by Bessie Hassan
International travel is always exciting. It’s a learning experience, an eye-opener and a great way to immerse yourself in culture that is somewhat different to your own. But, as with all travel experiences, it’s important to know how to find that balance between having fun and staying safe. No matter where you are, you need to keep your wits about you. Here are some top tips for staying alert overseas.
Although it might seem obvious to do your research before you go anywhere, this doesn’t just mean Googling the location and reading one or two articles about it. You need to do some in-depth research about the place you’re headed. Jump online and check the country’s:
Even in highly westernised countries, it’s likely that you’ll find information that may alert you to something you didn’t know yet. Check out government website Smartraveller for official advice.
When walking around a new city, it can often be very apparent that you’re a tourist. Think about how you come across to locals. For example, carrying a suitcase around can make you look vulnerable and lost, which can attract scammers and thieves. Consider something safer, like a cross-body bag. Also, don’t leave valuables such as your passport and wallet lying around your hotel or hostel. Lock them in the safe if one is provided. When you’re out in public, don’t leave your possessions out on tables or anywhere that another person can easily grab them. Keep your money and passport close to you at all times.
Travel insurance is often forgotten in the rush of planning your trip, but it’s definitely a necessity for overseas travel. It should not only cover you for accommodation and flight cancellations, but also theft and extreme weather conditions that result in travel delays. This means that you’ll have peace of mind and know that if something does go wrong, you’ll be okay. Make sure you compare policies online so that you get the best cover for your needs.
You won’t always be travelling with a group, but if you can, try to meet up with people overseas or head out at night with someone you’ve met at your hotel or hostel. This means you’ll have company and you’ll probably be safer than if you were alone. If you don’t know anyone else, make sure you know the emergency contact details of the relevant police.
And my final tip for you? Enjoy yourself. It’s no fun travelling when you’re anxious. If you’re aware of your surroundings and take practical steps to be safe, there’s no reason why you can’t have a great trip.
Bessie Hassan is a Travel Insurance Expert at finder.com.au.
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