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Health and Safety

Travelorama Health and Safety Hub

 

Discovering new places and expanding your horizons is what traveling is all about. What if your anxieties prevent you from loosening up and enjoying your adventures? We know that every journey comes with its own set of worries, and the old adage prevention is better than cure rings especially true if you are out to explore. Ensuring some practical safety tips before and while you are on the road might just save you from glitches in your travel plans. In this article, we discuss the common risks faced by all travelers, how you can stay safe irrespective of your traveling style and the 5 best travel safety apps that can ease your navigation for a stress-free and safe travel experience.

Importance in Planning Safety tips before you travel

7 POTENTIAL TRAVEL RISKS

 

1. Health risks. Unwanted health issues are a top concern, especially if you are travelling to a country where diet and hygiene is vastly different to what you are used to. Conditions like stomach flu, vomiting and diarrhea can quickly ruin a trip.

 

2. Scamming. Travelers run the risk of becoming potential targets for scammers, especially if you don’t speak the language or are unfamiliar with the culture.

 

3. Theft. Nothing will spoil your globe-trotting shenanigans like getting your passport, money or other valuables stolen.

 

4. Violence. Travelers may find themselves getting caught in a violent crime, particularly if you are unaware of the locations that you are venturing into.

 

5. Transportation risks. Transportation problems can be another issue, especially if you are traveling to a country that is notorious for transport accidents, has complicated (or nonexistent) public transport schedules or is known for its traffic congestion.

 

6. Natural catastrophes. Depending on where you are travelling, disasters such as earthquakes, typhoons, hurricanes and other unforeseen natural disasters could arise.

 

7. War or political unrest. Although much less common than other risks, depending on the country or region you are travelling to, political risks could pose a problem.

SAFETY TIPS FOR ALL TRAVELERS

 

1. Do your research before you travel. First rule of safe travel — don’t be ignorant about where you are going. Make an effort to learn about the country, the political situation, the cultural norms, the safest spots for travellers, safe accommodations to stay and the areas or regions that are best avoided. Head off on your trip with your eyes wide open to avoid surprises.

 

2. Blend in with your surroundings. Once you’ve done your research, you can start your visit to a new destination as if you were one of the locals. This is not only sound exploration advice, but a good safety tip as well. You’ll make yourself more vulnerable to con artists if you stick out like a sore thumb with your massive backpack, two cameras and confused look on your face. and you will draw much less attention if you make an effort to blend in. You also don’t want to disrespect or offend with improper dress or manners. If you’re visiting places of worship, make sure to dress modestly in order to prevent upsetting the locals.

 

3. Don’t flash your wealth. Whether this is with cash or expensive gear, showing wealth will only make you more appealing to scammers and pickpockets. Carry a dummy wallet with little cash in it so that you can give this in case you are mugged.

 

4. Stay safe in transport. Avoid air travel mishaps by frequently checking whether your flight has been rescheduled or cancelled. When using bus services, make sure to go with trusted companies that are have many reviews online. Moreover, try booking your tickets in advance whenever possible, so you don’t end up stranded on remote bus stops with no transport in sight. If you are hiring local taxis, agree upon the fare in advance in case the vehicle doesn’t have a meter. Also, carry a map with you to avoid getting lost.

 

5. Keep your belongings safe. Avoid carrying too many luggage pieces and invest in a small sturdy lock for your luggage. Try to choose one that doesn’t stand out, so it doesn’t appear as if you have something really valuable inside. If you have a hand-carry with you, never leave it unattended. Buy wallets that have RFID protection to avoid identity theft.

 

6.Transport safety: At the airport, watch for your suitcase as it appears on the carousel. Don’t hang back and wait for the crowds to disperse – you might find that someone else has already taken your bag in the meantime. Avoid changing money at airports, as thieves could be watching you. Consult with your hotel manager or tourist information centre about the public transport in your area. Make sure you know what official taxi cabs look like. A thief may pose as a taxi driver to lure you into their car. Don’t share taxis with strangers. Carjacking is a problem in some cities. When driving, keep all doors locked and windows up

7. Get travel insurance. Regardless of whether you are a natural worrier or not, don’t hesitate to take out travel insurance. Not only will insurance cover any unexpected injuries and trips to the hospital, it can also protect you from theft or loss of personal belongings.

 

8. Have emergency info at hand. This should entail contact numbers for the local emergency services (police, fire department and ambulance) and for your country’s embassy (if there is one in the place you’re visiting).

 

9. Manage your money. If you plan on using your debit and credit cards, make sure to notify your bank in advance that you’ll be abroad, or you may find your card blocked for suspicious activity. Research beforehand where are the best spots to exchange your money into local currency as ATMs might be scarce in certain places. When out and about, always carry a small amount of cash with you.

 

10. Keep track of your health. Make sure to have a supply of any over-the-counter essentials like motion sickness pills, probiotics, pain killers and bug repellants. Consult your doctor and get the proper vaccines before traveling. Ensure that any prescription pills are filled for some days extra than the intended length of your travel.

 

11. Know how to communicate. Learn the basic emergency phrases like “I need help”, “Where is the nearest hospital/police station/embassy?” etc. in the local language.

SAFETY TIPS FOR SOLO TRAVELERS

A man's admiration on top of the mountain

Travelling solo is often described as a spiritual experience and is an amazing way to learn more about your world and yourself. Yet travelling on your own can also bring about all kinds of travel anxieties when on the road. Here are some top tips to keep unwanted mishaps at bay.

  • If you don’t feel safe wandering around a foreign city on your own (especially those that have bad reputation for crime), look into joining a group tour for more comfort and protection.
  • Get acquainted with the map of the place you’re visiting, so you know your bearings at any given time.
  • Keep all important emergency numbers saved on your phone. Better yet, memorize  them or keep them written on a paper in your pocket.
  • Getting to know other people while traveling is fun, but practice caution with strangers.
  • Invest in a travel lock for your luggage to keep your valuables safe while you’re out exploring.
  • Inform your friends or family (or someone!) about your itinerary plans and check in frequently.

SAFETY TIPS FOR WOMAN TRAVELERS

A girl traveler watching at the Hill

Traveling as a woman, especially alone, comes with its own unique set of challenges. To avoid getting yourself into any uncomfortable situations, stick to these useful safety tips.

  • Don’t hesitate to say “no” to invitations from locals if you don’t feel comfortable.
  • Follow culture-specific dress codes, especially when traveling to countries that prescribe conservative attire for women.
  • Avoid giving out your contact details and accommodation information to strangers.
  • Don’t hesitate to lie about being married or say that you’re not travelling alone.
  • While traveling in a transport, sit beside other female travelers if you are traveling alone.
  • Look for accommodation with women-only rooms and dorms.
  • Carry a small pouch to store some extra cash and pin it on the inside of your bra.
  • Be aware that many destinations are not sensitive to feminine hygiene needs. Be prepared for unclean toilets/restrooms (or none at all, depending on where you go!) and pack extra hygiene products (such as tampons and pads).
  • Be mindful of going out alone, especially at night. If you are partying, drink responsibly and never leave your drink unattended.

SAFETY TIPS FOR TRAVELLING WITH CHILDREN

A kid watching at the boat

There is nothing more enjoyable than exploring new places with your loved ones. However, traveling with your family members, especially if they are children, requires you to consider other kinds of eventualities. Here are a couple of tips for keeping your family travels safe and sound.

  • Before you go, make sure you and your children have all the necessary vaccines required for the destination you’re travelling to.
  • If your children are old enough, get them to learn important emergency contacts and information in case something happens to you or you can’t find each other.
  • Ensure your children are protected with adequate gear (hats, sunscreen, repellents, etc) when participating in outdoor activities. Bring a stock of gear from home.
  • Make sure the food your kids consume during your holidays is cooked, fresh and healthy to avoid stomach bugs. Bring snacks from home as children might be fussy eaters in a new place.
  • If you’re travelling with small children, pack diapers and other essentials like wet wipes that can last until you arrive at your destination. Research about your destination beforehand to check whether diapers are easily available.
  • Have your kids wear contact bracelets with your phone number and other important information in case you lose sight of them.
  • Bring a small stash of your usual child medicines (such as paracetamol and motion sickness remedies) from home. Do not assume you will find all that you need abroad. Also, always carry a first-aid kit.

SAFETY TIPS FOR BACKPACKERS & BUDGET TRAVELERS

A girl travellig alone with a backpack

Experiencing the world on a budget might expose the true beauty of a diverse world for some travelers. However, seeing as your travels won’t be characterized with 5-star hotels and premium amenities, you might have to take safety matters into your own hands. Here’s how to do it the DIY way.

 

  • While searching for a wallet-friendly place to stay, pick places that are frequently visited. Trust your intuition and stay away from shady or too-quiet places.
  • When staying in hostels, always put your personal valuables in a locker.
  • For accommodations without lockers, use a cable lock to secure your backpack to an immovable object if you feel like going light.
  • Divide your cash and other valuables and store them between your pockets, bag and backpack; this way you won’t lose everything in case you get robbed.
  • Make sure to arrive at your hostel before dark. Don’t wander around potentially unsafe streets and neighborhoods for too long.
  • If you plan on partying, make sure to drink responsibly. Stay alert even after you have had a few so that you don’t find yourself in potentially uncomfortable or dangerous situations. Never leave your drink unattended.

5 SMARTPHONE APP FOR SAFE TRAVEL

Traveler Holding a smart phone

Nowadays, travelling without smartphones and other electronic gadgets seems unimaginable, so why not use them to enhance your holiday experience? To help you, here is a curated list of the best apps geared towards health and safety when it comes to trotting the globe.Nowadays, travelling without smartphones and other electronic gadgets seems unimaginable, so why not use them to enhance your holiday experience? To help you, here is a curated list of the best apps geared towards health and safety when it comes to trotting the globe.

 

TripLingo

Use this app to quickly access all the important emergency contacts, medical phrases and many other safety features pertinent to the country you are visiting. It is a great tool to have when traveling to places where you don’t speak the language.

 

Life360

If you are travelling with your family, it is important to always stay in touch in case you wander off in different directions. Life360 lets you set up a private network from which you can communicate with your loved ones and inform them about your location.

 

SaferVPN

Free WiFi may sound great but not all open WiFi networks are secure to prevent online identity theft. SaferVPN is a nifty app that creates your own virtual private network (VPN) and connects you with a remote server with 256-bit encryption — keeping you safe from hackers. This app is especially helpful for business travelers or for those who constantly need to be online.

 

Sitata

Stay updated around-the-clock about health and safety information for destinations across the world with this app. Sitata will inform you of potential tourist scams in the area you are visiting and also advise you on what to do in case there is an emergency at your destination.

 

ICE Contact

This personal safety app, which can come in handy for solo travelers, lets you create a list of emergency contacts. You can record instant and delayed messages that will be delivered to your contacts in case you need help or simply want to check in with them. The messages will also include your GPS location, so you contacts can always be aware of your whereabouts.

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