Vacations and holidays can be great fun, relaxing by the beach, eating new food, exploring a new place and drinking until 5am in the morning. However, staying safe on vacation is just as important as having fun and, as someone who overthinks and stresses about everything travel related (great travel blogger!), I have everything covered in this quick guide to staying safe whilst you are travelling.
Check your dates – Did I mention I worry about everything travel related? Yeah…that all started when I booked the wrong month for a flight! I rocked up to the airport to realise I had missed a flight by a month and had to spend over £1000 to be able to fly that day instead. So, triple check your dates before booking and have your ticket confirmations readily available. Even if it is just a screen shot on your phone, have it handy if needed.
Read about my other travel mistakes here.
Prep your home – I’ll be honest. We live in a city called Tianjin, just 30 minutes outside of Beijing in China. It is the quietest and safest place I have ever known. People leave their laptops and phones out in coffee bars all the time, cars and scooters are left with their keys in the ignition whilst the owner is shopping or picking up food. It is a safe place. However, we still prep our home before our holidays, to ensure our possessions stay safe.
- Close and lock all your windows and doors.
- Speak with a neighbour you can trust, let them know you will be away and to keep an eye out.
- Put away any garden tools such as ladders or patio furniture.
Get travel insurance – It is one of those things we wish we never need but are always worth getting before a trip. You never know when an accident can happen. Plus, good travel insurance can include lost luggage and delayed flights; surprisingly more common than you would expect. If you have a holiday booked with a travel agents, most likely you can get a travel insurance included with the package. However, for those booking flights and hotels individually and especially for those with extended travels, we use World Nomads for our travel insurance.
Vaccines – Before you jet off to your exotic location of choice, check if vaccinations or medicine needs to be taken before your trip. Head over to the Fit For Travel website to check what vaccinations you may need before your visit.
Organise the essentials – There I was in Chicago airport, this was the third big travel trip Calum and I had done and I was feeling pretty confident. I strolled up to the gate to check in and realised my passport was not in my hand luggage! After much panic, stress, a few tears and Calum trying to calm me down, I realised my passport was packed in my hand luggage…the handbag I was going to use as hand luggage which I had decided against and was now safely packed in my suitcase. NOT FUN.
So, luckily I was able to retrieve it and we still made our flight but I learnt a lesson the hard way. Now I have a passport holder that holds passports, some foreign money (of the destination we are heading to, not just any foreign cash) and our boarding passes. I check I have this everywhere we go, these are our essentials and having a bright purple holder helps. Find a way that works for you to stay organised and stick to it.
Don’t overpack your hand luggage – Simply put, the more stuff you have in your bag, the higher chance you will lose something important. Every flight or train journey we go on, I use to have my kindle, iPad, Calums latest gaming device, headphones, phone, camera, magazine and the list went on. And every flight and train, no matter how short or long the journey was, I saw with my headphones in, listening to music and not touching anything else in my handbag. Now I still carry all of those things in a small suitcase that goes in the overhead locker, with a small bag with my phone, passport, camera and headphones to have with me on the flight.
Screenshots are your friend – No one wants to use their data on their travels and get a massive phone bill, therefore screenshots are a must. Before leaving your home country, screenshot the address of your hotel and any other important information you may need. We find this particularly helpful if we have tours booked and various meeting points to remember. On an extra note, take a photo of your passport too, this comes in handy if you lose your passport!
Know where you are – Sounds crazy but knowing where your hotel is will come in handy when you are stumbling back to your room at 4am after a few too many to drink. This is more important if you are travelling as a group and will likely split up into small groups or pairs.
Stay together – Linking to the tip above, if you are travelling as a group, stay together. Just as you would at home, stay with your friends whilst you are partying around the world. Arranging a meeting point or backup plan is also helpful, incase you get split up with the group.
Accidents can happen – Accidents can happen, from minor to major cases. If you have an accident whilst you are travelling, chances are you can make a claim for compensation, learn more here.
Safe Drinks – Keep an eye on your drinks whilst you’re out. Don’t take drinks from strangers, don’t leave your drinks on a table or bar and cover the top of your drink whilst dancing.
Keep cash and cards separate – This may not always be possible, but try to keep your cash and cards in separate bags or preferably cash with you and cards in the safe in your hotel room. Just in case anything happens to your bag whilst you are out, you still have a way of accessing money.
Keep hydrated – Regardless of whether you are drinking alcohol or not, you should be drinking plenty of water whilst you are travelling. Chances are you will be moving around a lot more than your body is use to and/or it will be warmer than what you are used to. Keep hydrating can help keep your energy levels up, keep away any illnesses and allow you to enjoy your holiday properly.
Alcohol intake – Something I quickly learnt on my first holiday without my parents to sunny Cyprus, was that alcohol measures vary a lot more than they do in the UK. When I asked for a Malibu and coke, I had 50% Malibu and 50% Coke. Be aware of this when you are out, drinking too much can seriously ruin a night out but also a holiday.
Eat well – By no means am I saying you need to eat salad for every meal and every day of your trip; lord knows I definitely don’t follow that philosophy. But one thing I have learnt from our travels is the importance of have a balanced diet. We love trying the local food whenever we travel but we now make sure we order food with vegetables and eat fruit in the morning whilst we travel, to help our immune system, energy and general health.
Local food – On a similar note to above, it is important to be aware of where you are eating. Surprisingly, we have NEVER been sick from any of the street food vendors, stalls or restaurants we have eaten from in China or Asia at all actually. However, when we went to Ibiza, we caught food poisoning from a small restaurant, in the middle of nowhere, that was completely built for tourists. So we have rules for where we eat now:
- Eat where the locals eat.
- Eat where the menu is in the local language (English translates and/or pictures can be included but not solely in English).
- Avoid pop-up stalls that can move around (unless you have seen the same food vendor there every night of the week).
- Avoid eating in overtly touristy spots.
Taxis – Never get into an unmarked taxi and when possible, use a taxi rank; especially when travelling from airports and train stations. If possible, find out if your destination has a taxi app such as Uber and whether you can use this during your travels.
Extra tip: You only need Wifi when booking your Uber, so you can make an order whilst at your hotel or from a coffee shop with wifi.