Tips for staying safe

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

Heading abroad this half term? Have fun but be safe. Here’s how

 

Splash out on a decent first night’s sleep
Sure half term can be an expensive time to travel but even if you’re budget is more push bike than Porsche, it’s worth splashing the cash and booking a respectable room for when your first touch down in a new town. Not only are you guaranteed a good night’s sleep but you’ll have somewhere safe to head after a long journey. If you’re strapped for cash, youth hostels are always a good bet – they’re generally clean, cheap and a great way to meet other travellers.

Don’t overshare on social media
Turns out that – in the age of social media – thiefs are using sites such as Twitter and Instagram to track the movements of potential vicitims. Reduce the risk of becoming a victim by only posting updates of your trip, once you have moved on from a particular destination. And never reveal details of your accommodation – this is an open invitation to be targeted.

Leave your expensive Apple products at home
A suitcase stuffed with expensive gadgets isn’t going to ‘make’ your trip. Quite the opposite: more stuff, simply equals more stress. Who wants to spend the week worrying about what might happen to your iPad et al? (Especially in  countries like Argentina where Apple products are banned and thereby in great demand). Leave the technology at home: there’s nothing more depressing than watching fellow travellers screen gazing while standing in front of one of the world’s natural wonders

Pack light
Take heed of Rick Steves’ words: “Travel like Ghandi, with simple clothes, open eyes and an uncluttered mind.”  Lay everything you’re thinking of packing, out on your bed. Done that? Good. Now half it. Don’t panic something just because you think you might need it. If genuinely y do find that you’re missing material possessions, panic not: you can probably pick them up abroad for a snip of what you’d pay back home.

Health is wealth
Make sure you are up-to-date with your jabs (you can check what you and your travelling companions need at www.masta.org). This is crucial. JAT is always amazed at the amount of meet people we meet on the road who aren’t aware that they’re travelling in a malaria (a potentially fatal disease) risk area. If you are, make sure you take the right antimalarial tablets at the right time – and that you finish the course.

Do your research – in advance
Find out all you can about the country you’re travelling to. For example it’s well known that it’s a punishable offence to drink, or to be under the influence of alcohol, in public in the UAE. However not everyone knows that the UAE and its Khaleeji brothers – take a bow Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Saudi Arabia – deem homosexual acts unlawful. (It’s illegal to be gay in 78 countries – the aforementioned included –  with lesbianism banned in 49). Our message? Do your homework before you travel.

Phone home
Or – if you’re flying solo – at least send an email or WhatsApp message to confirm that yes you are safe (we’re living in troubled, turbulent times) and where you should be. If the Wifi signal where you’re staying is strong enough, Skype video calls or FaceTime are a fabulous way of checking in with worried friends and family back home.

Carry a fake wallet
The risk of robbery is always rife when travelling so think about carrying a fake wallet containing an expired credit card and a few coins or small notes that that you can hand over (and hopefully fool) a potential robber with. And it goes without saying that the fewer flashy items you wear or carry, the less of a target you’ll be.

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