10 tips for safe trips
Wherever you’re headed, here are 10 tips on travelling safely and avoiding unfortunate incidents.
1. Follow Government of Canada recommendations
The Government of Canada has put up the website Travel Advice and Advisories to provide information and advice for the nation’s globe-trotters.
It contains a mine of information on safety, local habits and customs, places to avoid, where to find help, etc. while travelling almost everywhere on the planet.
Consult it before planning a trip abroad as well as a few days before you leave, to check there has been no change of situation at your destination.
2. Registration of Canadians abroad
Registration of Canadians Abroad is a free service that enables the Government of Canada to send you important information in case of an emergency abroad, such as during a natural disaster or civil unrest.
3. Emergency numbers
Make a note of the contact details you might need during an emergency situation abroad:
- The telephone number and address of the Canadian embassy or consulate in the country you are travelling to.
- The telephone number of the Government of Canada’s Emergency Watch and Response Centre that you can call collect from outside Canada and the number to call in case your passport is stolen or lost.
- The email address of the Emergency Watch and Response Centre (firstname.lastname@example.org)
In the event of an emergency while you’re abroad, be proactive. Contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre to let them know you are safe and sound.
Stay in contact with the authorities if evacuation has to be organized.
4. Leave tracks
Before leaving, leave someone you trust all of the important information about your trip:
- A list of the people and places you will be visiting abroad
- A copy of your important documents, such as your passport, air tickets and credit cards
5. Travel insurance
Head off with your mind at rest, with the help of travel insurance adapted to your travel needs:
- Insurance for emergency medical expenses
- Trip cancellation and interruption insurance
- Baggage insurance
- All-inclusive travel insurance
6. First aid kit
Play it safe and pack a first aid kit.
Don’t leave yourself unprotected in the event of a minor medical emergency.
Take more medications than you expect to need, just in case you have to prolong your stay.
Check that you are up to date with any vaccinations recommended for travel in your destination country/ies.
Some countries even make certain vaccinations an entry requirement. Don’t forget to bring the paperwork proving you have had the vaccination.
Check out the information published by the Government of Canada on travel vaccinations.
When travelling, make sure you take the following precautions:
- Pay in cash.
- Avoid paying with a debit card since these are easier to clone.
- If you use a public computer, log out from any site you have visited that requires a password and clear the cache.
- Keep your wits about you if you meet someone who seems in a hurry to get married; it may be Canadian citizenship they desire more…
Remain on guard and tell yourself that if a situation seems too good to be true, there’s probably something fishy going on.
When possible, travel light and avoid carrying a lot of cash.
Keep your passport and travel documents somewhere safe; for example, in your hotel’s safety deposit box. Keep a photocopy of your passport on you.
Be on the lookout for pickpockets. Do not trust strangers who come up to you, trying to attract your attention. They often work in groups and perform a practised routine that ends with them leaving with your bags and personal items.
Pack any valuable items and electronic devices in your hand luggage rather than in the bags you register. Opening a suitcase (even with a lock) is child’s play.
Don’t advertise your wealth and avoid wearing flashy jewelry.
Remember not to hang bags over the back of a chair in public places.
Be careful when withdrawing money from a bank machine and, if possible, do it in daylight.
10. Plan your itinerary
Work out each stage of your route carefully when travelling abroad.
Before leaving, study your itinerary so that you always know where you are if a problem crops up.
Do not rely completely on technology for getting around; paper maps are still extremely helpful if the Internet connection is unreliable.