Vacations are supposed to be relaxing, fun affairs… that is, until you get stranded penniless at the side of a highway with nothing but the clothes on your back. While it typically does not get this bad, there’s nothing like stolen luggage or a missing passport to put a damper on your holiday. Take a few precautions with these simple tips. Simple security items to pack
![doorstop](http://site-assets2.s3.amazonaws.com/site-assets/article-how-to-avoid-tourist1.jpg "doorstop")
1. A rubber door stop wedged up against a closed door is a good way to ensure additional security in your room (when you're in it, of course). There’s really no excuse to miss this step out; a door stop takes up next to no space in your luggage. 2. If you have any valuables with you, it doesn't hurt to bring a lock. Even a cheap padlock is a good deterrent as anyone attempting to steal from your room will likely be in too much of a hurry to bother breaking it. 3. If you're a little paranoid about crime, you might want to pick up a secure bag or purse. Often times, snatch theft occurs when bags and purses are literally cut off your shoulder. Secure bags are made with resistant materials to prevent this. Put together a travel emergency card
![medcard](http://site-assets2.s3.amazonaws.com/site-assets/article-how-to-avoid-tourist-2.jpg "medcard")
Write down the local numbers for the police, fire department, hospital(s), and anything other emergency numbers in waterproof ink on a card. You might want to include your own emergency contact information on the card in case you're in trouble and someone needs to know who to call. Of course, don’t forget to carry the card on you at all times. Know your taxis
![taxi](http://site-assets2.s3.amazonaws.com/site-assets/article-how-to-avoid-tourist3.jpg "taxi")
You're almost always better off taking official taxis, as unmarked cars are usually not bound by strict regulations. A reputable private car service might work, but you'll probably have to pay a lot more. When an unmarked cab is offering a similar or better rate than the official taxis, it is definitely worth being a little skeptical. If an official taxi is unavailable, clarify with the driver whether the fare includes any tolls and fees before entering the cab. Also, if the fare isn't a flat rate, be sure you know the possible routes. Some drivers will know better and will take good care of you, but others will take longer routes to increase the fare. If you know your options, you can suggest the fastest route to avoid overpaying. Know your rights
![rights](http://site-assets2.s3.amazonaws.com/site-assets/article-how-to-avoid-tourist4.jpg "rights")
Ignorance to the country’s laws will get you nowhere. For example, New York does not have a ban on cameras despite the common misconception that they do, thanks to a few wrongful arrests. In California, while you used to be able to park at a broken meter for free, doing so now will land you a ticket. The point is, when traveling to a new place do research a few of the policies that could affect your activities. There are a lot of misconceptions and knowing better could save you a headache. In many cases, you can easily get yourself out of trouble, or prevent it in the first place, by having known the laws that would affect you.