“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.” Anthony Bourdain
Travel broadens the mind – it also widens the net for new bugs and new predators! But don’t let that distract you, nothing beats a new foreign destination to get the travel juices flowing and the holiday vibe going. Just be on the lookout so that you bring back good memories.
Travel presents many opportunities for tourists to get into trouble. From catching a disease to having a run-in with dodgy locals, or even getting hit by a car when they’re looking the wrong way (particularly in countries where residents drive on the “wrong” (read right-hand side) of the road!
As we gear up to gear down, many of us are tweaking travel plans for destinations abroad. If you’re one of the lucky international travellers this festive season, here are some useful travel tips to ensure your safety:
Learn a few key words and phrases like, “where is the South African Embassy?” or “where is the closest doctor?” so that you can communicate in the case of an emergency. Download an app on your phone before you travel so that you can translate with ease or simply dial Suri!
Make copies of all your important travel documents, eg. visas, passports, itineraries, credit cards, and children’s birth certificates. Carry one in your luggage and on your person and leave one with a trusted friend or family member back home.
Find out about Health Insurance to cover you at your destination. Paying for healthcare in Pounds or Dollars is hectic and you don’t want to be spending your hard-earned money on anything other than all the travel treats you planned.
Check that you have stock of any chronic medications and ask your doctor to prescribe something for any recurring illnesses which may affect you so that you have these on hand. Make sure you have any obligatory vaccines in good time and just to be safe, pack a hand-sanitizer in your handbag or onboard luggage.
Call the AA to get an international drivers license for your destination. Better safe than sorry.
Be wary of people who bump into you with a fuss – they could be pickpockets.
Be aware of your surroundings and try not to walk around in awe – the kind of look that screams TOURIST!
Enjoy your travels!