Kirsty Stuart shares some of her top tips to ensure you have a safe and happy holiday no matter where you’re travelling to.
Whether you’re going on a six month backpacking trip around India or taking two weeks out to relax on the beaches of Egypt, there are certain travel safety tips to bear in mind wherever you decide to roam.
You already know the basics – don’t wander around a foreign land waving £50 notes around and always secure your luggage and personal belongings. But what about those other travel safety tips you often hear about? With so many people (and web pages) offering you different tips and advice it’s hard to know what to take on board and what bad advice to leave at home. Fortunately we’ve filtered through the nonsense to create this simple yet relevant list of the best travel safety tips no matter where you’re going.
Tip 1: Don’t get distracted
The idea of course is to have fun while you’re exploring new cultures or lazing around on the beach. Of course you want to relax and be open to new experiences while you’re away from home. Absolutely.
However, stories of con-artists deliberately distracting tourists with something as simple as words on a piece of paper while they pick your pockets are not uncommon. Have fun, relax and be open to new people and experiences, but if you think you’re being deliberately distracted by a stranger, keep your wits (and your wallet) about you.
Tip 2: Learn about the culture
Research really is key here. Leaning the culture, traditions and customs of your travel destination is not only fun but it’s also one of the best travel safety tips around. Using your judgement when photographing people and certain official buildings is common knowledge, as is dressing modestly in many places, but are you aware of the slightly lesser known customs and nuances of your chosen destination’s culture?
For instance, do you know where it’s rude to point your feet directly towards another and where one’s head should never be touched? Do you know where it’s considered bad manners if you don’t leave a small amount of food on your plate after a meal – or elsewhere where it’s considered insulting if you do? Taking the time to research these things beforehand means that you will avoid offending or even antagonising your new hosts (and potentially save you a fair bit of embarrassment too).
Tip 3: Get insured
This is a must. A boring one that nobody really wants to fork out for, but a must nevertheless. Even if nothing all that bad occurs while you’re away (i.e. you’re physically fine and remain in good health), having good travel insurance can often be the lifeline that you need after a travel-related mini crisis.
Tip 4: Email yourself
In the dark old ages before email became common place, travellers and holiday-makers used to photocopy their passports, itineraries and travel insurance documents and keep these copies separate from their originals. These days all you have to do is scan them at the touch of a button and email them to yourself. Take it from somebody that once had both all their original documents and their good old-fashioned photocopied documents stolen in one fell swoop – emailing yourself is a much, much better idea.
Tip 5: Hand over all your money
This is a timeless and universal travel safety tip that at first seems obvious but in the heat of a moment one that lots of people seem to ignore. In the extremely unlikely event that you’re approached by anybody that’s threatening you with violence give them whatever they ask for without resistance. Even if they want your bag and you think you’ll just reach into it and get out the money they clearly want, think again as this could be misconstrued for resistance or reaching for a weapon. In a foreign land, with unfamiliar surroundings, cultures and people it’s better to err on the side of caution than to try and hang on to your entirely replaceable possessions.
You already know to have fun, trust your instincts and use your judgement while you’re away on holiday or indulging in a longer trip. Without stating the obvious, the above list aims to condense all the best travel safety tips you’ll ever need – for any travel trip, anywhere. However if you really feel that there is something missing from this list, feel free to add to it in the comments section below.
Kirsty Stuart left full time employment last year in a perilous bid to write more and travel more. Her plan worked and these days she enjoys doing just that while also helping other writers and free-spirited entrepreneurs do the same via her website: Freelance Writers Online.
If you have any other travel safety tips to add to the list, please add them in the comments below.