There are plenty of things to bear in mind when you are going travelling or going on holiday, and one of them is your safety. Whilst it’s not something that many of us give much thought to, it’s always worth taking a few precautions…
Here are a few tips for minimising the risk whilst on holiday (some of them may seem like common sense, but when we escape and let our hair down, common sense sometimes goes out of the window!):
- Check the FCO website before you go – it gives invaluable advice on the security situation in every country.
- Check your guidebook – they usually detail and health and safety issues in your destination.
- Heed local advice – locals know what areas are unsafe (particularly for tourists).
- Be aware of your surroundings – if you feel uncomfortable, do something about it!
- If you are travelling as a couple or a group, split your money between you so if one person loses theirs, you still have some to fall back on. You can also leave some hidden in your hotel room…
- Look out for each other – there is definitely safety in numbers.
- Try not to look like a tourist – walking around with an expensive camera round your neck whilst consulting a map makes you stand out as a potential target.
- If possible, keep your valuables hidden. Don’t wear your very expensive jewellery in a country where there is a lot of poverty – firstly, you make yourself into an obvious target for thieves and, secondly, it is a little insensitive.
- Keep important numbers to hand (and in several different places) – insurance company, embassy, home emergency contact number, etc.
- If you are travelling alone, let someone at your hotel or hostel know where you are going… especially if you are going somewhere isolated.
- And, something that a lot of people don’t think about, don’t take risks you wouldn’t at home! I wouldn’t walk round in many big cities in the UK at night on my own, so why would I think it was safe on holiday? We’re more relaxed on holiday (or we’ve drank a little more than we usually would!!) and sometimes put ourselves in situations we would not at home…
Avoiding illness/injury on holiday is a different matter, but still one where you can lessen the risk to some extent:
- Make sure your travel insurance covers you for any activities you plan to do – if you are planning anything out of the ordinary you will probably need to declare it/pay an extra premium to be covered.
- Try to eat at busy restaurants – if a restaurant is busy it is usually a good sign! It also means food will be being freshly cooked to keep up with the demand…
- Avoid ice in your drink at cheaper establishments – tap water is a fairly common cause of stomach upsets on holiday.
- Watch out for undercooked food or food which has been out on a hotplate for a long time (ie on the buffet) – this is particularly important with meat.
- If you do get an upset stomach, make sure you drink plenty to avoid dehydration, particularly in hot countries. It’s always worth taking rehydration salts, just in case.
But, to be honest, most trips pass by without any issues at all… during my many years of travelling, I have very rarely encountered anything more serious than the odd stomach upset, lost item, etc. However, if something does happen, it can ruin your entire holiday so it’s better to take a few simple precautions. Having said that, don’t let the fear of a mishap stop you from enjoying your holiday… because, in reality, the chances of you encountering anything worse than a lost camera whilst travelling are pretty slim!
Have any tips of your own? Why not share them with me…