Going on vacation is one of the great joys of life. Whether you’re heading to an exotic destination or enjoying a break closer to home, the feeling of getting away from it all is unbeatable. But it pays to take some precautions, so yours is a vacation that is trouble free.
It’s a sad fact of life that crime can be a problem in vacation hotspots – and even off the beaten track, too. There are potential pitfalls that can be easily avoided if you simply take some precautions before traveling and while you’re away. So follow these tips to ensure you stay safe on your vacation.
Watch Where You Go
This should be the first rule of any holiday – be careful of where you go. Even the friendliest and most welcoming of resorts or cities may have areas that are a no-go.
Before you book, or before you go, check the US Government travel website (1) which is regularly updated with travel alerts.
It’s not always easy to avoid the less salubrious parts of town, particularly if you’re traveling on a budget, but being street smart and savvy about how you dress, how you behave and how you react to the locals is the key to staying safe. Trust your instincts – if something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Be friendly but cautious, don’t accept lifts from strangers, and always keep your cell phone close at hand.
Make Sure Crime Doesn’t Pay
Foil pickpockets by stashing your cash where even the most nimble-fingered thief can’t get to it â€“ a money belt worn under your clothes will keep your money, cell phone, credit cards and passport safe. Wrap purse straps around your neck and keep the purse in front of you so thieves are deterred from even trying to snatch it.
Try not to carry a lot of cash on you, don’t wear flashy or expensive-looking jewelry, and don’t flash expensive electrical equipment like laptops, very smart cameras, or smartphones around. If you think your hotel room or other vacation accommodation isn’t quite as secure as you’d like, stick a chair against the door at night, and never leave important documents or items in the room unless there’s a safe.
Bin the Binges
Yes, you’re on vacation and you’re entitled to a blowout; and a little overindulgence is absolutely required to help you unwind. But do try to avoid binge drinking nightly. For a start, alcohol will dehydrate you and dehydration can be a real danger in hot climates. If you’re out partying, try and drink plenty of water in between alcoholic drinks. Don’t leave your drinks unattended, as spiking could be an issue, especially in clubs. You might be tempted to try and do things you wouldn’t at home, and while a vacation is all about new experiences, don’t do anything illegal; the consequences might be a whole lot worse than at home. Your vacation should be fun, not fraught with fears.
Be Safe, Not Sorry
A holiday romance can be the stuff of dreams or a never-ending nightmare. All you want to bring back from your holiday are fabulous memories and some souvenirs, not a sexually transmitted disease or an unwanted pregnancy. It can be all too easy to be swept away by the passion of the moment, but don’t be seduced by the moonlight and a swaying palm tree, unless you’re practicing safe sex. Condoms and contraceptives are even more important when you’re on vacation, so be safe, not sorry, and you’ll only bring home the beautiful memory of a holiday romance.
Ensure You’re Insured
Travel insurance is an absolute must on any vacation and nowadays, you can get really cheap policies that will give you good basic coverage. However, depending on what kind of trip you’re taking, you might be looking for more comprehensive coverage. For example, winter sports and adventure activities are often excluded in insurance policies unless you pay extra: definitely check the small print if you’re planning to go scuba diving, skiing, or snowboarding. You also need a policy that fully covers you for all medical expenses, and one that won’t leave you stranded if you lose your passport or your credit cards. Get that sorted before you go and you’ll have total peace of mind on your vacation.
Slip, Slop, Slap
In the words of the song, everybody’s free to wear sunscreen, so do it! Even if you’re lucky enough to have the sort of skin that tans easily, follow the advice of the international campaign (2) to prevent sunburn; slip on a shirt, slop on the lotion and slap on a hat. If you’re vacationing somewhere hot, top up the lotion regularly during the day, suntan lotion won’t stop you getting a tan, but the combination of that and a hat will prevent you getting heat stroke. Make sure you drink plenty of water, too, while you’re soaking up the rays, so your sunbathing sojourn leaves you gorgeously golden not a frazzled, burned mess.
Make the Memories Magical
All it takes to stay safe on vacation is a little common sense and following these simple precautions, which can ensure your holiday is all about magical memories and not bitter regrets.