Further to our first article covering safety, we have a few more suggestions for staying safe during your travels.
- Before leaving your home country, get the local emergency numbers at your destination and save them on your mobile phone contacts list. Also have the list on paper – if your battery is flat and the phone dies you still want access to the numbers.
- Don’t share your travel plans with strangers. This includes keeping it off Facebook and other online places that are leaky about information.
- Keep your passport with you at all times. While this increases the risk of it being stolen, it may help you if you have a sudden medical emergency, or police start shouting at you in a language you do not understand.
- Leave copies of your passport with someone back at home. There is some dissent within our team on this one, though this is the generally accepted advice. The idea is that this would help you get a new passport if your one is lost, stolen or damaged. Will a simple photocopy be sufficient for re-issue of a passport – it seems doubtful. (Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments!)
- Leave behind a copy of your medical and insurance papers with someone trusted. They can then assist you with claiming if necessary.
- The best place for booking adventure activities such as sky-diving and bungee jumping is through the local tourist information offices. This is to make certain that you are using reputable companies who stick to the safety regulations.
- Reputable hotels frequently have information on tours available from reliable organisers, if you have not booked these prior to leaving home.
- It may be wise not to wear patriotic apparel or to festoon your gear with your country flag. You may encounter someone who is bitter or resentful toward your country. Ill-feeling can last hundreds of years in some regions.
The following tips include information from “Don’t Panic” by Helmke Hennig and Frances le Clus.
- Do not have your home address, hotel’s name that you are staying at, or your telephone number anywhere visible on your luggage. You can get luggage tags that close, meaning that a casual inspection will not reveal who you are, where you are from, or your destination.
- If you accept a free drink or meal offered anywhere, do so very cautiously, as there are usually strings attached. This is specifically true of certain types of bars in the Far East. You may wake up naked, beaten and robbed, or at the least you may end up paying many times the going rate for a drink that you did not really want in the first place.
- Sometimes our best protection is our instincts. If a situation feels wrong, move away as quickly as possible.