With COVID-19 restrictions now lifted in most countries, both international and domestic travel are back in full swing.
If you’ve been longing for a much-deserved holiday with friends and family, there is no better time to travel than now.
With that said, safety should always be at the forefront for any traveller.
Keep in mind these 10 tips to help you safeguard your next holiday experience.
1. Travel insurance is a must
If you are travelling overseas, it is vital that you purchase travel insurance. One of the main reasons for having travel insurance is to compensate against accident or medical treatment costs that you may incur during travel.
Depending on the type of coverage you choose, your travel insurance may also cover lost baggage, travel cancellations, credit card fraud, theft and/or natural disasters.
Due to the pandemic, many countries will require travellers to also purchase additional COVID travel insurance.
When choosing travel insurance, you have the option of choosing between the following plans: comprehensive cover, basic travel, or complimentary credit card cover that is offered with many credit card deals.
2. Do your research
Few things are more exciting than exploring a foreign land, but doing your research on your destination is key to keeping yourself safe on your journey.
It’s a good idea to read traveller reviews and consult with locals for information about the safest neighbourhoods to explore.
You should also be wary of where you choose to stay, and whenever possible, opt for accommodation in an area with low incidences of crime.
3. Keep family and friends in the loop
Regardless of whether you’re embarking on an overnight jaunt or a month-long international journey, it is always a good idea to keep your family and friends in the loop.
Always be sure to share flight information, accommodation details and a copy of your itinerary with your close friends and loved ones so that they are able to keep tabs about your whereabouts.
This way, should disaster strike, you will be able to have someone who can act immediately to aid, assist and locate you.
4. Avoid public Wi-Fi
This tip is one that may be slightly controversial, especially if you are someone who is looking to save money on a mobile plan.
Many people opt to use public Wi-Fi instead of purchasing a SIM card, but if possible, it’s smart to avoid it. Unfortunately, public Wi-Fi makes it easy for thieves to hack into the information stored on your mobile phone or laptop.
If you require wireless Internet service, set up a virtual private network (VPN) or hotspot that will allow you to access the Internet securely while travelling.
To do this, you will need to purchase a local SIM card at any telecom store or at the airport upon arrival.
5. Wear a comfortable mask
Although the majority of countries have opened up, COVID-19 still poses a threat to many. Therefore, it is important that you wear a fitted facemask or face covering in the airport and during your flights.
This will likely be the longest stretch you’ve had to wear a mask, so be sure to pack one that fits well and is comfortable.
For extra precaution, wear your mask during your travels in order to safeguard yourself from potentially catching the virus overseas and bringing it back home to your family.
6. Try not to stand out
Tourists carrying big amounts of cash or wearing fancy jewellery are especially vulnerable to crimes, so be sure to avoid standing out by dressing discreetly.
Do not wear any expensive jewellery or designer bags when you travel in order to blend in as much as possible.
Opt for inconspicuous clothing and consider investing in protective clothing and gear that will make it more difficult for pickpockets to steal money and other personal items.
Top tip: Be discreet when using your map and approach people carefully if you need to ask for directions.
7. Password protect your devices
If you haven’t already password protected your smartphone and other devices, now is the time to do so.
Your phone stores a copious amount of sensitive data such as your credit card details, passwords and emails, so be sure to safeguard this information at all costs.
Create a strong, unique password and change it regularly during your trip. For an additional layer of security, enable location tracking on your phone and install a data destruction software so that you can erase sensitive data on your phone if it is stolen.
8. Safeguard your hotel room
Even if you’re residing in a 5-star hotel, there are steps you can take to make your room safer.
Remember to always lock and deadbolt the door (both when you are inside the room and when you head out) and to keep your windows shut.
If there is a safe provided, be sure to use it to lock up valuables such as cash, passports, jewellery and electronics.
To add an additional layer of protection, invest in a hotel safe lock – a special lock and strap device that allows you to secure the safe with your own padlock.
9. Make a copy of your passport
Having a photocopy of your passport is always advised as it allows you to have some form of identification should your passport get lost or stolen.
As a general rule, carry a copy of your passport while you are sightseeing and leaving the original locked in your hotel room.
Do note that you will not be able to fly home with just a copy of your passport, so be sure to contact your home country’s local embassy if you do end up losing the original copy while overseas.
10. Trust your instincts
Last but not least, always trust your instincts. The old saying ‘trust your gut’ refers to trusting these feelings of intuition, often as a way to stay true to yourself.
If there is a person or a group of people who seem suspicious to you on your travels, there is most likely a good reason for it.
Honour your intuition because it will always keep you safe.
You can never be too careful, especially when it comes to travelling. Now that you are equipped with these essential safety tips for travelling, it’s time to get out and explore the world!