Most seasoned travellers are aware that it is wise to check the current situation in their destination country before booking any trips. Once plans are in place it is a good idea to purchase travel insurance – with immediate effect so that it includes protection for Cancellation and Curtailment.
Travel plans may be affected by weather events such as hurricanes, earthquakes, heavy snow, flooding, and tropical storms. Other travel problems include disease outbreaks or pandemics, volcanic eruptions, political unrest, civil war and terrorist attacks. Information of this type is normally easily picked up through the media via newspapers, television, radio, and the internet.
The internet is, without question, the most useful tool available to travellers in today’s world as it is so quick and easy to do a search for your destination country, resort, and hotel and find any relevant and updated information. Social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook have also made it much easier to communicate information – good and bad. Hotel review sites tend to be controversial but many travellers still rely on them before booking their hotel or accommodation.
To find the very latest travel updates and to check whether any advisories against travel are in effect, it is wise to check the government website of your country of residence. This is a good habit to get into and it should be at the top of your travel checklist along with checking your passport expiration, visa requirements, taking out travel insurance, and checking with your doctor regarding any needed vaccinations..
Before planning any travel or holidays visit the Department of Foreign Affairs, or similar government agency for your country, to check if there are any potential problems brewing in your destination country. For example:
- Australia: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (smartraveller.gov.au)
- Canada: Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (voyage.gc.ca)
- Ireland (Eire): Department of Foreign Affairs (dfa.ie)
- New Zealand: Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (safetravel.govt.nz)
- UK: Foreign and Commonwealth Office (fco.gov.uk)
- USA: Department of State (travel.state.gov)
In the case of the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, they provide extensive and updated travel advice and information on their website as part of their ”Know Before You Go’ campaign, which is aimed to assist travellers and help them avoid inadvertently getting into trouble overseas. The wealth of important information includes local laws and customs, visa and passport requirements, driving advice, the political situation, transportation advice, street crime and scams to watch for, emergency contact information, healthcare, travel insurance, and much more.
Traveling abroad, student travel, safety and road trip planning
It is no secret that when young people vacation with their friends, alcohol consumption is high and partying is the primary past-time. However, with the unfortunate tragedy of Natalee Holloway’s death while on vacation in Aruba, it is important for young people to keep safe while traveling. Irresponsible drinking is not the only issue involved with unsafe travel; there are several safe travel tips that need to be kept in mind while vacationing to ensure your safety.
Whether you’re traveling abroad to Paris, spending spring break on South Padre Island, Texas or taking a summer road trip to Las Vegas, Nevada, it is important to keep safe and aware of your surroundings at all times. By following just a few, small travel tips and keeping a few things in mind, you can ensure that your vacation goes smoothly and that you have a great time.
Basic safe travel tips:
Knowing your limits
Hangovers are not the only thing you need to worry about when partying; binge drinking can lead to black-outs, alcohol poisoning and even worse – death. Most importantly though, alcohol clouds your judgment severely and makes bad situations and decisions look alright. Try to monitor your alcohol consumption and the alcohol consumption of those traveling with you. This leads me to the second rule: the Buddy System.
Remember those afternoon buddy checks at the local swimming pool? The buddy system, it is tried and true and it works. Wherever you go with your friends whether it’s the bar, a club, the beach or a party, keep tabs on each other. Try to stay together at all times. Realistically this doesn’t always happen and people get separated. If you do get separated or you decide to go your own ways, which is not recommended, try to check in with each other at least every hour or so. Also, plan ahead a meeting place if you cannot locate each other. It is important to remain with your friends or close by them at all times. For guys, if you find yourself in a fight, you have your buddies there to help you out. For gals, if you’re receiving unwanted sexual advances, your ladies are there to help you out of an unwanted situation.
Don’t take candy from strangers
When young people vacation, they are out mingling, partying and meeting new people. You need be careful of strangers though and shouldn’t completely trust anyone. Be careful of what they’re offering you; there are a lot of scam artists out there. For women, if a man buys you a drink you need to be aware of the fact that he may try to drug you or if he buys you an excessive amount of drinks that he may be trying to get you drunk and take advantage of you. Not to sound like EVERYBODY is out to get you, but you need to be aware of the possibilities and be wary of trusting people you have just met. Most importantly though, never leave alone with someone you have just met and never give them the number to your hotel room.
Think of the consequences
To take risk of sounding like my mother, you really do need to think of the consequences of your actions. They need to be kept in mind, especially when traveling abroad.
Traveling abroad and student travel tipsKnow the rules, customs and laws
Each year more than 2,500 Americans are arrested abroad and more than one-third of those arrests are drug related and student travel related. Simply because it’s legal to smoke marijuana in Amsterdam, doesn’t mean that it is legal to take it with you to Germany. When you’re traveling abroad it is vital to be completely aware of the rules, custom and laws that are associated with the countries you are visiting. Young people and students are commonly arrested for being intoxicated in public areas and for drunk driving; this is common for not only people traveling abroad, but also for student vacationing in the United States. If you do get in trouble while traveling abroad, contact the local US embassy.
Dress to unimpress
Theft is another common vacation mishap. Leave the bling at home, don’t carry excessive amounts of cash and don’t bring with you unneeded credit cards. Dressing nicely, wearing a Rolex and flashing your cash screams steal from me. In case items do get stolen, you should make two copies of your passport identification page before leaving. This will help expediate the time spent getting your passport replaced if it is lost or stolen. Leave one copy in your hotel room and the other back home with someone easily contacted.
Road Trip Tips:Plan ahead
Before embarking on your trip, you need to plan ahead, and come up with a travel itinerary that should include what roads you will be traveling on and where you will be staying. The travel itinerary should be given to someone who is not going with on the trip so they can know where you are at all times in case something does go wrong.
Travelling is a challenge and staying healthy while travelling amplifies the challenge. Who has not travelled to a spot to enjoy a visit with friends and family, and not ended up getting sick by the end of the trip? Or perhaps it was a vacation that ended up being spoiled by sickness.
To remain healthy requires vigilance and effort. Of course, the location makes a difference. A conference center or hotel with high standards probably has fewer health risks than a visit in a remote location. Even so, it is necessary to still take precautions. Even with the best of accommodations, it pays to be careful. There is no way to know exactly how everything was cleaned in the room, or if a worker perhaps sneezed and left some germs. No matter how high the standards, there is still room for caution.
Be sure to take any necessary vaccines and follow all health precautions for the destination you are visiting. Stay hydrated with bottled water, or have a bona fide, tested, tried, and true way to purify water. Wash your hands as often as you can. Avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose. Make it a habit not to do that. Many people do it automatically, but it is a way by which germs can transfer. Air dry your hands, or have your own towel.
If you are travelling to a remote location, or one more questionable, you may need to look out for bedbugs. There used to be a children’s rhyme, “Sleep tight, and don’t let the bedbugs bite,” but actually this is more than a rhyme. Bedbugs are real and you need to be on the alert against them. One way to notice them is seeing bites appearing on other people as itchy bumps or welts. Where do bed bugs live? Most often they are found in chairs, sofas and beds. They are flat, wingless, brown, and oval. They are about the size of an apple seed. They change from brown to purplish red as they bite. A mattress with reddish or rusty stains may have signs of bedbugs that have been crushed. Tiny dots, dark spots, on the carpet or under the bed may be bedbug excrement. Also, bedbugs shed skin. The eggs and eggshells are white. You can look for them on beds, furniture, and sofas.
Packing a good multi-vitamin to take is a good idea while travelling. This is because you probably want to avoid any fruit or vegetable that cannot be peeled. Therefore, you may not be eating as many fruits and vegetables as usual, and a multi-vitamin is in order. Even before peeling, wipe that piece of fruit with a disinfectant wipe. Stay hydrated and drink bottled water.