With COVID-19 restrictions easing around the world, travel is now on the cards for many of us. After being cooped up inside for what seems like an eternity, thousands of Australians are now flocking to faraway lands such as Thailand, Bali, the US and more to make up for years of missed out fun and adventure. However, nothing ruins an adventure faster than getting sick, scammed or robbed when you travel, and prioritising safety as a tourist should always be on top of your travel list.

With that in mind, here are 8 of our best travel safety tips to help minimise your chances of disaster on your holiday.

1. Be smart about your money
The last thing you want is to have your cash and credit cards lost or stolen when you are abroad, which is why being smart about your money is paramount when you are travelling. As a general rule, one should always avoid carrying huge amounts of cash, but if you absolutely must, it is always recommended to leave the bulk of it locked up in your hotel safe. In our opinion, a much better (and safer) option to travelling with cash is to only use debit/credit cards, or even better, get your hands on a prepaid Travel Money Card.

Prepaid cards allow you to preload a specific amount of money to take with you on holiday, which you can withdraw at ATMs or use to purchase goods and services. The benefit of a travel money card over a debit or credit card is that should your card get stolen, you are protected from criminals or robbers accessing all the funds you have in your bank account. Additionally, travel money cards allow you to lock in your exchange rate before travelling (whether you’re looking to convert AUD to EUR or vice versa), avoid multiple currency conversion fees and load multiple currencies onto one card.

2. Limit the valuables you bring on your trip
Aside from your cash and credit cards, travellers should also be wary of bringing too many valuables on your trip. Your security begins with what you pack, and anything you bring along with you can potentially get lost or stolen. As such, it is vital to think twice before bringing jewellery, expensive electronics or fancy cameras if possible. The fewer valuables you have on you, the lower your chances of becoming a target. Long story short, minimise the opportunities for theft by keeping your valuables safe at home.

If you must bring expensive items along on your trip, always remember to invest in a slash-proof backpack and to lock them up in a hotel safe or other secure location when not in use.

3. Follow COVID-19 guidelines
Although the height of the pandemic has left us, COVID-19 is still a looming threat all around the world. As such, following health and safety guidelines is key to ensuring that you don’t fall sick on your amazing adventure. To start, it is important to regularly check the rules, health risks and requirements specific to your destination. You should also follow local health advice and continue to take simple hygiene and infectious disease control steps, such as:

  • Wearing a mask in public;
  • Frequently washing your hands or using hand sanitiser;
  • Social distancing;
  • Monitoring for symptoms; and
  • Getting tested if you feel unwell or are showing symptoms of COVID-19.

Although many countries no longer require you to test negative before departure, it is still advised to take a COVID-19 test prior to your travels in order to keep yourself and others safe. Find out more about global COVID-19 health advisory here.

4. Don’t forget travel insurance
Travel insurance is an absolute must, more so now than ever before. The truth is, you never think you need insurance until you do, and everyone should carry some kind of health and property insurance when travelling. Healthcare can be incredibly expensive overseas, and travel insurance can help to protect you against financial loss in the event you need medical assistance on your travels. Furthermore, insurance covers risks during travel such as the cost of cancellation and delays,  loss of passport and personal belongings cover, loss of checked in baggage and more.

Thankfully, most travel insurance options are incredibly affordable in 2022, making it that much easier to protect yourself overseas.

5. Be aware of popular scams
Not to be a downer or anything, but the world is (unfortunately) rampant with scammers. No matter what country you are in, scammers exist to prey on vulnerable individuals, and tourists are often a target for scams and other crimes globally. With this in mind, it is so important to research the places you’re visiting to look into what the local scammers are up to. Luckily, Smart Traveller has an extensive write up about the various scams you may encounter on your journeys which you can read about here.

Scams can affect anyone of any age or background, and it is always better to be safe than sorry by doing your due diligence prior to travelling.

6. Keep digital copies of important documents
The last thing you want is to end up losing your passport or other important documents while on holiday, which is why keeping digital copies of important documents on the cloud is always encouraged. In the event that you lose your passport or any other important document, having a digital copy will better equip you in working with your local embassy to ensure that you are able to cross borders without trouble.

Depending on where you are travelling, you’ll want to keep digital copies of the following:

  • Passport (the identification page)
  • Visa
  • Travel insurance
  • Driver’s licence
  • Credit or debit cards
  • Airline tickets
  • Hotel or lodging reservation confirmations
  • Car rental reservation confirmations
  • Vaccination certificates
  • Any other prepaid confirmations

7. Check in with friends and family
No matter how long or short your trip, it is always a good idea to check in with friends and family regularly. Before you leave, be sure to let your loved ones know about your itinerary and always update them should there be any changes to your travel plan. You should also provide loved ones with key documents such as your insurance, prescriptions, copies of your passport and visa. Lastly, it is always a wise idea to make a habit of checking in with a close friend or family member back home at the end of each day.

In the event of an emergency or disaster, your friends and family will be better equipped to send help sooner rather than later if they are aware of your movements and travel itinerary.

8. Trust your instincts
Last but not least, one should never underestimate their instincts when travelling overseas. That gut feeling or ‘spidey sense’ that you feel can often be your body’s way of warning against danger, making it vital to trust your intuition if something feels strange or ‘off’ during your holiday. Instincts are your most important safety tool, so be sure to remain vigilant at all times and to take active measures if you feel unsafe, whether that means contacting local authorities, getting in touch with your local embassy or simply staying away from unsavoury characters or situations you may encounter.

And there you have it – 8 expert tips that are guaranteed to safeguard you on your next international adventure. The truth is, if you want to travel, you cannot avoid risk. There is no way to be 100% safe from any threat, especially when you are in unfamiliar territory. However, by remaining vigilant and following the steps listed in this article, you will be much better prepared to minimise risk and confidently face anything that comes your way.

Until next time, safe travels and happy holidays!

This is a sponsored article produced in partnership with Digital Next.

Image: Supplied

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