Nobody wants to think the worst when they go away on vacation. We all want to relax and have a good time so it’s a good idea to get the worrying and logistics out of the way before we depart. Going to a foreign country can leave us vulnerable to crime as we might naïve or unsure of our surroundings. There are also other dangers, such as contracting an illness or accidents on transportation. Whilst worrying about these could prevent us from undertaking any travel, we can all still enjoy the wonders of the world by following a few useful tips.
If you can, pre-book your seats closer to the rear of the plane and choose an aisle seat so you can depart quicker if you need to. Don’t choose a seat more than five rows from an emergency exit. Statistically, the rear of the aircraft is the safest place to be and being closer to an exit means you can exit faster should the need arise. The key is to not fear travel but there’s no harm in being prepared.
The most common problem that travelers face is diarrhoea and stomach upsets caused by food and water bacteria. However, this can normally be avoided by practising good hygiene and watching what you eat and drink. Be sure to check with your doctor if you are traveling to a country that might require vaccinations. It’s a good idea to take a basic first aid kit with you which you can tailor to meet the requirements of whatever environment you are traveling to.
Bear in mind that some countries don’t have the strict laws that we are used to when it comes to road safety. In many developing nations, seat belts are not required and the rules of the road are very different. Avoid driving at night where street lighting might not be present and some vehicles won’t have working lights. Road deaths are very common in countries like Africa and Thailand so don’t leave your good sense back at the hotel!
Some excellent advice is to never take a room on the ground floor of a hotel as these are far easier for criminals to access. On first arriving at your accommodation, be sure to know where your luggage is at all times, as many visitors have luggage stolen on check-in. Also, be aware of anyone hanging around, standing too close or appearing to listen in on your conversation.
#5 Outside The Hotel
If you’re traveling alone or are unsure of the local area then try to avoid walking out after dark. Stay alert when you’re traveling on buses or in taxis, at ATMs or parking lots. It’s easy to be caught off guard when we’re relaxed and focused on having fun but the same rules you apply to safety where you live should also apply wherever you are on vacation.
Be sure to use the hotel safe so you’re not carrying more cash than you need to when out and about. Using a credit card is a safer and easier option. Think about how you look when you’re out. Does your outfit and demeanour scream tourist? Some countries require that women cover up more than they do in Western countries and too much flesh on show might mean something completely different in the local culture you’re visiting.
Try to avoid drinking too much and losing awareness of your surroundings. Alcohol increases our confidence and relaxes our natural alertness, which could leave you in a vulnerable position when it comes to money or personal welfare. It pays to be wary of people buying you drinks also as their intentions might not be honorable. Avoid being tempted by any form of recreational drugs as the jail terms in foreign countries can be very long and harsh.
#8 Avoid Fraud
Only carry out currency changes with recognised banks or your hotel. If paying for goods with a credit card, make sure it remains in your line of sight the whole time. If a local vendor offers to convert amounts then politely refuse as you’ll be sure to get a better rate from your credit card company and the vendor might be trying to cheat you.
#9 Don’t Get Lost
Make sure you always have a local map on you, especially if you’re new to the area. Not knowing how to return to your accommodation and not speaking enough of the local language can make it a nightmare scenario, leaving you vulnerable and confused.
#10 Female Travelers
Women should be aware of their surroundings, particularly if they are traveling alone. Be sure to keep your personal information and room number guarded. If you want to, you can request a room close to reception, not on the ground floor and never at the rear of a property. Use the chain on your door and the peephole to verify anyone who knocks on your door and if you’ve arranged to meet anyone, do it in a busy public place and not your room.
#11 Basic Law Knowledge
Having a rudimentary understanding of the laws of the land can help you to avoid falling foul of the law. Many travelers find themselves in hot water due to a misunderstanding or complete lack of knowledge of what is deemed acceptable and what constitutes a crime whilst abroad. For example, in some countries drinking alcohol on the street is an offence so don’t let the good times impair your judgement.
#12 Seek Advice From Your Hotel
The staff at your accommodation should be able to provide with all kinds of helpful local advice to ensure you have an enjoyable and stress-free vacation. Ask if there are certain areas that should be avoided, where are the safest places for tourists and check about local laws and regulations. If you’re unsure of how to get somewhere then ask for written directions. It’s also a great idea to write down the name, address and contact number of the hotel in case you do get lost.