Veteran police Det. Kevin Coffey knows how to keep you from becoming a victim on your next trip.
The founder of Corporate Travel Safety will appear Saturday at the Festival of Books to clue you in on what you need to know before and during your next vacation.
Coffey has written two books on travel safety and gives lectures on the topic. Learn more by coming to the Travel Smart Stage at 4 p.m. Saturday. (Here's the entire Festival of Books schedule at USC on Saturday and Sunday.)
Until then, here are some tips he recommends on his website:
Before you go: Do your homework before you even leave the house. Take an inventory of your valuables -- with photos, serial numbers, receipts, etc. -- and have it on hand for insurance purposes.
Where you stay: No matter how nice the resort, ask for a room above the second floor but below the sixth floor, which he calls the "safest room zone."
Motel people, you're really at risk with a ground floor room that has doors and windows that open to the outside. Travelers should carry a portable travel door lock rather rely on the hotel's locking system. That way you don't have to worry about who has a key card to access.
While you're traveling: Pickpockets are everywhere, but especially in big cities such as Paris. Coffey writes about common scams at Metro stations and elsewhere in the French capital -- and how to trip them up.
The biggest tip: Be observant, look around, know what's going on. Carry a money belt or hidden pouch to make it hard for streetwise thieves. Coffey offers more safety tips about staying safe, even posting a video taken of a band of young pickpockets.