fNone of us like thinking about worst case scenarios, especially when it comes to traveling. We expect to have fun! However, it’s smart to hope for the best but plan for the worst. Especially when you’re far from home and in a completely new place. Here are some travel safety tips to be aware of when you’re on your travels.
Illness and disease
There are lots of ways you can get ill in another country. It’s often a result of being exposed to new bugs and bacteria that your body isn’t used to. The water might not have been treated to the same standards as to where you grew up. Even if you don’t drink it directly, things like fruit could have been washed in it.
Also, illnesses such as rabies are common in some parts of the world which can be picked up from wild animals or stray dogs and cats. Mosquitoes can carry all kinds of dangerous illnesses, especially in tropical or wet countries at certain times of the year.
It’s important to do your travel safety research before you go. Check if there are any vaccinations that are recommended. And prepare against things like mosquitoes by purchasing repellent and wearing the right clothing. Always avoid wild and stray animals when you go away, and be careful of what you’re eating and drinking. For example, avoid ice in places where you don’t trust the water. Knowledge is key, it really can help to keep you safe.
Some parts of the world experience frequent fatal traffic accidents as the laws of the road are much more relaxed. High speeds, congestion and less strict driving examinations for people to get their license mean the roads can be incredibly dangerous.
Sometimes when you travel, hiring a car is the best way to get around. But in other places, you’re best avoiding it like the plague. It’s safer to stick to either taxis or public transport – depending on which are the safest for that place.
Many tourists every year are injured or killed on mopeds and quad bikes. This is something they’re being warned against. It’s worth having to think about how you’ll get around a place before you leave, and choose the safest option. It’s as simple as learning which way to look before you cross the street.
It makes sense that if you are visiting a busy city that you wouldn’t hire a car due to the congestion or learn how to drive a scooter, but there are other places that should be avoided too because of the situation with drivers and the roads.
Accidents when traveling are common, as we tend to be out and about more. We’re out with adventurous activities (often things we’ve never tried before). From breaking bones in skiing runs to falls during a backpacking trip… You might get hurt in a helicopter or in a paragliding accident or just cutting your foot on a rock in the sea.
When it comes down to travel safety, we’re all surrounded by risk every day. But we shouldn’t live our lives wrapped up in cotton wool. We can’t miss out on opportunities because we’re scared something might happen- however we can (and should) take calculated risks. This involves preparing and not putting yourself in unnecessary danger.
Make sure your travel insurance covers you for the kinds of activities you’re going to be doing. Read the small print. Ensure you know what number to dial for the emergency services just in case. And if you’re going to be doing things like backpacking, bring a good first aid kit with the essentials. If you’re volunteering or working abroad and are injured due to neglect of the company, injury lawyers can help you get what you’re entitled to. But of course, prevention is always going to be better than cure, so take reasonable care.
Earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis and more. There are all kinds of natural disasters that happen across the globe. Before deciding on a destination, check to see if any of these are likely to be a problem while you’re away. The time of year will usually come into play. Have a look at past years in that month and see if there are any major weather issues you’re likely to come up against.
Political instability and war
Some parts of the world are rife with war or the risk of it. Political instability and other factors mean there are certain places that should be avoided. The Gov.Uk website has a travel safety checking tool where you can search places to find if there’s any risk. They give a detailed analysis of what is going on and what level the risk is.
For example, if you were considering Mexico you’ll see that there’s no recent terrorism affecting the country but protests regularly affect parts of the country, and these should be avoided by tourists. You can also check the U.S. Travel Adviosry whehre they specify which parts of a country are safe for tourits.
It’s worth knowing a little bit of background and current events to understand what your risks are when visiting a place. In many cases, tourist areas will be safe but you’ll need to be careful of venturing out too far on your own. You might need to stick to your resort and trusted areas nearby and not end up wandering down any back streets.
Violence and theft
Speaking of violence, this is another thing to be wary of when you’re away. Violence and theft can happen anywhere, busy cities can be particularly prone to these crimes. Pickpockets are particularly adept in Europe targetting tourists all the time.
However, deprived areas can also pose a risk as people are stealing just to be able to live. Never wear or carry valuables with you, and use a prepaid debit card where possible. Carry as little physical cash as possible. If you’re robbed, you can cancel a prepaid debit card (and they’ll only be able to spend the amount that’s on there). But with cash, it’s gone forever.
What issues do you worry about when you’re away? What kinds of travel safety precautions do you take?