Whether you’re an avid adventurer or simply someone who likes the occasional getaway, traveling can give you thrills, spills and memories that will last a lifetime. Whilst social media may give you the impression that holidaying is all about those picture perfect moments – think infinity pools overlooking the Mediterranean and Instagram worthy plates of foodie goodness – there is another side to it. Some places bring as much risk as they do charm like these 10 well loved destinations, all of which are particularly precarious for foreigners. Whilst that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get to enjoy the vibrant favelas of Rio or the bright lights of Bangkok, it does mean you will need to take some precautions and do your research.
Safety might not be on the top of your list when you’re booking your dream getaway but if you want to return home safe, sound and glowing with post-holiday happiness, we suggest you read on. Tep wants to make sure you have complete peace of mind when you’re travelling, so here are our top 7 travel tips to keep you safe, secure and happy on your next holiday:
7. Do your research
This might sound simple enough, but it’s vitally important that you know what to expect when you get to your destination. Always check your country’s foreign travel advice before you depart and look out for any warnings or guidance they provide. It’s also helpful to read up on the local customs, culture and laws ahead of time, as behaviour that may be perfectly acceptable to you could big a no-no whilst on holiday. For example, in Laos pointing fingers it’s considered extremely rude and could get you on the bad side of locals completely unknowingly! For more info visit Footprint Travel Guides, who offer in depth guides on local customs and laws for almost all popular destinations. If you have access to local contacts, speak to them and ask them about any ‘no go’ areas and any must see hidden gems. If you can’t, there are a vast array of forums and guides you can easily access online like Thorn Tree by Lonely Planet or any of these top 15 sites.
6. Safety at home
A slightly less obvious tip, but one you shouldn’t neglect, is making sure your home is safe and secure before you go away. Particularly if you are away on a longer holidays, it’s important to make sure your house isn’t a target for criminals. Here are some great tips to keep your home safe and avoid any nasty surprises on your return. We recommend having a friend or relative visit the house every couple of days or investing in a good home security system. You could even keep track of your home via these amazing phone apps whilst on holiday!
5. Pack light and secure your luggage
It’s easy to get carried away when you’re choosing what items to take with you and the temptation can be to pack additional items “just in case”. The reality is you’ll only use half the clothes you take and if you really need something, it’s worth bearing in mind that you’ll probably be able to find what you’re looking for on holiday – the tags will just be in a different language! Check out our previous post for tips on how to pack light (and how to increase your chances of getting an upgrade!) and this savvy packer’s list of all the essential items you should take. However, if you have essential items that can’t be bought elsewhere (like medication) remember to pack enough and more, as well as a doctor’s note explaining why you must have the medicine on you. The final thing you need to remember is to lock your checked-in luggage with a padlock like this TSA approved one – so that no unexpected hands find their way through your belongings!
4. Be prepared for the unexpected
Before you leave, we suggest you invest in comprehensive travel and health insurance that will cover you for your entire journey. There are thousands of insurers to choose from so make sure you read up on exactly what you’ll be covered for and for how long. If you need some help getting started, these are some of the highest reviewed insurance companies from 2015/16. Every country has different policies on how it treats non-nationals in cases of emergency so it’s always advisable to have a copy of your insurance documents and the address and contact details of your Embassy on your person at all times. You should also make copies of all of your important travel documents including your travel itinerary, ID, passport, driver’s license and insurance documents. Tep suggests you keep one copy stored safely in your hotel/accommodation and another copy with a trusted friend or family member back home who can keep tabs on you.
3. Leave your valuables at home
Wherever possible, avoid carrying valuables (like jewelry, cash or expensive electricals) with you on your travels. If you can manage without a laptop, it’s advisable to stick with smaller, more travel friendly tech like a mobile or tablet. Check out this post on the best pocket-sized travel tech or if you’re going away with your family, or try this guide on the best gadgets to keep the kids occupied. If you have to take a valuables, figure out a safe place to store them whilst you’re out adventuring, like in a hotel safe, a secure locker or in a secure anti-theft bag. For cash and cards it’s advisable to have a contingency plan in case of theft or loss. We recommend having a backup credit card or cash hidden away somewhere (like in between clothes, at the bottom of your luggage or in a non-obvious location) for emergency situations.
2. Blend in
This is one of the most simple and effective things you can do as a tourist to stay out of harm’s way. We love Hawaiian shirts, shorts and flip-flops but if you’re in Europe, you might as well have a sign above your head reading “easy target”. Tourists are usually targeted by local criminals, scam artists and pickpockets because they lack knowledge of the area and frequently carry high value items such as cameras, laptops and cash. This extremely helpful post lists some of the most common tourist scams across the world which could stop you from losing your valuables on holiday. You can avoid having your belongings stolen by investing in an anti-theft backpack, like this amazing one by PacSafe or by leaving expensive items at home or in your hotel. Keep your wits about you and avoid being preyed upon by dressing as much like a local as possible and by knowing what areas you should steer clear of.
1. Stay connected and safe
The internet is an invaluable resource when you’re on holiday. If you have data on your phone it can be almost as good as having a local tour guide. You can find the best (and worst) restaurants on Tripadvisor, book last minute accommodation on Airbnb and let Google translate save you from some embarrassing mistranslations. With Tep’s portable wi-fi you can now enjoy the same fast, reliable and secure connection as you get at home, without the ridiculous roaming charges or insecure public wifi connections. The device allows you to connect up to 5 devices simultaneously, so an entire family could benefit from one plan and a fixed cost of $9.95. You all be able to keep in contact and make sure no one gets lost, ensure you’re always contactable and crucially for the foodies, could help you avoid dining at a low-rated tourist trap for a quick bite.
The device works in over 80 countries including all of the romantic destinations we’ve mentioned in this post. It costs just $9.95 per day for truly unlimited data so you can upload as many cheesy photos, videos and memories as you like without worrying about data roaming costs!
For more information on buying or renting a Tep portable wi-fi device for your next holiday click here.