How to Stay Safe When You Travel

We all love holidays, catching up with family and friends, or just getting away. Often though, we do not pay attention to safety and security when we travel or even if we choose to holiday from home.

1. Make Sure You Know The Way Home

Whether it is a holiday that is all about day trips using your home as your base, a holiday destination or even a road trip, you must plan your itinerary and make sure you have your bearings to ensure you do not get lost. This is so easy when you are not familiar with your surroundings.  An added benefit of planning is that you won’t miss out on things to see and do.  You might even find hidden gems that you didn't even know existed.

2.  Keep Yourself, Your Family And Friends Safe

It sounds like a no-brainer, right?  The number of people who are so excited to experience their holidays is surprising that they do not take precautions to ensure that they and the ones they love are safe. 

Simple tasks such as looking at travel insurance,  giving kids a mobile with a speed dial for emergencies, apps installed that favourite destinations and directions back home etc., can make a big difference in creating a safe and stress-free holiday.

3. Take The Time To Put A Back-Up Plan In Place

A back-up plan can take many forms, and each is important and should take priority depending on the type of holiday you are planning.

Three areas to consider include: 

  1. When you are going to a new location or many different locations, it is always good to look at long term weather forecasts to help you plan for clothes, accommodation and activities.  This should also be an ongoing monitoring task to track changes that may mean some tweaks to your holiday itinerary if and when you may need to choose alternate options to avoid interruptions to your holiday plans.
  1. Check the accessibility of places you are going to visit, where you will stay, and the way you want to experience your holiday.  There is nothing worse than showing up for your holiday and finding you cannot access what you want or need or are restricted by rules and regulations you were not aware.  
  1. I know, when you are going on holiday, you just want the holiday to start. However, you might like to consider planning for rest days and accommodate for days when you just feel like you need to chill.  This needs to work with your, your families and friends energy levels and ability to keep up the pace. Remember some family members may not interested in getting involved in some activities.
4. Keep Hydrated And Be Drink Safe

So this might sound a little confusing as drinking can be seen differently depending on the activity you are doing on your holidays - I am sure you will agree. 

Let’s start with staying hydrated.  This is so important because allowing yourself to become dehydrated can lead to you getting sick, tired or making your energy levels drop.  Often we tend to drink more if it is very hot, but as the body is largely made up of water, you must have access and consume water regularly, whether you are doing so because you are very active or just taking things easy.

Hydrating with water when enjoying drinks of the alcoholic kind also helps you enjoy your holiday and maybe even reduces the risk of waking up with a headache!  So always make sure you carry a full water bottle with you.

This next point might sound a little over the top; however, you can expose yourself to others with bad intentions when you holiday. Ordering and paying for your own drinks is sensible, especially if you are overseas or in an unfamiliar setting.  Unfortunately, people may put something in your drink to take advantage of you when you may be vulnerable.  Not a nice thing to think about but being aware means staying safe!  A kind gesture to buy you a drink could be just that, but you need to be careful

If you are having a big night out, topping up the good old H2O before heading out is always a good plan of action to safeguard yourself for the day or night ahead.

5. Be Sure To Only Take The Essentials

When you pack for your holiday it is very easy to overthink the ‘what ifs’ and over cater with clothes and other essentials, depending on the type of holiday you are taking. 

Now I am not for a moment suggesting you do not take enough of what you need but more so suggesting you consider more carefully what you actually need. 

Write a holiday list of what you need than for each line item ask yourself the following:

  • Do I really need this?
  • Is it a nice-to-have?
  • Is it suitable for the activities I have planned?
  • Does it suit more than one purpose?
  • Can you wear it straight from the suitcase?
  • Have I taken the weather into consideration?
  • How have I catered for the elements eg. suncare, insect repellent, etc
  • What is in place to keep my ID and passports safe and accessible?
  • How are my belongings secure?  Especially anything that has value?
5. Protect Your Personal Safety

There is bad, ugly and uglier scenarios that none of us wants to think about but probably should. 

If you are travelling by air make sure your suitcase is secured when travelling through airports.  Be prompt at carousels and claim your back as soon as you see it. 

To avoid losing money, make sure you don’t publicly display your money or exchange money that shows people watching that you carry a significant sum of money.

Some taxis and rideshares are legit and others that are not.  Avoid taking the chance and book directly with the taxi or rideshare company or have your hotel arrange your public transport.

Want to save money?  Don’t be tempted to share rides with others to cut costs.  Remember you don’t know these people and what their motives may be and you could end up spending more or worse.

Where you live may not have challenges with road rage and carjacking, but this may often occur in different places.  Do your research and be aware of what the risks exist, if any. Of course, it goes without saying, lock your car when you are not in it or leave it for any period of time.

6. Be proactive to stay safe

Holidays are an exciting time and planning the holiday can be almost as exciting. To be vigilant and proactive to stay safe and enjoy your holiday check out the following tips:

  • Be conscious though who you share your plans with and where you share this information as this could come back to haunt you. If someone knows where you are and when you are there for some people this may be an opportunity to commit crimes.
  • Trusting others is something we all want to do but don’t put yourself in situations where you will be vulnerable, such as hitchhiking to save money.
  • Night travel in places that you are not familiar is a sure-fire way to find yourself in trouble if you break down, run out of fuel or venture into an area that may be unsavoury.
  • Use your hotel or park manager to get advice on where to avoid, when areas should be avoided and why to plan ahead. 
  • Carry your identification on you at all times in case something happens so people know who to contact.
  • If you need to access cash do so at ATM’s that are highly visible to avoid being compromised.  Better still use debit or credit cards in preference to using cash.
  • If you do find yourself in a compromising position and a thief is threatening you give them what they want - remember these are only belongings!
  • Take head of warnings in the area you are visiting and steer clear if they may pose a threat rather than take any chances.
  • Make sure you lock the doors and windows where you are staying and secure your belongings to the best of your ability so you don’t get any nasty surprises.
  • Don’t invite people to your room unless you know them!  
7.  Beware Of Anything That Looks Like A Scam 

We are all familiar with the rise of scams as technology opens more doors for scammers to take advantage of.

Unfortunately, people with intent will always find innovative ways to take advantage of you,  When travelling be wary.  If someone poses as a police officer or someone of authority asking you for information or money make sure that you are 100% confident they are who they are purporting to be. 

Another clever scam that prays on holiday makers is someone posing as a tour guide and offering to show you the landmarks or even take you to places that the public don’t usually get to see - a behind the scenes tour.  This may sound interesting but you must make sure they are legit before parting with money or going with them as this may put you and your bank account at risk. 

Before you travel, do some research on the places you will visit and follow the latest news and police reports for a period before going.  This will make you familiar with activities that are happening so you are forewarned.

8.   Health Tips Before You Travel

The last thing you want on your holiday is for yourself, or your family, to fall ill. This cannot always be avoided but you can be prepared to make it less likely.

  • If you are going overseas or to a remote place make sure you are aware of any vaccinations that you need and what timeline you should have them in before you arrive.
  • Take note of any health warnings in the areas you are visiting and how they will impact your travels.  If an area does not have a current health warning but it is a possibility what is your back-up plan? 
  • Pack some travel sickness tablets from your doctor or over the counter  to safeguard yourself and your family from unexpected problems when travelling by road, sea or air. 
  • Teach your children to focus on what is around them and not on their screens when travelling as this could bring on travel sickness.
  • Keep the areas you are travelling in well-ventilated and social distance to avoid exposing yourself to unnecessary risks
  • Take face masks as a precautionary measure if you do find yourself in a situation where you cannot social distance.

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