Travelling with confidence: A comprehensive guide to secure and enjoyable holidays

The holidays are knocking at our doors, and everyone is looking forward to kicking back and jetting off somewhere new. However, it’s important to avoid getting so caught up in the joys of the season that we forget to prioritise safety.


2min read

Published 29 November 2023


The holidays are knocking at our doors, and everyone is looking forward to kicking back and jetting off somewhere new. However, it’s important to avoid getting so caught up in the joys of the season that we forget to prioritise safety.

Staying street-smart about your holiday plans is a real game-changer. It’s all in the finer details, like thinking twice about what you’re sharing on Instagram before you take off or being mindful of your safety habits in your hotel. These small choices can make a huge difference in keeping your holiday smooth and secure.

Here’s Flight Centre South Africa’s go-to guide for safe, stress-free travel.

In this blog

Smart moves before you travel

Nowadays, social media reigns supreme – but oversharing can be a faux pas and a safety hazard. Before departing for that long-anticipated holiday, it’s wise to avoid broadcasting every detail of the journey online. Real-time updates about travel plans or locations can attract unwanted attention. And snapping pics of passports or boarding passes? Big no-no. These images could accidentally reveal personal details, making them fodder for fraudsters. Instead, save those beautiful holiday photos and stories for a post-trip share-fest. It’s safer to keep the world guessing about your current location.

What about the home front? Securing your property while you’re away is obviously a vital step of pre-travel planning. Sure, having someone look after the pets and plants is a start, but there’s more that can be done. Using smart tech to control lights and gadgets remotely can give the illusion that someone’s home – making it less likely for criminals to try their luck.

Also, a little neighbourhood solidarity goes a long way – setting up a watch system or asking a neighbour to keep an eye out can be really helpful.


Navigating travel and arrival with ease

Smart travel involves more than just packing the right suitcase. When dealing with money during transit, using credit cards with travel alerts is a savvy move. This approach makes holiday spending more secure and can help you keep track of expenses, especially with those sneaky foreign transaction fees. Speaking of fees, try to avoid those high-fee currency exchanges at airports – they’re rarely a good deal.

Knowing your way around the local public transport system is another travel hack worth considering. A bit of research into routes and ticket systems can save a lot of hassle and confusion and shield you from potential scams.

Then there’s the art of being an ‘invisible traveller’. Standing out as a tourist can make you a target for criminals, so getting a feel for the local dress codes and cultural norms is key.

Street smarts for tech and awareness in new places

Navigating new places also means being tech-savvy on the move. Public Wi-Fi might be tempting, but it’s mostly unsecured and risky. A smart move? Using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) on your devices to keep your digital info safe. And let’s talk about digital pickpocketing – it’s a real thing where someone uses electronic means to steal information from credit cards, passports or other documents equipped with RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology without any physical contact at all. To protect against sneaky RFID scanning, consider using RFID-blocking wallets or cases for your passports and credit cards.

Now, about keeping your wits about you. Most South Africans, used to being vigilant due to a high crime rate back home, are naturals at this. But it’s crucial to keep situational awareness up even when on holiday. Paying attention to your surroundings and trusting your gut are vital. It’s about finding that sweet spot between being alert and not overly paranoid.

And when it comes to money matters? Variety is the spice of life – and safety. Travel with different payment options like cash, cards, and digital apps.


Choosing your accommodation wisely

Selecting where to stay is more than a matter of comfort and luxury. A smart traveller looks beyond a property’s star rating and digs into its security features. Does the hotel have a 24-hour front desk service? Are there surveillance cameras around? What about room safes?

When vetting potential properties, don’t rely solely on the hotels’ websites. Scour recent guest reviews for any red flags regarding security or, conversely, for positive comments about the property’s safety features.

Once checked in, it’s a good idea to establish a room safety ritual:

  • Make sure all locks are in working order.
  • Store valuables in the room safe.
  • Always use the peephole before opening the door to anyone.

These habits, while small, can greatly enhance personal security during a stay.


Engaging respectfully with local communities

When travelling to new destinations, interacting with locals is an integral part of the experience. A great starting point is to arm yourself with basic phrases in the local language. This is useful in emergency situations and also shows respect for the local culture.

Being culturally aware is equally important. Understanding and respecting the local customs, laws, and etiquette is essential. This respect ensures interactions with locals are positive and meaningful. It also helps avoid legal issues or inadvertently offending local sensibilities.

Emergency preparedness and wrapping up your travel plans

Being prepared for emergencies is a critical aspect of travel. It’s wise to have a list of essential local contacts, like the nearest police station, embassy, and consulate, and to understand what services they offer. Keeping a physical copy of these contacts is always wise, as it ensures access to help when needed.

Reflecting on travel insurance, the Personal Finance Insider 2023 winter travel insurance survey reveals an interesting gap: while 68% of travellers show interest in travel insurance, only 38% actually purchase it. Travel insurance is a necessity, particularly for covering medical emergencies. It’s important to not only have a policy but to understand its terms clearly.

Travelling during the festive season is about striking the right balance: enjoying the holiday while staying alert and street-smart. This guide aims to equip you with practical tips to enhance safety without dampening the joy of discovery.

It’s important to remember that being prepared is about making smart, informed choices, not about fostering fear. Consulting with a Flight Centre Travel Expert can be invaluable in this process. They provide destination-specific advice on staying safe, help with travel insurance, and ensure a smoother journey.

Contact a Travel Expert today. Here’s to safe, memorable, and enriching travels this holiday season.

Flight Centre

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