Travel is all about adventure – delving into new destinations and situations that will test your comfort, morals and limits. And with all the enriching experiences comes an increased exposure to unexpected dangers and travel safety hazards. But, with a little careful planning, there is no reason why wandering the world should end in disaster. Here are my top five travel safety tips to ensure you get home in one piece…whenever that might be.
1. Check government travel advice and warnings
Most governments issue travel advice and warnings on their website, notifying residents of the current risks, unrest, disease outbreaks or other issues that might be currently affecting your destination. While these are often on the cautious side, it is a good idea to take a quick look at what they are saying and any regions that you should really steer clear of. There are plenty of times i’ve travelled to countries that my government has warned against, but the websites do allow you to make informed choices. It is a good idea to also keep in mind that these warnings may affect your travel insurance policy and coverage.
2. Copy your travel documents
When travelling your passport becomes your lifeline and, together with visas, credit cards and travel insurance documents, needs to be accessible throughout your trip. So, just incase you lose them or get separated from your luggage, you should always photocopy these documents as proof of their existence. In addition to photocopies, a good idea is to scan all these documents and email them to yourself so that you can access them anywhere, even if the photocopies go missing!
3. Splash out on travel insurance
Even if you are not travelling with many valuables, travel insurance is a necessary expense when heading overseas, primarily for unexpected medical costs which can quickly escalate drastically if you don’t qualify for local health coverage in your destination country. From basic backpacker policies to full coverage, there are lots of different options and levels of cover to suit all budgets.
4. Get vaccinated
While in much of the developed world we live in a disease-free bubble, the same can’t be said for the rest of the world. While you may not be willing to take the risk and not get some vaccinations, others are mandatory before entering some countries (such as Yellow Fever, and you won’t be admitted without it. Some vaccination schedules take weeks to administer so you need to plan well in advance of your departure date and can obtain further info at the World Health Organization website at http://www.who.it/countries/en which provides recommendations and travel health precautions across the world.
5. Understand the local laws and customs
It’s always a good idea to do some research about the local laws and customs ofyour destination country before you leave. While you may believe a substance or behaviour to be harmless or legal, it may not be the case in other countries and could see you end up with legal consequences. While you are in another country, you need to abide by their laws (whether you like it or not) and there is little your home consulate can do to assist you if you end up in an overseas jail for breaking them.