How can someone sum up in a short column all the things they need to know to stay safe travelling in this unpredictable world? Parents do it all the time with their children and good travel agents do it all the time with their clients. Educate, advise, remind and set by example.
It’s tempting to turn our minds off while on vacation to look at that beautiful sunset, to be in the moment and drink it all in. But how do you do it safely when what lurks around you may be a threat which will take this beautiful image from your mind forever.
As dark as this sounds, it’s the realty of travelling. There are constant dangers when we travel, the majority of which we are never aware. That person off to the side observing and assessing you as a target for a robbery, or worse is just the tip of the iceberg of the danger you are constantly in while travelling. This is especially true when we are travelling in a foreign country where cultural norms are different.
The reality is – we love to travel – and our need for these well-deserved breaks take over from any fears we may have. So how do you manage and prepare yourself and your loved ones to venture out, to see and experience this awesome world?
My first piece of advice (you can tell I’m a Mom), is that you need to have an open conversation with those you are travelling with and even with those who are your back-ups in an emergency. Pre-planning can help alleviate many disasters. Make sure you leave your itineraries, contact information with someone back home who is prepared to take care of a crisis. Always tell people when you’re using them as your emergency back-up.
Secondly, make sure you have adequate out of country emergency medical insurance and trip interruption insurance. Losing your home and financial security because you wanted to save money and not take insurance is never a wise idea.
Thirdly, read, read, read and take note of “what to do when…” so that if something beyond your control happens, you know how to respond quickly and in your best interest. Register yourself with your government travel website prior to departure so the local embassy knows where you are and how to get in touch with you.
I sometimes shake my head that I am still alive after all the travelling I’ve done and the “not so safe” choices I may have wittingly or unwittingly made over the years. But fortunately luck was on my side. I’m certainly less naïve than when I first travelled solo over 45 years ago. Would I make those choices knowing what I know now? Absolutely not. But then I do have some rather fascinating stories and great memories of my adventures. I choose to be safe, and I try to practice everything we discuss without letting fear guide me. I’m in awe of our world and hope I never lose that wonder. Travel and stay safe!