Anthony Baraya

Travel Insurance

13 May 2015

8 Practical Tips for Staying Safe when Travelling Overseas

The world can be a dangerous place but, depending on where you are travelling to, it’s probably not as dangerous as you think. In fact, travelling overseas may be no more dangerous than visiting your home city. Therefore, you should get out and explore this incredible planet of ours without covering yourself in padding or missing all the experiences the world has to offer.

That being said packing your common sense is the best travel safety tip we can give you. Too often we see and hear stories of Aussie travellers getting into real trouble because they got carried away in the moment, or forgot that the rules and laws of the countries they are visiting are not always the same as ours. Sometimes all it takes to avoid these situations is to apply some common sense.

1. Learn the lie of the land

Now we don’t mean you need to buy a map and memorise every hill, valley and contour of the area you’re travelling through. As mentioned earlier, each country has its own set of cultural beliefs, religious views and laws that can appear worlds apart from what you are used to. Regardless of whether you think these beliefs are harsh or unfair, remember that you are a visitor and should respect these beliefs. It is important that you at least get a basic understanding of the principles behind these laws and understand what you can and cannot do.

2. Always look back

When travelling overseas, you may carry more on your person than you usually would at home. Looking back when you leave a restaurant or park bench is a great way to confirm you haven’t accidentally left a book/phone/wallet or anything else behind. Not only is this a good habit to develop for safety’s sake, it’s also a great way to avoid constantly losing your stuff – something that happens to be the bane of most travellers’ existence.

3. Travel tips to keep you and your money safe

When you are not travelling it is perfectly normal to keep all your cash and credit cards in one place – your wallet. It’s equally normal to then place your wallet in your back pocket or even your handbag. When travelling, it’s wise to practice the complete opposite. Making sure you always have access to funds is paramount, especially if you’ve been pickpocketed. Keeping your cards and money separate guarantees you always have access to at least one card and some cash. Placing your wallet or purse in a more secure location like a front pocket, special travel bags or money pouches will also reduce the likelihood of you being a pickpocket’s target in the first place.

4. Travel Insurance is a must

It may seem like an exorbitant amount of money at first, but compared to what an accident or being robbed could potentially cost you, it’s a no brainer. Visit SmartTraveller.gov.au for non-bias insurance advice and comparison tools and find the right travel insurance policy to suit your needs.

5. Don’t flaunt it and you won’t lose it

When travelling there is a chance that you may have more money than the locals, but making them aware of this may be a trigger for trouble. The same applies for public displays of affection. If travelling with a partner remember that not all countries view the sanctity of a relationship the same and what may seem perfectly acceptable in Australia may actually be illegal in many other countries. So be discreet with your money and public displays of affection.

6. A SmartTraveller is a safe traveller

If you want to stay safe during your overseas holiday then you need to prepare yourself before you leave Australia. Visit SmartTraveller.gov.au to note any travel warnings and register your travel plans. Also, make sure you share these same details with loved ones at home. It may seem obvious, but so many tragedies could have been avoided if the Australian Government or even a family member was aware of where their loved ones were travelling and when.

7. Read the fine print

Being a smart traveller is about more than visiting the above website and registering your plans. Throughout the trip you need to stay on your toes to avoid getting into trouble. This includes making sure you read all the fine print on anything you are asked to sign or take part in. It also means checking the credentials of any instructors or teachers you come in contact with and making sure you know exactly what you are getting into before you even begin.  If you have any doubts or feel uneasy about the people you are dealing with remember the simple line ‘If in doubt, check yourself out’ and use your common sense.

8. Enjoy your travels

We hope that by using some of these tips and your common sense you will have really great and safe travel experiences. Don’t forget to check back and let us know how your travels went.