Tips and ways to stay safe while travelling

April 19, 2018

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No matter where you decide to travel, safety should always be your number one priority. It’s a sad fact, but safety risks exist in every country, and accidents can happen to anyone. Whether you are planning to travel alone or with family or friends, it is important to take precautions to minimise your risk of potentially harmful situations.

Making yourself aware of travel dangers and being prepared begins from the moment you start planning your holiday. By implementing some simple safeguards and using common sense, you can make sure you or your loved ones don’t become a victim of travel threats. Here are some of the best ways to stay safe during your next holiday.

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Choosing your destination

One of the first ways you can protect yourself is by choosing a travel destination which is safe(r). Although crime and dangers exist everywhere, many countries are far more prone to being unsafe. It is wise to stay on top of the latest travel advice and warnings issued by Australia’s Smartraveller website. Here you will find the latest information regarding crime, natural disasters, terrorism, and health concerns for the destination you are considering.

You should reconsider your need or desire to travel to any country which it is advised to avoid. Travelling to such destinations will not only put you in a potentially risky situation but may also disrupt your travel plans and affect your travel insurance coverage.

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Selecting accommodation

It is important to select a hotel or other accommodation that is located in a safe area of town. Sticking with large name brand hotels is generally a good option and you can easily check reviews for nearly any establishment you choose.

It is a good idea to select a hotel which offers adequate security when it comes to your room, parking, and the hotel itself. Although cheaper accommodation options such as low-end hostels may be tempting, they may not be worth the potential dangers.

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Make others aware of your travels

It is always a good idea to let family or friends know about your travel plans. Print or send them a copy of your itinerary and check in with them periodically during your travels. Include things like hotels you will be staying at along with phone numbers so they can contact you in case of emergencies. They may also be able to give you helpful advice during your travels that may assist you to avoid making unwise decisions.

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Food and drink

As much as you want to save money on food costs, it is important to be wise when it comes to what you put into your body while travelling. Foodborne illnesses affect nearly 50 million people each year with more than 250 food related diseases identified including salmonella and the norovirus.

Avoid drinking tap water in countries with low purification standards and be careful when it comes to consuming raw produce which cannot be peeled in these destinations. Street vendor food may not be adhere to safe food handling procedures and therefore should also be avoided. Be sure to also wash your hands before handling or consuming food.

Alcohol can affect your health and decision making so it is best avoided during your travels. Understand that consuming alcohol may also void your travel insurance policy.

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Infectious diseases

It is vital that you receive all the required immunisation shots required for the destination you are travelling to. Mosquito-borne illness such as Yellow Fever or the Zika Virus can be quite serious so it is advised you carry appropriate insect repellent.

Influenza generally strikes during a destination’s winter months so extra precautions should be taken during this time. Avoid close confined contact with large numbers of people and restrict touching public surfaces. Remember to carry hand sanitiser and wash hands frequently.

Activities and attractions

Sometimes staying on the beaten path is a good idea. Well known tourist options are generally considered the safest bet. Avoid putting yourself in harm’s way by visiting dodgy neighbourhoods where crime may be more prevalent. You should also avoid engaging in high risk activities or extreme sports which may cause injuries and may not be covered under your travel insurance policy. Overseas medical expenses which are not covered due to reckless behaviour or uncovered activities can prove to be quite costly.

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Carrying or wearing belongings

Leave your most expensive belongings such as jewellery and electronics at home while travelling. Limit the number of credit cards and cash you carry and lock things like your passport in your hotel safe. Avoid wearing expensive jewellery and don’t publicise the fact you are carry expensive objects like cameras or smartphones. Keep them concealed in a daypack that you secure at all times in addition to protecting your luggage. These tips will help you avoid theft and potentially harmful physical attacks.

Avoiding scams

With numerous scams present around the world, it is wise to make yourself aware of the ones most prevalent in the destination you are travelling to. Avoid using unregistered taxis or accepting offers from strangers. Scams can not only lead to theft but can also prove to be dangerous to your well being. Avoid offers too good to be true and trust your instincts when it comes to trusting people and their true identities. Never be afraid to ask for identification of people in uniform.

Protect yourself with travel insurance

Sometimes you can take all the necessary precautions to avoid travel dangers only to find yourself a victim anyway. It is therefore vital you protect yourself with a travel insurance policy which can protect you financially from things such as stolen belongings or overseas medical expenses.

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