Having the opportunity to travel to any place around the world is definitely one that shouldn’t be taken for granted. And not taking any precautions or safety measures in preparation for the trip and while you’re travelling, would be taking that opportunity for granted. You need to keep yourself and your belongings safe when you travel as there are many complications that could, otherwise, arise.
Luckily, it’s relatively simple to ensure that when you travel, you’re always travelling safely.
The first, obvious, step is to research your destination. Know the culture, know the language and know the people. By doing so, you’ll find out what is considered respectful and disrespectful in the eyes of the country. And, consequently, you’ll save yourself from embarrassment and shame. For example, not many countries appreciate a handshake as a greeting. It’s the small customs that could keep you in the country’s good-books.
Then you need to find out if there are any health regulations or requirements when coming into the country. Do you need to get any vaccines back home before you board the plane? Are there high-risk disease areas that you need to know about and prepare for? Is there any prescribed medication you can take before you leave and while you’re there?
Another aspect that needs to be researched is the natural environment you’ll find yourself in. Is this destination prone to natural disasters? What season is it and how is the weather for that season?
And then it’s just a matter of familiarising yourself with the “local” map based on where you’ll be staying and where you’ll be visiting.
There are so many stories of travellers booking their accommodation with a beautiful photographic-promise of what they can expect when they arrive, only to be greatly disappointed and stuck in a sub-par place.
For that reason, it’s important to review your accommodation with other people who have travelled to the country, with any locals that side with whom you have contact, and scour the internet for any additional information or photographs.
You should also review the area you’ll be staying in and keep an eye out for any red-flag news reports and check how close it is to the local police station or mall. The more central you are able to stay, the safer you are in terms of busy streets (aka witnesses).
If you have life and/or health insurance at home, why wouldn't you make sure you have travel insurance while you’re away? The hard truth is that you never really know what might happen over there and you should rather be prepared in the case of an emergency.
You and your belongings ought to be looked after and there are many insurance companies that can help you in this regard. African Unity Life with justGO travel insurance is one such company and then you’ll have one of the best precautionary safety measures in place for you, your personal items and whoever else you may be travelling with.
You’ve done what you can before you leave, now it’s time to travel and continue to practise travel safety etiquette. Lock your bag’s zippers together and wrap your luggage for the plane, find safe storage to keep them in at your place of accommodation and never travel with more than is necessary for the day’s adventures. You can even add a ribbon and identity card to your bags to make them identifiable and you contactable in the event you leave them behind somewhere.
Backpacks should be worn on your front instead of on your back for extra security and, if you can, have a little padlock to stop someone from slipping into your bags.
Just like you’re storing your luggage in a safe place, you need to keep your passports, IDs and other important travel documents safe… more so than your luggage, in fact. You could carry them with you as you travel, but, if possible, keep it at your place of accommodation.
When it comes to taking your wallet or purse out to make a payment, just be conscious of your money habits. It’s not a smart idea to be walking around with wads of cash or only “big bills”. You’re making yourself an easy target for anyone on the lookout for a “touristy tourist” who hasn’t got a clue.
Keep cash on you but make it small change and just carry around enough for the day. Then you can keep your credit card on you as well but make sure the place you’re buying from accommodates cards before you whip it out.
And the last way to ensure you always travel safely is by checking in with the loved ones at home. A parent, a sibling, a friend or even your Instagram followers are the perfect people to keep updated on your day’s adventures and areas of travel. Have designated contact times that, should you miss one, someone back home will notice and try to get hold of you to make sure you’re okay.
With travel safety tips in the bag, you can now enjoy your holiday worry free.