Odds are that when you travel abroad, you will have a safe trip. However, the risks of becoming victims of crime and experience an unforeseen safety/hazardous situation are possible. We all enjoy those road trips, train rides and flights that take us away from our daily routine and although those on constant business trips may not take as much pleasure out of these, one thing to keep in mind is that any successful trip has a lot to do with how safe you travel. Nothing could be more unpleasant than having an unforeseen element ruin your trip and that is particularly why it is best to use preventive measures that can reduce the risk of a potential danger. Of course we can’t always avoid these, but there are tips and guides available to help you organize a safer trip.
Do your research. Most often, those who read books and articles on the countries they plan to visit make the most out of their experience. Traveling guides/books such as Lonely Planet, Frommers and Eyewitness Traveler not only inform you of places to visit, but also include information on costs, cultural trends and safety awareness. So make sure to hit the traveling section at your nearest book store.
-Travel light. You can move more quickly and will be less likely to leave your luggage unattended.
-Always place your handbag on your lap. Avoid school bags or fanny packs as your main hand bags (these are easy targets for thieves).
-Print out a copy of your passport and place it in your luggage; this will serve as a backup and will be useful in the event it is lost or stolen.
-Keep your valuable items in a hotel safe box, if available. If you have to carry them with you, place them each in different places rather than all in one wallet or pouch.
-Pack any medicines you need in your carry-on luggage. To avoid problems when passing through customs, keep medicines in their original, labeled containers. Bring copies of your prescriptions.
-Bring travelers’ checks and one or two major credit cards instead of cash.
-Put your name, telephone number and address inside and outside each piece of luggage.
-Don’t bring anything you would hate to lose, if it can be avoided.
-Avoid dressing in a way that could mark you as a typical tourist.
To do before leaving
-Register with the Government. It is recommended that you register at the nearest Canadian government office abroad. You can also register online, by mail or in person.
-Those who are traveling for longer periods should check the expiry dates of their credit cards.
-Make sure to call your bank and other financial institutions to inform them of your traveling dates. Most banks, if not informed of your travelling dates, will block your accounts if transactions are made outside of your country of residence.
-Make note of your credit limit.
-If you don’t have travelling insurance you can always purchase one through most financial institutions.
If staying in a hotel
-Read the fire safety instructions in your hotel room and make sure you know where the emergency exits are located.
-Get all the local emergency numbers needed in case of an emergency. These include: police station, fire department, hotel concierge, consulate
Safety on Street
-Avoid unknown shortcuts and trust the instructions given by a tour operator or travelling guide.
-Do not discuss your travelling itinerary and specifics with strangers.
-Keep a low profile and avoid loud conversations or arguments.
-Beware of pickpockets who will try to distract you by asking for directions, tell you they see a stain on your clothes and so on (this includes children).
On the road/transportation
-Read your traveling guide for the most useful transportation tips, but also visit a tourist kiosk for such information. Your hotel concierge should also be able to assist you with such information.
-Taxis: only take official taxis even if a local on the street tells you it’s safe.
-Always keep your train ticket with you, do not dispose of it until you are done with your commute. In certain countries, trains get very crowded and some individuals manage to get in without a ticket. Some could even take your assigned seat. Unless the train officials make a ticket-check round, you could end up losing your seating arrangements.
-If you rent a car, choose a type that is commonly available. Keep the doors locked at all time and avoid driving late in the night, if possible.
-Be suspicious of anyone who tries to get your attention when you are near your car. This is typical in gas stations or parking lots.
-Take the minimum cash possible on you and keep money in at least two separate locations.
-Don’t leave your credit cards unattended.
-Always keep your receipts.
-Traveling checks are very much recommended. You can get these at your local bank before you leave.
Should you feel in a situation at risk, your first bet would be to contact the Canadian consulate. Most problems can be solved over the phone.
For more tips on traveling safe pleased visit Service Canada’s page Travelling Abroad.
Have a safe trip!