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How to travel the world safely

Most people list travel as one of their favourite pastimes. Experiencing different countries and cultures is a wonderful way of expanding one’s knowledge base. However, there are certain inherent risks in travelling. Knowing what these risks are, and how to prevent or address them, will make any journey much more stress free.

Before you travel, it is a good idea to be aware of the risks you may encounter at your destination. Be informed about the security situation in the country, local restrictions and customs. It is a good idea to make copies of your passport, driver’s license, flight tickets, itinerary and emergency contact information. Keep these copies separate from the rest of your travel documentation. Better yet, give another copy to a friend or a relative not travelling with you. Take an extra prescription of chronic medication with you, that you can fill if your current prescription runs out, or if it is lost during travel. Purchase adequate travel insurance to ensure that lost or stolen belongings are covered.

During your trip it is wise to apply a bit of common sense. Crime is a risk in any major city frequented by tourists. Avoid walking alone in deserted areas, especially at night. Registered taxi services or approved public transport should be used. Under no circumstance should you accept rides from strangers claiming to operate a transport service. Do not wear expensive jewellery. In fact, jewels and trinkets are best left at home. Keep cash and other valuables in the hotel safe when you go out for the day.

In some countries, you may be hassled by the authorities, who are looking for a bribe. This could be avoided if you know what you are required to do upon entering the country you are planning to visit. It is a good idea to carry a colour copy of your passport while sightseeing, with your actual passport locked safely away in the hotel safe. If regulations dictate that you carry your actual passport with you at all times, keep a colour copy of your passport back at the hotel. Never leave the hotel without your national embassy and hotel telephone number.

Another important aspect to consider is to stay healthy as far as possible on your trip. Look up any health issues and concerns for the country you are travelling to. Get all the necessary vaccinations prior to travelling and have proof of vaccination ready at customs. It is good to check that you have some sort of health insurance before you leave your home country. Many credit card providers offer health insurance, or purchase health insurance through your travel agent.

By keeping these few important points in mind, you will significantly lower any risk associated with travelling to your intended destination.

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