Safety first- Your GTG’s top 10 ways to stay safe while you travel
Greetings globetrotters from an unusually stormy NSW. When it comes to travel , risks to our personal security seem to be the biggest deterrent and the biggest ‘what if?’ at the back of our minds. While we have limited control over general situations there are certain things we can do to put our mind at ease and help us put the pieces back together more quickly in the wake of a mishap. This week we have a look at ten basic steps to a safe trip.
- Make sure someone at home knows roughly where you are
Not to sound like your mother or anything but sometimes it can be really handy if she knows where you are, or at least where you intend to be (we all know things change), well your mother or someone else who worries about you appropriately.
- Split your money up
So here we’re suggesting a mix of cash and card, possibly a cash card separate from your bank account. Some access to money (cash or card) should be with you and some should be kept in a safe or locker. You may even like the idea of putting your allocated travel funds in a new bank account that isn’t linked to finds you might have for other purposes.
- Better the devil you know-stick with others at the beginning and get a few opinions
While you’re getting the hang of how things work in the place you’ve just arrived, it can really pay off to tag along with a group or couple of lone travellers that know handy tips like the short cuts home from the bar or what day is free to get into the national museum. As a further plus they will likely have heard of any recent troubles travellers have experienced in that area so you will be able to make smarter choices.
- Read reviews and follow the news
When it comes to reviews, the main kind your GTG is referring to are of places to stay and the things you can find out from opening a guidebook to the relevant section. In the way of news, things like outbreaks of devastating disease, natural disasters, political conflict and many others can spring up at short notice. Knowing about these issues we may find ourselves tempted to alter our travel plans, either to head in the opposite direction, or ot do what is in our capacity to help.
- Have copies of all your important documents and passport-sized photos with you- use them instead of the original where possible
For a number of purposes, close enough is good enough. If all else goes the way of catastrophe, at least you can start to rebuild your certified self with a copy of the information shown on the original documents. In some cases, a photocopy of your passport will satisfy as ID when you need it, allowing you to leave your originals safely locked away somewhere. Please bear in mind separate is the key word here also, bags get lost, lockers/safes can be unpredictably emptied at our inconvenience, case closed.
- Stick with a local/ trust a local’s advice
Well, more specifically trust a local you know. In an ideal world you will have met someone from the place you plan to visit who can steer you in the right direction. Perhaps they may also be someone that works in the place you are staying that you form a friendship with. In the case of someone you just met on the street perhaps a little less trust might be advisable.
- Travel Insurance
In this case your GTG is referring to financial security. Whether it be to replace a missed flight, lost luggage or to cover an un expected doctor’s visit, without financial support travel insurance is totally recommended as a plan B. Of course it’s always advisable to read the fine print and check what’s included.
- Register with DFAT
At least in the case of Australian travellers, our Department of Foreign Affairs And Trading (DFAT) is relatively prepared to keep an eye on us. On their website (http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/) you can officially register your trip, indicating where you plan to be and where you plan to be there. You may ask why this is necessary when intelligence services have access to our every move but let me just say, unless you plan on getting into trouble with the law that would be the quickest way to get help in you need it.
- Buy your tickets with a travel agent
This is one of the rare times in your adult life you can throw your hands up and everything becomes someone else’s problem. Take your opportunity and run with it. This will cover you for things like last minute changes in flight times, flight connections and often going through an agent can take care of your insurance at the same time.
There are plenty more benefits here than safety. This is your number one way not to come across as the a$%hole globetrotter before you’ve even spoken a word. You’re welcome. For everyone’s sake, where possible avoid the douch-baggery of expensive clothes, overt designer gear, bling (let’s face it, it just gets in the way anyway), flashing your cash haphazardly, and the likes, just leave it out.
So there you have it, safety in a top ten. The one noteable absence in this case being vaccinations which for many trips are irrelevant. On that note, happy and safe travels, untill next week.