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Safety tips for travelling abroad

Tips to stay safe while travelling in today’s world

Date published: 2 Sep 2013

Planning for a trip is so exciting - organising your itinerary, accommodation, travel insurance, visas and immunizations ...not to mention your holiday wardrobe.

You might have everything arranged for your holiday but how do you prepare for natural disasters, protests, strikes or even war occurring unexpectedly? Do you pay close enough attention to the travel advice and warnings?

Travellers must put safety as their number 1 priority. The events happening in Syria today are a good example of a destination that should not be visited right now.

Acts such as riots or strikes can be avoided easily and you should be able to continue with your travel plans if you follow our tips below.

Here are 5 tips to stay safe while travelling in today’s unpredictable world:

  1. Sign up with Smarttraveller

Smarttraveller is the official travel advice site for Australians covering all destinations. Whether you’re travelling overseas to visit family, as a tourist, for business or to live, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade encourages you to register your plans before you leave Australia.

Registering with DFAT will help them to find you if there is an emergency - whether it is a natural disaster, civil disturbance or family emergency. You will also get important travel advice updates, notice of elections and information on other matters relevant to travellers.

  1. Be ready to act

Strikes, riots and protests can happen anywhere, so they are tricky to avoid, but you can be prepared. They are usually not dangerous if you stay away, but can definitely upset your travel plans and cause delays.

Make sure you have a good travel insurance policy that covers you for trip delays and cancellations.  www.comparetravelinsurance.com.au is a good place to compare a range of travel insurance policies to ensure that you're getting the right cover for your trip.

 Ensure that your mobile phone has international roaming switched on, so that you can reach your loved ones in case of an emergency. Do remember that international calling can be very expensive so look into alternative calling methods.

 Have some form of identification on you so you can prove who you are. If you do not feel comfortable carrying your passport around, bring your driver’s license and a photocopy of your passport.

  1. Have some emergency cash

So you are in an unfamiliar country and you don’t speak the local lingo. Who knows what lies around the corner that may have an unexpected cost!?

Make sure you have an emergency fund, or access to a credit card set aside for emergency situations.

Even if you have a good travel insurance policy, you might not be able to get the cash straight away, so make sure you can pay for expenses out of your own pocket.

Smart Traveller states that Travel insurance is as essential as your passport, regardless of your travel destination. If you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel.

  1. Research your destination and avoid areas with problems

Keep up to date with the local news of the area you are travelling to so you know where the risky areas are. If there has been reports of disruptive behaviour, don’t go there.

  1. Travel with a tour operator

Being part of an organised tour not only means safety in numbers but also experienced guides who know the area well. Tour operators have eyes and ears on the ground in all countries they operate in and they are likely to have the most up to date information on of incidents in the country.

You cannot predict what’s going to happen when you travel, and situations can change very quickly but if you keep our 5 tips in mind and keep up to date with the news, you can feel confident that you are a well- informed traveller.

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