Saturday, June 27, 2009

How To Stay Safe On Your Travels

~ How To Stay Safe On Your Travels

by Bruce Haxton

Going off into the great beyond is always something to be giddy with excitement about but it's important to remember that the world is an unpredictable place. Wherever you travel, there are a few things to bear in mind to make sure you have a ball for all the right reasons. Here are a few travel tips on how to stay safe:

Before you go

It may seem like you're being a bit too sensible to be an intrepid explorer, but getting things sorted before you go will give you loads more peace of mind once you're there. Getting on with all that paperwork before you go will leave much more room for mountain climbing and deep sea diving.

Important documents

Take two photocopies of all of your important documents, including your passport, driving licence and insurance certificate. Keep a separate copy of each document in different bags and give a copy to a relative or friend, along with an itinerary of your trip and emergency contact number. Alternatively, you can store your documents through a secure online storage site.


It may seem like most obvious thing but it can get forgotten in all of the excitement; you should always travel with insurance that covers your possessions as well as safe-guarding you for any extreme sports and activities… yes, that includes bungee jumping off a bridge backwards in Queenstown!


Bite-sized travellers' first aid kits are widely available and a good idea. If you're on the contraceptive pill or any regular medication, take enough supplies with you. Don't forget to have any vaccinations you may need in plenty of time before your trip; if you're going to a Malaria area, you'll need to take anti-malarial medicine with you.


Carrying cards is safer than bundles of cash. Things can get lost so it's a good idea to spread your money across traveller's cheques, cards and a little cash. Jot down the cheque numbers before you go and make you keep them somewhere very safe.

Travel Guide

Knowledge is key and it's worth investing in a decent travel book, such as a Lonely Planet guide. Travel guides aren't just full of tourist sites, they have lots of local travel tips and now how that may prove to be very useful!


If you're planning to travel to one particular area, find out where the nearest embassy is and check out all of the details; what services they offer and their opening times before you go. Should the worst happen, this will be your lifeline.

Travelling in the European Union?

If you're from the UK and travelling in the EU, you're entitled to a free European Health Insurance Card for free or discounted emergency care.

While you're there

You're flitting off to lots of different countries so you need to be extra vigilant and look after yourself and your belongings. Staying safe while you're abroad is easy when you know how.

Personal possessions

Invest in padlocks and travel with safe products. Keep valuables in a secure storage area wherever possible or keep them out of sight, and wear a money belt well-hidden under your clothing.

Eating and drinking

Eating and drinking new things in different countries can give your tummy its own culture shock! The best way to avoid this is to check whether it's safe to drink the local tap water. If not, only drink bottled water and steer clear of iced drinks. Also, be wary of food such as salads, non-peeling fruit and vegetables, and foods that have been kept warm.

Foreign customs

When in a foreign country it's important to abide by their law. Try not to stand out too much like a sore thumb with loud clothing. As a visitor you should respect the local culture.

Safety in numbers

If you're careful and sensible, travelling solo is ok. Don't walk out alone in the dark and make sure someone in-country or at home knows your whereabouts. It's great to make new friends, but be careful not to be too trusting.

Driving abroad

From safari trucks to kicking up the dust on a trail bike in Cambodia, you need to be prepared. Make sure you have a valid driving licence and insurance cover for driving abroad - check whether you need a Green Card for the country you're travelling to, as this offers cheap insurance. You might need an International Driving Permit.

Cover up

The sun and creepy crawlies can be a pain in tropical climates. Wear a high SPF cream to avoid sunburn, and use an insect repellent containing DEET before covering up at dawn and dusk to keep the bugs at bay!

Want some extra tips?

Find out more travel advice relevant to you at

About the Author

Bruce Haxton writes: I'm totally passionate about travel, it's been my life and work for a good few years! My travel adventures haven't really been about seeing monuments etc but far more about people and getting off the beaten track. I would like to share my many experiences and offer a little advice if I can to fellow travellers or anyone who is just about to set off on a life changing trip!

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