Top safety tips and advice for potential travelers

Travelling to different destinations around the world opens our eyes, minds and hearts, we should enjoy the time away as well as the travel and accommodation, this can be from a cheap AirBnB to being hauled up in a top-class hotel, whatever the destination and surroundings it is very easy to really get into the swing of things on a short break or holiday you have chosen but there are some things to be aware of to stay safe whilst away and return home in one piece!

  • Whether you are staying in a walled and gated resort with on tap hospitality services or going the backpacker route, do your diligent research prior to even booking the time away as going away to an unknown village, city or country can be fraught with unknowns and sometimes dangers that we do not immediately realise, this is not meant to sound like you should be overly worried or paranoid but just get in the know a little if you can.
  • As well as getting to know the local area and surroundings, be sure to find out and keep on you the local emergency numbers including hospitals and clinics if you should need them as well as the local police station and consulate. If you are allergic to some drugs or have special dietary requirements, keep these listed and on your person with your blood type. These details will hopefully not be needed but can speedily assist with treatment if required. Wrist bands or neck chains with these important details can be sought and any identifying afflictions made easily known even if you cannot speak or are unconscious.
  • Travel insurance is an absolute must, depending upon your planned breaks or holiday vacations you can go for a single trip or multi-trip options and they are very affordable, unforeseen circumstances like medical emergencies and extended stays in hospital are the most worrisome but cancellations of connecting flights or transportation can be covered as well as lost or stolen luggage and assistance can be provided if you should lose your travel documents, this might include legal assistance that could cost thousands of dollars.
  • Before you go away find out if you will need vaccinations for infectious diseases like Yellow fever, Typhoid and Hepatitis A. You should take a mosquito net and some Citronella candles or joss sticks if biting insects could cause uncomfortable problems as well as ongoing medical emergencies and don’t forget the sunscreen if going to a different and hot climate.
  • As well as having adequate medical coverage in case of an emergency, if you are from Europe make to keep your Europan Health Insurance Card (EHIC) up to date. You can be refused medical assistance even if covered by third party insurance, the cards are free to apply for and last for 5 years, as well as accidents it covers you for pre-existing medical conditions and routine maternity care – as long as you are not travelling abroad for the sole reason of giving birth.
  • We do like to get into the tourist flow of things but try not to stick out whilst you are whittling your worries away, those that especially look like they are from out of town as vulnerable to crime so try to blend in as much as you can, choose inconspicuous clothing that won’t draw attention, be discreet whilst looking at maps and approach people carefully if you should need directions.
  • It is the same as carrying electronic devices, it is sometimes risky to carry a flat panel or smartphone device even in public areas and even more so if you have expensive camera equipment strapped around your neck. When not in use carry these devices in a secure bag and don’t be too showy with them.
  • When carrying your devices or even whilst shopping for gifts, wherever you are, keep them in plain sight in front of you, don’t sit down for food and leave you bag or jacket hanging on the chair behind you as distractions can be made and your goods will be gone in an instant. It may well be worth investing in protective clothing and holiday gear that will make it more difficult from thieves and pickpockets to steal money and personal items from you.
  • If you have to carry large amounts of cash or important documents with you, store these in a money belt that you can wear under clothing concealed and out of sight – you can then have a normal wallet, even a cheap market bought one with a smaller amount of cash in it for whimsical purchases. Pickpocketers can be rife and unfortunately, tourists are frequently robbed at knife or gunpoint, it is safer as well as less economically crippling for you just to hand over or just throw a safety decoy wallet/purse with a few dollars or some local currency in it rather than your main stash, you can then make haste into a public area promptly away from harms way and find the authorities for help.
  • Don’t carry any sort of potential weapon with you to fend off criminals as these could be used against you, women should carry a rape or similar audible alarm if alone.
  • With some locals laws, it is required to carry with you your ID to present to hoteliers for bookings, police officers, government officials and travel staff – make sure to have paper copies of these if required in an emergency, try not to store these online if you can as document cloning and theft is prevalent now and can be very costly not only with having your details copied but overall financially too, not including the stress involved too. 
  • If you are travelling alone, keep your friends and family updated on your movements or itinerary, this does not need to be solely on social media or even public at all, just let those know who are important to you where you are, they will be happy to hear you are enjoying your holibobs away too. It can be easy to find likeminded people around you wherever you are in the world and often safety is found in numbers but you should always be aware and not complacent in any situation you may find yourself in.
  • Street food and unusual eateries are great, they should definitely be enjoyed but as will any food outlet take a few seconds to see if it is clean, does the meat look fresh, are the eyes of the fish clear and not clouded? Simple hygiene rules should be ideally followed including that of the vendor not handling money and food without washing their hands in between or changing gloves thereby reducing the risks of bacterial cross infections. If you are hungry you cannot go wrong with fruit or vegetables or packeted goods like crisps or fries if concerned with the food preparation conditions.
  • Be wary of public Free-WiFi hotspots, hackers look to steal your valuable data using keyloggers, fake websites and service portals, if you use an open WiFi network make sure you have a Virtual Private Network installed on your computer or smart device and check any service you are logging into shows the secure padlock mark, this can be faked as well so get acquainted with commonly used web addresses that you sign into making sure there are no little mistakes used to trick you.
  • The hotel you are staying in can have strong security measures in place but there are still steps you can take to make your stay safer like keeping the doors and windows locked with the deadbolts in place. Try to give the impression that your room is occupied when you are not there, you can simply place the Do Not Disturb sign on the outside of the door and keep your curtains or blinds closed and don’t let strangers into your room, you can always phone down to reception to confirm hotel staff were ordered to come to your room if someone unexpected should call. 
  • You should always pick up a few words of the local dialect before travelling, such simples things like please, thank you, yes and no will help, if you learn a little more it can go far and the locals will appreciate your effort even if not fluent and make mistakes, they will more than likely help you learn more of the language.
  • Above all be confident and respectful, have a smile on your face and really enjoy the cultural surroundings with all it has to offer and you will be sure to have a nice well-deserved break returning home refreshed and full of ideas for the next vacation away!