As the world opens up again, travel is one of the things we’ve missed most during the last 18 months of dealing with this global pandemic. We could never have dreamed of a world where international travel was prohibited by law, but that’s what happened. As much as booking travel does seem somewhat intimidating, the urge to get out there and experience new things is tipping the balance in that argument. We must not forget to be mindful of our safety when traveling, especially in a new and uncertain world. Even seemingly familiar European destinations can be intimidating.
The number one piece of advice anyone can take when traveling overseas is to be sure to do your research. It is common knowledge that holiday apartments often do not live up to the advertisements shown. There are numerous examples of slick holiday brochures offering luxury accommodation. But once the holidaymakers arrive, they are confronted with tiny, dirty, and often poorly maintained property. The good news is that it’s much easier than it used to be to weed out and identify these bad apples. You can be sure that any resort that behaves in this way will have terrible reviews on sites such as Trip Advisor or Google, amongst others.
Much of this article will go on to discuss how to avoid getting into issues. But often, there are things we cannot control or predict. For this reason, it is essential to secure good insurance before we travel. A good policy will cover such occurrences as injury or illness, lost possessions, or even cancelation. One point to be specifically aware of is that virtually all insurers will not pay out for cancelations due to COVID-19 outbreaks. Often you may find that travel insurance can be included with other products, such as premium bank accounts. If this is the case, you may find it to make you considerable savings. You should carefully read what is included in these policies to ensure they cover everything you require.
Personal Protection Items
We should be aware of what might be advisable to carry on your person to best protect yourself in the event of an attack or a mugging. You will almost certainly not be allowed to carry a firearm, so you must find other ways of deterring would-be attackers. You could keep sabre pepper gel on you; this will hinder any aggressive individual intending to do you harm. Other such items include tazers and also classic attack alarms.
Taxis & Other Transport
Using an unfamiliar transport system can be difficult when in a foreign country. It is essential to know what the laws are regarding taxis and other private car services. Usually, there is an official registration system for drivers. You should never accept a lift from a driver or vehicle outside of this system. Find out where buses, underground, and tram services go and when they do so. It’s essential to know the timetable and if services stop at a particular time, and if that schedule is the same on all days. As well as knowing when the services are in operation, it is good to check if certain lines or stations have a reputation for being unsafe at certain times. If you are unsure, it would be wise to avoid these stops, take alternative transport, or leave earlier.
Check Government Advice
We are all becoming used to the government giving advice on which countries are open to visitors from which other countries depending on the rate of COVID-19 infections, hospital rates, deaths, and vaccination rates. But it’s also important to remember governments have always issued travel advice based on a whole range of issues. It may be that certain countries are hit by war, natural disasters, or other issues. Paying close attention to these statements can be useful in deciding if the risk of traveling to a certain area is worth it. In more extreme cases, travel may be prohibited, or our government may advise all US nationals to leave, even aiding do so, if necessary. Also, check your travel insurance, as it may be invalid if you choose to travel against government advice.
Secure Your Valuables
When deciding what to take with you when traveling, you need to decide what is necessary to bring and what is not. Ideally, we could take the advice of not bringing anything of significant value, but that’s not particularly realistic. You wouldn’t go without your phone, nice clothes, or even your watch or jewelry. One thing we can do is choose to wear or carry on these items rather than pack them in your hold luggage. What we should do, though is not to take unnecessary items or those that are significant to us, such as family heirlooms. If you must have something valuable, then considering having it couriered to your hotel to avoid taking it on the plane. Secure luggage is another concern; firm cases with strong locks are a wise investment.
Where to Eat
Where to eat is a key decision for any vacationer. If you choose poorly, you may be lucky enough to get away with an unappetizing meal. However, it could be a lot worse; eating at a restaurant where poor hygiene could result in food poisoning is no laughing matter. One tip is to eat where locals are eating; a sure sign of a good eatery is one where local diners give it repeat custom.
Be Aware of Scams
It’s always a good idea to be aware of scammers, but one time when you are most likely to be a victim of such behavior is when you are on vacation. Criminals prey on tourists; whether it’s simple pickpocketing or something more elaborate, you need to be on your toes. Such scams include fake police officers asking for illegitimate fines, dodgy fake taxis, tickets for events or venues that don’t exist. Keep your wits about you and only use official or licensed services; if unsure, check online reviews to see how genuine something is.