Whether you’re heading for the sunshine to get away from the cold British weather, or your planning your summer holiday in advance, it’s important to look after yourself on your trip. Today’s article shares hints and tips on what you can do to ensure that you’re staying safe on holiday.
Heading over to a foreign country for a couple of weeks is a great way of relaxing, forgetting about everyday life back home and seeing some new sights. However, we often forget that we are in a different country, and that the environment, culture and laws are different.
Let’s look at 10 ways of staying safe on holiday. Don’t forget about your house whilst you’re away either, check out our guide to ensuring that you house is safe whilst you’re away.
1. Do your Research
The first thing to do to ensure that you’re staying safe on holiday is to actually do your research before you go. This is good for two reasons:
- You get to learn and find out more about your holiday destination.
- Looking through all this information, alongside pictures and videos, will make you even more excited to go.
We advise trying to find out everything that you can about your holiday resort. You should be thinking about how far your hotel is from the airport, and whether you’ll be okay getting a taxi or if it would be cheaper and safer to use a coach provided by your airline.
Visiting the Trip Advisor website is also a must. Thousands of holidaymakers use this website to leave reviews about their hotel, the local area, restaurants and the things to do within the area. Reviewers often leave hints and tips on the best places to visit but also, perhaps more importantly, the areas and restaurants in the resort to avoid.
By doing your research you will be more than prepared for your trip. You’ll know about the best activities to take part in, any scams that you need to watch out for and where the best places to eat are around your hotel.
2. Holiday Insurance
Before jetting off into the sunshine you also need to arrange holiday insurance. Unfortunately, the price of travel insurance does increase as we get older. However, the cost of getting insurance is nothing compared to the bill that you could be handed on holiday, should you have an accident or fall ill.
if you injure yourself or are unwell abroad, the hospital fees will be extortionate – there are no NHS services in Europe or America! Without insurance, not only will you be injured or unwell, but you’ll also have a huge medical bill to pay.
Travel insurance covers any unforeseen events which may occur whilst you’re away. We would suggest arranging your travel insurance as soon as you book your holiday, as your policy will cover any pre-holiday illness which may lead to a cancellation.
The Money Saving Expert website share some great holiday insurance hints and tips. Examples include:
- Never assume that all polices are the same. Check what’s included and excluded and ask yourself what you need to have covered.
- A single trip policy may be the most affordable option, especially if you’re over 65. Unless you’re travelling multiple times throughout the year, this may be the best option.
- Don’t forget your European Health Insurance Card if you’re heading to Europe. This entitles you to treatment in state-run hospitals in EU countries, as well as Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.
- Check to see if you’re already covered. Some bank accounts include extras such as travel insurance.
- If you’re going skiing, make sure you have winter sports cover included.
- if you’re going on a cruise, carefully check to ensure that your chosen policy includes the right to cancel the holiday and treatment if you’re ill on board.
- Don’t overpay! Travel agents will try and charge over the odds for their travel cover.
3. Listen to your Travel Representative
Upon arrival at your hotel, you may be informed that a representative from your holiday provider will be hosting a welcome meeting at some point within the next 24-hours. Now we know that you want to get your holiday started and don’t want to be stuck inside in a meeting, however attending will go a long way towards staying safe on holiday.
Your travel representative has probably spent the past six months or more living in that resort. This means that they understand the local culture and have extensive knowledge about the area. They will be able to share any advice from the police based on recent criminal activity and will be able to inform you of the places to avoid during your stay.
It’s always good to get to know your travel representative and to get on good terms with one another, as he or she will be your main point of call throughout your stay. Whether you need to book excursions, make a complaint or ask for advice – the travel representative is there to help.
4. Don’t Carry too much Cash
This tip is one that we should use every day, not just on holiday. Whether you’re heading down to the beach or for your evening meal and some drinks, don’t take too much cash out with you. The more you have with you, the more you will lose should the worse happen. If criminals see you flashing lot of cash then you may become a target once you leave the restaurant or bar.
Most holiday companies, such as Thomas Cook, now offer special cards which you can load your money onto before you leave. These cards work just like credit or debit cards, and you can use them for payments in shops and restaurants. Alternatively, you can get a small amount of cash out from a cash machine in the morning and then leave your card in your hotel room safe.
5. Don’t flash Jewellery and Electronics
Just like your money, you should try and avoid flashing too much jewellery and any valuable electronics whilst you’re walking around the resort. Again, local criminals may be targeting tourists and they will be looking for fancy watches, iPads, mobile phones and cameras.
Of course, we’re not saying don’t take any photographs, but just be cautious of your surroundings and don’t keep them on show for too long if you’re suspicious. With your mobile devices and camera, it might be a good idea to upload your photos onto a storage bank or hard-drive at the end of every day. This ensure that you don’t lose any photographs if you’re device is stolen.
6. Be Cautious with your Pockets
One of the most common problems in European countries is pick-pocketing. There are thousands of cases each year where tourists have had their wallets or phones taken from their pockets. This is particularly common in busy cities such as Barcelona or Milan.
Common places to see people pick-pocketing include:
- City centres.
- Shopping malls.
- Underground trail networks – Tube, Metro etc.
To reduce your chances of losing one of your valuables you should try and avoid putting things in your pockets. Instead, you could invest in a bum bag or a handbag which comes across the body. This way your belongings are hidden away from view, and you would be able to notice anybody trying to get into your bags.
If you really want to use your pockets, we suggest buying shorts that have zipped pockets. Alternatively, you can make sure that you have your hands in your pockets when you’re in any of the locations mentioned above.
7. Use your Hotel Safe
Hotel safes are there for a reason: to keep your belongings safe whilst you’re out enjoying your holiday. Again, there may be a charge for this service, however the cost is nothing compared to how you’ll feel if your belongings are stolen. The most you’re likely to pay for your safe is around £20.
Items that you should place into your safe include your passports, wallets/purses, electronic devices and any money that you don’t require. Setting a code for your safe should be one of the first things you do once you enter your hotel room.
8. Double Check that Taxi
We often hear horror stories about getting into the wrong taxi whilst on holiday. Some taxi drivers will be on the lookout for tourists and may use one of several scams to trick you into paying more money.
During your pre-holiday research, mentioned previously in this post, you should learn more about the local taxi companies. Ensure that you know what colour cars they use, what make of car, the licenses they use and ID that the drivers have to have with them. By doing this research, you’re less likely to get into an unlicensed taxi.
Other scams to watch out for include:
- The meter is broken – Taxi drivers may try to persuade you that their meter is broken, or there may not be one at all. Drivers will use this excuse to pick their own fare and charge you over the odds. If this is the case, before you get into the taxi you need to agree a price. You should check the going rate in the area during your pre-holiday research.
- Not resetting the meter – Some taxi drivers may not re-set the meter once you begin your journey. Ensure the meter is at zero before you set-off.
- The ‘better’ route – Some taxi drivers will purposely take you on a longer route to your destination, to push the price of the journey up. If you notice this, you should raise it with the driver.
- Luggage theft – In some rare cases, your driver will take your money and then drive off quickly once you’ve got out of the car. To avoid this, refuse to hand over any money until the driver has helped you to get your luggage out of the boot.
It may be advisable to take a picture of the taxi’s licence plate before you get in the vehicle, just in case anything bad does happen.
9. Be wary of the Heat
Long hours in the sunshine can be a danger to your health, whether you’re on holiday or at home. Staying out in the sunshine for too long can cause your skin to burn, which can lead to painful, sensitive skin which will sting in the shower. This will be followed by your skin beginning to peel a few days later.
This sunburn can also increase your risk of sun cancer in the future, which can be a life-threatening medical condition.
To avoid any problems, you should take a timeout from sunbathing or walking. Maybe head inside your hotel or into a bar for some food, or move your sun-lounger into the shade for a little while. Also ensure that you’re applying plenty of sun cream, topping up throughout the day and when you’ve been in the pool.
Don’t forget to wear your sunglasses as well and don’t look directly at the sun.
10. Don’t Take Chances
Lastly, we would like you to remember not to take any unnecessary risks whilst you’re on holiday. If something doesn’t look right or you’re unsure about going down a certain road, take a step back, think about it and walk the other way.
You’re on holiday to enjoy yourselves and relax, and by following our guide you’ll be able to do just that.
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