London, like any major city, has a number of safety issues that visitors to the city should be aware of. Although a relatively safe city, London can be overwhelming to an immigrant or a tourist from Australia, so taking basic precautions is always a good idea. A few practical tips can ensure that your travels to London - or to any city for that matter - won't be ruined by pick-pockets and the like.
When planning your tourist activities, do not intentionally choose to travel when it is dark outside. Those looking to rob or harm you know that they are much more likely to be unseen before dawn and after dusk. Additionally, avoid areas and alleyways that look dangerous. Shady dealings often go down in dimly-lit locations. Some areas in London are considered more dangerous than others. If in doubt ask about different neighbourhoods at tourist information centres.
People often make jokes about being unable to talk, walk, and chew gum at the same time. Don't try to multi-task while sightseeing and always stay alert. Walk facing on-coming traffic. There are many reasons for this, most importantly being that you'll want to avoid kerb crawlers. One source had the following advice regarding kerb crawlers: "If you do have to walk in the same direction as the traffic and a vehicle pulls up alongside you, turn and run in the opposite direction." These sorts of situations don't happen often but like in any major city, always being aware is of vital importance.
Transportation in London can be tricky. When using public transportation, like trains and buses, ensure that you know arrival and departure times. The last thing you want is to be caught sitting around waiting for public transport for hours on end. There are a number of websites that help you stay up to the minute with live bus arrival times.
One mode of transportation to be wary of is minicabs. Minicabs that pick up fares on the street, without being pre-booked, may be both illegal and uninsured.
It's impossible to travel without some form of money, credit cards, or traveller's cheques. While the tips and tricks to conceal wallets and other valuables are helpful, none of them are guaranteed to work. Pick-pocketing can happen in popular areas with many people, and those who pick pocket are so adept at it, that chances are you won't feel it happening. Keep necessary but limited amounts of cash with you. Keep the rest in a secure location. Most importantly, stay alert.
Always ensure you have taken out travel insurance before your trip. Use a reputable provider such as Amex annual travel insurance. Travel insurance will not only help you if you fall victim to a pickpocket but will becomes invaluable if you have to cancel a trip at the last minute. Do your homework. An all-inclusive package is best so you can be protected in case of emergency, loss or accident.
When travelling learn to trust your instincts. Often time, your instincts will tell you not to trust someone. Most of the time, they're right. Follow your instincts and you're much more than likely to have a wonderful time on your trip to London.