As record numbers of people gather here in Austin for the annual SXSW music, film, and interactive conference—we thought it would be a good idea to post a few security tips for staying safe during the festival.
1. Keep Your Guard Up
Austin is a relatively safe city, but you never want to take unnecessary chances. Keep your guard up—no matter where you’re at. Always be aware of your surroundings.
2. Keep Valuables Secured
Keep your purse, wallet, badge, phone and tech gadgets secured at all times. Don’t leave your phone or other valuables unattended. When possible, keep your credit cards, money and valuables concealed. And, do not lose your SXSW badge!
3. Watch for Traffic
Increased traffic and congestion on already crowded streets increases the risk of bike, pedestrian and traffic accidents. Accidents happen most when there are a lot of distractions. If you are driving, keep your eyes on the road, and avoid being on your phone or texting. The same thing goes if you are on a bike or on foot, whether you are crossing the street or rolling along—don’t get distracted and be aware of the traffic around you at all times.
4. Stay Hydrated
It seems simple enough, but there’s nothing worse than getting dehydrated, getting sick and not being able to enjoy the events. Drink plenty of water, or coconut water (which is packed with natural electrolytes), throughout the day to stay hydrated.
5. Beware of Pickpockets
Pickpockets love crowds because they are a distraction and make it easy to prey on unsuspecting individuals. Don’t fall victim to getting your phone, credit card or other valuables stolen by pickpockets. Keep your guard up and always be aware of your surroundings—especially when you’re in a large crowd of people.
6. Stick Together
Criminals target individuals. Travel with friends or implement a buddy system. If you’re with a friend, you’re less likely to be victim of a crime. It’s also easy to get lost in a crowd. If you are with a large group of friends and decide to split up—have a designated place to meet up and check in frequently. Also have an emergency plan and a place to meet if someone in your group gets lost.
7. Program Emergency Contacts in Your Phone
It’s always better to be safe. Program emergency contacts into your phone, just in case an emergency were to happen and someone needs to be contacted.
8. Park in Legal Parking Spaces
The City of Austin is cracking down on illegal parking during SXSW. If you park in a no-parking area—you will either get fined or towed. Make sure you park in a legal spot.
9. Beware of Wi-Fi Hackers
Unsecure Wi-Fi networks are a hacker’s best friend. Don’t be a victim. Make sure you’re on a secure Wi-Fi network. Hackers can hack your phone or laptop, and steal your password and data. Keep your phone, data and identity safe.
10. Calling It a Night
When you’re heading home, back to your hotel, or a friend’s house—stay safe and make sure you are not being followed. It just takes a split second for someone to force their way into your space or lure you away. SXSW is a lot of fun, and if you stay alert and make smart decisions—you’ll have an even better time.