Travel Safety Tips: How to Stay Safe and Secure When You’re Away from Home

Whether you’re going on a business trip or a well-deserved holiday, travelling can be an exciting and enriching experience. However, it can also present risks, especially if you’re not familiar with your destination or if you’re travelling alone. That’s why it’s important to take steps to ensure your safety and security when you’re away from home.


In this blog post, we’ll share some travel safety tips to help you stay safe and secure on your next trip. From researching your destination and packing smart, to staying aware of your surroundings and protecting your valuables, we’ll cover everything you need to know to make the most of your travels while staying safe.


Research Your Destination Before You Go


One of the most important things you can do to stay safe when travelling is to research your destination thoroughly before you go. This applies whether you’re planning a road trip in South Africa or travelling abroad.


If you’re taking a “sho’t left” here in Mzansi, research your route and any potential hazards you may encounter along the way. Look up weather conditions, road closures, and any safety advisories for the areas you’ll be visiting. Be aware of the time of day and plan your route to avoid travelling in high-risk areas at night. If you’re planning to camp, check out the safety of the campsite and surrounding areas.


When travelling abroad, research the culture, customs, and laws of the country you’ll be visiting. Familiarise yourself with any safety advisories, travel restrictions or areas to avoid. Make copies of important documents like your passport and leave them with someone you trust back home, just in case. Knowing a few key phrases in the local language can also be helpful in navigating your surroundings and communicating with locals.


For both domestic and international travel, research transportation options and choose reputable companies to travel with. Look up reviews and ratings for accommodations and restaurants, and avoid any with poor safety records. Remember to also check for any vaccinations or other health requirements for your destination.


Pack Smart: What to Bring (and What to Leave Behind)


When packing for your trip, it’s important to pack smart and only bring what you need. Not only will this help you stay organised and avoid overpacking, but it can also improve your safety and security on the road.


Start by making a list of essential items you’ll need for your trip. This should include any necessary medications, travel documents, and important contact information. Depending on your destination, you may also need to pack clothing appropriate for the weather and culture, as well as any necessary gear for outdoor activities.


When it comes to valuables, it’s best to leave them behind if possible. If you must bring expensive items like jewellery or electronics, make sure they are properly secured in your luggage and kept out of sight. Consider bringing a small lock for your luggage to add an extra layer of security.


Be mindful of the weight and size of your luggage, as heavy or bulky bags can be difficult to carry and attract unwanted attention. Consider investing in lightweight and compact travel gear, like a backpack or rolling suitcase, to make your travels more comfortable.


Remember to also pack any necessary safety equipment, like a first aid kit. If you’re planning to drive, make sure to pack a car emergency kit with items like a spare tyre and jumper cables.


Stay Aware of Your Surroundings


When travelling, it’s important to stay aware of your surroundings at all times. This means paying attention to the people and places around you, and being prepared for any potential risks or hazards.


Start by observing the behaviour of people around you. If you notice anyone acting suspicious or following you, try to move to a crowded or well-lit area. Avoid displaying any valuables like phones or cameras in public, as this can attract unwanted attention.


Be cautious when using public transportation or walking in unfamiliar areas. Stick to well-lit and busy streets, and avoid walking alone at night. If you’re using public transportation, keep your belongings close to you and be aware of any pickpockets or other thieves.


If you’re travelling with others, establish a plan for what to do if you get separated. Agree on a meeting point and make sure everyone has a copy of important documents like your itinerary and passport. Consider using a money belt or hidden pouch to store your valuables while out and about. This can help deter thieves and keep your items safe.


Stay Connected: Keeping in Touch with Friends and Family


Travelling can be an exciting and enriching experience, but it can also be lonely or isolating if you’re far from home or travelling alone. That’s why it’s important to stay connected with friends and family while you’re on the road.


Start by establishing a regular check-in schedule with loved ones back home. This could be a daily phone call, text message, or email to let them know you’re safe and where you are. Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram can also be a great way to share updates and photos with friends and family.


Consider downloading communication apps like WhatsApp or Skype, which allow you to make free or low-cost calls and video chats from anywhere in the world. This can be a great way to stay in touch with loved ones without incurring expensive international calling fees.


If you’re travelling with a companion, make sure to establish clear communication and set expectations for how often you’ll check in with each other. This can help ensure everyone feels safe and connected throughout the trip.


Remember to also have a plan in place in case of an emergency. Make sure your loved ones back home have a copy of your itinerary and contact information for your accommodations and transportation providers. Keep a list of emergency contacts on hand, including local authorities and embassy or consulate information.


Emergency Preparedness: What to Do in Case of an Accident or Attack


While no one wants to think about the worst-case scenario, it’s important to be prepared in case of an accident or attack while travelling. Here are a few tips for emergency preparedness:


  • Familiarise yourself with local emergency services and their contact information. This could include police, ambulance, and fire services, as well as the nearest hospital or medical facility.
  • Make sure you have a first aid kit with you, and know how to use it in case of injury or illness.
  • If you’re travelling in a group, establish a plan for what to do in case of an emergency. Make sure everyone knows where to meet and how to contact each other.
  • Keep your phone charged and with you at all times, and have a backup battery or charger available. Consider downloading a location-tracking app like Find My Friends, which can help loved ones find you in case of emergency.


And remember, if you’re travelling in South Africa, EMERGIVAC’s roadside assistance service can provide you with peace of mind knowing that you have reliable help in case of a vehicle breakdown or other roadside emergency. All EMERGIVAC members also get access to our Emergi-Guard offering anywhere in the country. Learn more about the many perks of joining up here. Happy travels! 


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