04/12/2017 14:01 SAST | Updated 04/12/2017 14:01 SAST

7 Tips To Avoid Falling Prey To Criminals At The Airport Over The Festive Season

Criminals are waiting for you to make a bad move.

Siphiwe Sibeko / Reuters

The festive season is here and that can only mean one thing for many of us: travel.

In order to spend quality time with family, many holidaymakers will be making long car, bus, train and taxi journeys or flying in and out of airports both locally and abroad.

While this may be an exciting prospect, you need to be cautious of the many criminal chancers out there who can so easily put the spoilers on your holiday mood.

Travelling in and out of airports in particular can be overwhelming and therefore it's important to take steps to ensure your safety.

Here's seven tips to keep you safe in airports and ensure that you reach your destinations without any hassles.

1. Check in early
Check in at least 90 minutes before departure. By doing this, you allow your luggage to reach the plane in plenty of time, which decreases the risk of your cases being lost and eventually missing the flight.

2. Walk in a group
Walking in a group (even if you don't know the people!) reduces the chance of getting robbed or falling victim to criminals at airports. Criminals who are lurking around to try and rob you or plant something in your luggage will be less likely to touch you or your luggage if you are in a group.

3. Pack and carry your bags yourself
You're taking a huge risk if you are not 100 percent sure of the contents of your luggage before checking in, going through customs and boarding. Don't let strangers help you with your luggage, however friendly and charming they may be. You never know what they might slip into your bag.

4. Do not let your luggage out of sight
Not even for a split second. Rather, leave it with someone whom you are travelling with such as family or just take your luggage with you.

5. Lock and wrap your luggage
By doing this you ensure that your luggage is secured and nothing is removed or added to what you have already packed. Locking and wrapping also lets you know if your bag has been tampered with, prevents against damage and keeps it looking clean and great. Bag handlers at the airport are inundated with a whole lot of work and won't treat your bag with the care it deserves.

6. Be vigilant of porters and trolley operators
Always use accredited porters when you require assistance with baggage and trolleys. If you are unsure, go to the help desk. You can usually identify porters by their bright orange uniform which shows their name and operating number.

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7. Have important information to hand
To avoid unnecessary dramas at the airport, always have phone numbers to hand, for example for your car rental agency, hotel, shuttle service and friends at your destination.

Enjoy travelling this season and remember, better safe than sorry. For more safety tips visit ACSA.