I find it strange that concerns about safety is one of the main reasons people don’t like to travel. Demolishing those fears is one of the things we like to do around here. Today we speak with travel security expert Craig Bidois, who covers travel safety tips for before leaving home, during transit times and while you’re in foreign lands.
Craig’s pervading theme is that you can use common sense and a sense of humour to avoid, or work your way out of, tricky situations, but we also cover before you go, airports and transit, and on-the-ground practicalities.
Before you go
Research the place you’re going to, and also check Government advisories. You should check your home country’s information and consider the information given by the Australian and Canadian advisories, which are more calmly informative than those of the USA and UK.
Carry copies of vital documents — passport, visas and medical information. As well as keeping photocopies handy, leave copies at home with people who can access them. Also keep scanned copies in your email account and on a USB drive.
Airports and transit
After a long flight you’re often tired and disoriented, so it’s best to have a carefully researched plan to get you through this time. You probably didn’t meet your best friend at an airport … be wary of those people who tout and offer to help there. Getting into an unlicensed vehicle might be a very bad mistake.
Land borders and seaports are often have security that’s just as tight as at the airport. Don’t take the risk of carrying contraband materials over these borders.
Always lock your bags before handing them over to check-in staff, and consider shrink-wrapping them if you can’t lock them well. There’s always the possibility that people will take things from your bag, or add things into it — making you an involuntary mule. This is another advantage of packing light and travelling without check-in luggage.
On the ground
As well as your pre-trip research, use your time on the plane to get more information about local culture. Talk to your airline staff, locals you might sit next to, and — once you arrive — accommodation staff. The best strategy is to try to adapt to local culture as best you can and find out the do’s and don’ts quickly. The more people you speak to, the faster this acclimatisation can take place.
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Over the last few months we’ve been working with a group of helpers and interns who are doing amazing things to keep the site lively and growing while we’re on the road. This week we want to introduce Sealdi Calo who wrote this travel ebook review along with helping us with SEO; and Sam Wood, who blogs at ardenttraveller.com and is helping us with research and SEO work too. Cheers! We’ll be introducing more people over the coming weeks.