Travelling is something that most people have a passion for and at Flight Centre, we are no different. The opportunity to learn about new cultures, discover new places, try new foods and add to the collection of memories we carry around with us is appealing for countless reasons. But there are many “cautionary tales” from fellow-travellers who have had trips that are “memorable” for all the wrong reasons. Here are some of the best safety tips you should keep in mind when travelling internationally.
Separate your money
Do not keep large sums of cash in the same place and all on you at once. In the unfortunate event that money is stolen from you, the only thing that could make the situation worse would be if all your money was stolen. While there is no justifying the theft of money, you will feel a lot better knowing it was only a fraction of your cash, and not all of it.
Understand the culture of the country you’re visiting
When travelling, it is important to be considerate and respectful of the cultures and traditions in the country you’re visiting. Some things that are legal in our country are banned around the world, and could land you in hot water; some things we’d consider fairly “innocent” could even land you in jail! Take the example of chewing gum in Singapore—it has been outlawed since 1992 and you can face hefty fines if you’re caught littering with it. Jaywalking is also illegal and jaywalkers can receive a R250 fine on the spot, a fine of up to over R13,000, or three months of jail time.
Keep track of local emergency numbers
Many holidays include adventure-seeking activities such as hiking and surfing (to name a few). We all like to go away thinking that we’re immune to accidents, and while there are stories of people who haven’t been so lucky, it’s easy to think “that will never happen to me”. That is why it is so important to be prepared and make sure all the local emergency numbers are stored on your phone in advance. In the case of an emergency, you might not have the time to Google the local ambulance, for example, but you could find yourself in a situation where time is of the essence.
Don’t draw attention to yourself as a tourist
There is a cliché about tourists and how easy they are to spot in a crowd. All you need to do is look for the person with a giant camera hanging around their neck, someone with a big backpack on or anyone confusingly combing over a giant map. While there is some humour to this, it is also very true, and something you should try to avoid. Unfortunately, tourists make easy targets, and walking around with a giant camera will make you stick out like a sore thumb. Keep valuables out of sight and packed away, and if you have a backpack with you keep it locked with a combination lock—this prevents the issue of losing your keys, and also ensures that people with sticky fingers don’t have easy access to your goods.
Bonus tip: make copies of your important documents
Although not entirely related to safety, this is an important tip to remember. This might seem like an obvious one, but if something happens to your passport or other documents while you’re in a new country, you will be relieved to know you’ve got certified documents as a back-up. If you happen to find yourself at a hospital or police station for whatever reason, the last thing you’ll want to be stressing about is a misplaced document, and certified copies will at least ensure that you’ve got your affairs in order.
These tips aren’t meant to discourage you from travelling; if anything, they should encourage you. Being a little street-smart and worldly-wise is just one aspect of travel, but coupled with all the other rewarding aspects of discovering new cultures, seeing new parts of the world, and trying new things, you will soon realise that it is not something to be feared but actually something to be embraced.
If you are looking for some ideas for your next international trip, here are our international travel deals, or speak to one of our skilled travel experts to help you plan your trip.