Planning on a solo trip this year? Here are the key safety tips to bear in mind.
Holidays are what keep us going throughout the year; we yearn for them like we do for the season’s must-have fashion item or the way we crave chocolate. Whether you’re planning a solo overseas vacation or heading on a road trip with friends, you need to make sure that you’re up to speed on all the necessary safety precautions so you can relax and enjoy the break you deserve.
If you’re flying abroad:
- Surf the net and read up on the security situation, as well as local restrictions and customs in the country you are visiting. If you are aware of the risks that are most likely to affect you during your travel, you will be in a much better position to respond appropriately.
- Always make sure you know how to make an international telephone call from the country you are visiting. Have a call card handy and write down the dialling codes. Also keep important local emergency numbers, such as the police and your national embassy, on you at all times. Compile this list before you leave so you have it on hand when you arrive.
- Photocopy your ID, passport, driver’s license, itinerary, flight tickets and emergency contact information. Keep a copy in your luggage and give one to a friend or relative.
- Buy travel insurance that will cover lost or stolen belongings, and unexpected changes to your itinerary.
- Arrange to have easy access to backup funds via a friend or relative at home.
If you’re travelling locally:
- Make sure you have a map or GPS and you know how to get to your destination and how long it’s scheduled to take you.
- Ensure that your car is up to the trip, in other words, that it has been serviced recently and is roadworthy.
- Wear your seat belt and make sure all of your passengers buckle up.
- Avoid drinking and driving.
- It is recommended that you take a 15-minute break every two hours to rest your eyes and refresh yourself, but stop and take a break as soon as you feel tired, even if it’s sooner.
- Don’t drive for more than 6 hours in a day.
Get sussed on safety:
- Think in-depth about your safety and make a personal plan. In fact, have a Plan A and a Plan B. You can never be too prepared for the “what ifs.”
- Always be alert to your surroundings and the potential agenda of others. Avoid areas where there may be an increased risk.
- If travelling to an isolated area, join a tour group instead.
- Use only registered taxi services and approved or recommended public transport.
- Travel with less stuff; it means less to keep track of and less that can be stolen.
- Carry only the amount of cash you will need for one day. If you use credit cards, carry only one, and keep the remainder of your cash and cards in a hotel safe.
- Do not “advertise” fancy cameras, designer items or other expensive possessions.
- If you think someone is following you, change direction and go somewhere where there are lots of people around, or head straight to the police station.
- Create a network of contacts within your family and friends who can offer advice or help when you are faced with an emergency. Always carry their contact details on your person wherever you go.
- Trust your instincts and don’t get so caught up in with the hustle and bustle that you are not aware of little hints that can tip you off to potential dangers.
- Research any health concerns for your destination before you travel. Are you at risk for contracting malaria or swine flu? Make sure you are aware of what you can pick up.
- Ensure you receive appropriate vaccinations prior to travel. Some countries may not permit you to enter without proof of vaccination.
- Be aware that your medical aid may not be accepted by medical professionals at your destination so contact your medical aid to find out about coverage abroad before you leave.
And lastly, remember that the object of a holiday is to infuse your soul with energy and a renewed sense of spirit and adventure. Go out and have a ball but take care of yourself while you do. The only holiday regrets you should have is that it’s over too soon. Bon voyage!
Did you find these tips useful? What other travel questions would you like us to answer? Tell us in the comments box below.