No matter where in the world you visit, the most important thing to remember when travelling is to keep yourself safe. It’s easy to get swept away in the excitement of your travels and to forget basic safety advice when you are far from home, but it’s even more important to be aware of scams and dangers when you’re away. Here are seven of our top tips for travellers, to help to keep you safe while you enjoy your trip.
1. Research your destination prior to travelling
Before you board your flight (ideally before you book your trip) take some time to research any safety concerns regarding your chosen destination. Are there any key things you need to be aware of, such as a risk of terrorism or an abundance of pickpockets? Research which area is the safest and if there are any neighbourhoods that you should avoid. Look up whether it is safe to walk around at night, or if you should take taxis. Read up about any vaccinations, dangerous animals or hazardous activities that you should be aware of. Always be as prepared as possible.
2. Stay aware
It’s easy to become complacent when you’re travelling, forgetting basic safety rules. To keep yourself safe from scams and dangers, make sure that you’re always paying attention to your surroundings. Look up while walking around, paying attention to what is happening around you. If you don’t stay alert, you make yourself vulnerable to pickpockets or could be hit by traffic. Leave your earphones at home and keep your phone in your pocket, soaking up your surroundings while staying safe.
3. Keep your valuables safe
If you don’t see other tourists walking around with their cameras and phones on display, this is likely for a very good reason. Keep your valuables safely stored away when you’re not using them, making sure they are located in safe compartments of your bag that can be zipped shut. If you want to take photos, keep the strap of your camera safely strung around your neck so it can’t be grabbed out of your hands. It’s also advisable to split up your valuables, keeping them in concealed pockets and inside bags. If a pickpocket does target you, if your most valued possessions, your credit cards and your cash are all separated, then at least you won’t lose them all.
4. Know the emergency numbers and procedures
In the unlikely event of an emergency, it’s important that you have a plan. Ensure that you are always aware of the local emergency numbers in case you need to call the police, an ambulance or the fire department. Save these numbers on your phone as ‘favourites’ but also memorise them in case you don’t have access to your own phone. It’s also smart to think ahead and plan your escape route from hotels or modes of transport, in case of fires or other emergencies. Note where the emergency exits are and always stay aware.
5. Make sure someone knows where you are
Whether you’re travelling solo or with other people, never go off on your own without letting someone you trust know a detailed itinerary of your plans. If you’re travelling on your own, alert someone back home and a member of staff at your accommodation to your plans. Let them know when to expect you back so they can raise the alarm if necessary. If in doubt, be more cautious than necessary and never feel like you are inconveniencing hotel staff, friends, colleagues or family by telling them your plans.
6. Only use reputable transportation
If you plan on hiring a car, do your research ahead of time and book it through a trustworthy company that have good reviews and no history of dodgy dealings. If you arrive at your destination and are offered a vehicle that doesn’t look safe, has no seatbelts or you get bad vibes from the company, walk away. When using public transport, look into the safety records of the companies that you plan on travelling with. Avoid any buses, trains or planes that have a history of accidents and only travel on vehicles where you feel safe.
7. Don’t drink too much
It’s tempting to drink more when travelling than you would back home, whether that’s to get in the holiday spirit or to make it easier to meet people. Always be conscious of how much you are drinking, as being inebriated could put you in danger or make you a target for thieves and scammers. If you’re travelling in a group, look out for each other on a night out and make sure all of your group get home safely. If you’re travelling solo, don’t put your trust in strangers; make sure that you stay sober enough to keep your wits about you.