Travelling is certainly one of the most thrilling experiences in life. Travelling inspires a sense of wanderlust that has us craving for more places to visit, people to meet and cultures to experience. Packing your luggage for international travel gives you a kind of “buzz” in its own special way.
In many ways, travelling can be regarded as one of the best investments in ourselves. It no only offers memorable experiences but also greatly improves our physical and psychological wellbeing. According to McClintock Greenberg, a clinical psychologist based in San Francisco, travelling can play an important role in alleviating stress caused by work and daily demands. It is, however, important to ensure one’s safety during travel by taking proper precautions. It is also important to note all destinations bare travel risks. Risk levels associated with various destinations can vary from low risk to high risk. Following safety guidelines ensures that you enjoy your trip with minimal risk to yourself.
Obtain adequate information on your destination
Its is always important to consult your foreign office before travelling abroad. Sites belonging to your country’s foreign office often contain notices on travel warnings issued in the event of terrorist activities, civil unrest and other dangerous conditions. Where a travel warning has been issued, postponing travel is normally recommended. Travel alerts are also issued for areas that are going through short term situations that disrupt travel plans. Travel alerts offer information on weather, crime, unrest and health. Health advisories issued by government agencies can also help determine whether prophylactic medication and immunization are necessary. Travellers are advised to seek information from the U.S. Department of State before travelling.
Consider purchasing travel insurance
Part of the reason why travelling is exciting is the possibility of encountering new experiences. New experiences can, however, come with unexpected risks and costs. Nothing can be as stressful as being stuck with a hospital bill you can barely foot in a foreign country. Spending a few bucks on travel insurance can spare you unnecessary stress and guarantee blissful travel. Most comprehensive policies also reimburse nonrefundable travel expenses upon cancellation. It is, however, important to read the fine print as policies may vary from company to company. One of the insurance companies that come highly recommended by experts is World Nomads.
Join a traveller program
Various countries offer travel programs that offer updates from embassies and consulates while abroad. Residents of the United States are encouraged to join the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program also known as STEP. Nations such as Australia also have programmes such as Smart-traveller while Canada has the Registration of Canadians Abroad.
Well travelling, it is easy to get distracted by unseen threats. During such instances, we tend to forget more obvious threats that pose immediate risks. Money and other important documents should always be kept secure. One should also avoid getting too drunk and non-tourist areas after dark as one may fall prey to criminals or individuals looking to take advantage of tourists. Jewelry and attracting unnecessary attention should also be avoided. While withdrawing money always do so in a bank. Travellers should also get an overview of scams in specific destinations from travel guides and sites such as Lonely Planet. Most importantly follow your instincts and exercise common-sense safety measures.
Have an emergency and exit plan
Sometimes dangerous situations may arise unexpectedly. The best solution to sudden life-threatening situations is knowing how to leave the dangerous area fast. When that is not possible, having certification in CPR and First Aid may come in handy when faced with medical emergencies. It is also important to always have emergency phone numbers to medical facilities, local police and the embassy.
Learn the local culture
A little knowledge of local customs and behaviours can come in handy while visiting various destinations. Learning local customs not only allows you to understand the environment and the people around you but also greatly improves your overall travel experience. To gain knowledge of local customs and culture, study the nation’s history, religions and beliefs, get advice from other travellers who have been to the place and make enquiries from local guides.
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