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Travel Safety Tips

image1 mar2020

With the continued global spread of the coronavirus and its imminent classification as a pandemic, the dangers of international travel have stepped up more than a notch or two.

With certain towns, cities, regions, and even countries already in effective lock-down, the first place to visit for the latest advice on travel safety is the country by country listing published by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).

Following that travel advice is critical – not only might it help prevent you getting infected by the coronavirus but if you travel against the FCO’s advice, you may invalidate your travel insurance, warned a story in Metro newspaper on the 25th of February.

Visit MASTA for advice on what, if any, vaccinations or anti-malarial tablets you may need before travelling.

Travelling safely

It is not only the coronavirus – and a long list of other diseases – that may be lying in wait, but other dangers for which travel safety tips may be particularly timely:

Travel insurance

  • travel insurance is vital for your safety abroad;
  • its principal protection comes from the cover for illness and medical emergencies while you are away – provided, of course, that you have taken heed of the travel advice from the FCO;
  • getting treatment for such emergencies can prove extremely expensive – the Money Advice Service gives the example of a patient who suffered a torn artery and multiple fractures who had to be airlifted from the United States back to the UK, at the cost of some £500,000;
  • such extreme examples aside, the average cost of any medical treatment overseas is currently still a hefty £1,300;
  • there are many different types of travel insurance, and you might want the additional protection of cover against such financial losses as stolen or lost baggage, cancellation of travel plans (because of ill health, for example), or personal liability indemnity for any injury or loss you cause to others;

Where to get help

  • in an emergency, the last thing you want is a long delay while you try to track down the help you need;
  • be prepared, therefore, by noting down and carrying with you the numbers for the local ambulance service, the police, and British consular services;

Street crime

  • in many parts of the world street crime is a scourge and tourists are obvious targets and considered to be rich pickings;
  • leave especially valuable items at home, therefore, put those that items that are travelling with you in the hotel safe, and constantly remain aware of potentially threatening situations on the street;
  • if you are challenged, of course, hand over any valuables you are carrying rather than risk your life;

Ask a local …

  • ask at the front desk of your hotel or a trusted local where to find the safest parts of town – and where to avoid;
  • that local knowledge may help to steer you clear of the most dangerous districts;

… but don’t give away too much

  • while asking for advice about areas best avoided, at the same time, be wary about divulging too much about yourself, your family or your travel plans to strangers;
  • it may be information they can take advantage of or pass on to less desirable characters with unwelcome motives.

Medications

If you take medication, ensure you always bring enough to last you a few extra days – for example, if you get stranded somewhere unexpectedly. And make sure you bring a copy of your prescription and, if travelling to Europe, your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

There is always the danger when passing on travel safety tips, that you decide the safest way to avoid any threat is to stay at home. The more positive message, however, is to continue to get out there and enjoy your travels – just exercise some common sense and take the necessary precautions to keep yourself safe.

Any data referenced in this article is correct as at the time of writing.

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