6 Tips for Safe Travels in the Big Easy

We’re hoping that all Certified Instructors will enjoy the sights and sounds of New Orleans next summer during the 2015 CPI Instructors’ Conference. NOLA's a great city, and having traveled extensively over my 14 years as a Global Professional Instructor, I thought I’d share with you some tips for safe travels when you're out and about in a large metropolitan area such as the Big Easy.

1. Have fun in groups.
While out and about, it's fun to see the sights in groups or at least with one other person. Solo excursions are discouraged anyway when you're new to a city, especially after dark. So as always, practice a team approach to safety!

2. Leave valuables behind.
Don’t travel with expensive items, electronics, or jewelry. Keep cash to a minimum and don’t display large amounts of money.

3. Set aside some small cash.
If you’re interested in donating to street performers, keep a few small bills readily available in a pocket separate from where you keep the main portion of your cash.

4. Avoid empty streets.
Don’t venture down streets you’re not familiar with or streets that look void of people. Stick to well-lit areas. If you find yourself alone and feel vulnerable, try to blend in with a group of people or simply walk into a restaurant or café.

5. Be smart about street scams.
In any big city, and especially in New Orleans, there are a variety of “street scams” to avoid. In NOLA, these frequently occur in the French Quarter and other areas where tourists congregate. With everything from “I’ll bet you five dollars I can tell you where you got your shoes” to “Tell me your last name and I’ll spell your first name,” these offers might sound fun, but they’re often meant to dupe. Some tourists have been asked where they’re from and what their first name is, only to be sung a song containing the same information, and then to be required to make a donation for the serenade experience. If someone you don’t know tries to stop you and engage you in a conversation you don’t want to have, one option is to simply smile, respectfully say “no thanks,” and confidently move on. It’s not usually wise to engage in card tricks or games with dealers on the streets. While it might look easy to figure out the game, you will surely lose some money.

6. Don’t play…but if you do, be prepared to pay!
Beware of any product or service being offered for “free.” There’s usually an overpriced payment attached. Keep in mind that cities that rely heavily on tourism dollars rarely give out anything for free.

Big cities like NOLA are beautiful, charming places where you can have a great experience, but it’s important to be savvy. I hope these tips help you maintain Care, Welfare, Safety, and Security℠ at Conference and anywhere your travels lead you.

What are your suggestions for staying safe in big cities? I’d love to hear them!

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