense and reasonable precautions can take you a long way through travel hassles but what sort of things have you learned along the way to try to avoid problems? Some problems may be more obvious than others and you're on vacation after all, right?

Things have been heating up at lonely points along the Pan American Hwy. for a long time. Remember hearing about armed car jackings and robbery over 20 years ago in parts of Mex. Here are a list of things from ikitesurf for travelers to think over on the way to Baja:

1. Travel in a caravan with at least one other car. Ideally 3 cars so one can stop to help and one can bring more help.
2. Avoid traveling the Tijuana to San Quintin corridor at night. Especially avoid TJ at night and predawn.
3. If someone tries to pull you over verify that it is a police car and that they are in uniform before stopping. If in doubt slow down, put your emergency lights acknowledge the "cop" and try to find an inhabited place to pull over.
4. Never camp at a wide spot along Hwy. 1 in Baja. I did this all the time in the old days but not now.
5. Do not camp at remote beaches unless it is truly isolated and there are other campers there.
6. Keep only enough money for gas in your wallet. Keep the rest of it hidden.
7. Try not look look like a target with lots of exposed toys.
8. Read the section of the Baja Guide about driving in Baja.
9. Avoid any confrontation, remember you are in a macho culture and the other guy will NOT back down.
10. Go over your car carefully for brake lights, turning signals etc. fix anything that might give a cop an excuse to pull you over.
11. Buy Vagabundos or similar car insurance with the legal services package. If you have a serious accident you need a lawyer pronto and this provides one for you.
12. Don't remotely think about bringing drugs down or inviting friends who might not tell you that they have a stash. Some people do bring drugs anyway since the cops seem to pretty much ignore the use of weed. I have had the horror of seeing what happens to someone if you get into some other trouble, like an accident, and you have a stash. All of a sudden they really enforce the law big time. The guy I knew was in jail for years and Mexican jails are a nightmare for a gringo.
13. Drive like a little old lady in town and even near towns since they are starting to get radar guns.
14. Avoid the gas stations mentioned in my Baja Guide.
15. Use ATM machines with caution and notify your bank in advance that you will be using your ATM card in mexico for the duration of the trip. Do not use ATM cards except to get cash at machines.

Last edited by RickI; 11-15-2007 at 08:38 AM.
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