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Travel safety tips


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There isn’t much that’s more exciting than the moment you’ve booked yourself on a holiday with your mates. While finding an amazing deal on plane tickets and cheap beds in a hostel are important, here are a few travel safety tips to make your travels as enjoyable as possible:

travel tipsGet some local currency

Before you go, convert some pounds into the currency you’ll need in the country you’re visiting. While you’ll probably be able to use your credit card in most places, it always helps to have cash for taxis, phone calls, snacks and impulse souvenir buys.

Know some of the language

If you’re going to a country where English isn’t the spoken language, get a pocket dictionary or phrasebook. You don’t need to be fluent in the language, but knowing how to ask for help, how much something costs, where the toilets are, or if anyone speaks English will come in very handy.

Always know where you’re going

While half the fun of a holiday is not knowing what the next day will hold, it does help to have a couple basic plans in mind, and to know roughly how to get around the city you’re staying in. Invest in a good travel guide, and make sure everyone in the group has a map. Lost tourists are an easy target for pickpockets and scam artists, so talk about what everyone wants to do before you leave your hostel, and make a note of how to get to each place.

Don’t do anything illegal

Your mum and dad probably said this too you as well, but it’s easy to forget about rules and regulations when you’re on holiday. Laws aren’t the same everywhere, and punishments for some crimes like drug use and disorderly behaviour are a lot more severe than they are in the UK. Missing your flight home because you’re in a police station is probably not the sort of memory you want to have.

Keep your bag close, and your valuables closer

Hold onto your bags wherever you go, and don’t carry your passport around if you don’t need to. It’s easy to have your bag or wallet stolen while you’re on public transport or walking through a crowd of people, but you don’t have to make it easy by having your credit card sticking out of your back pocket, carrying an open handbag or wearing expensive jewellery.

Secure suitcases in hotel/hostel room or locker

Similarly, if there’s anything that you don’t need to carry around with you while you’re out and about, leave it in your hotel room or in a rented locker. If you’re staying in a multi-bed room in a hostel, it also helps to keep your suitcase or bag locked during the night.

Don’t carry anything in your bags that isn’t yours

If someone you’ve just met while on holiday asks you to carry something in your bag before you board a plane, don’t do it...even if you’re sure you can trust them. Carrying drugs or other contraband out of foreign countries can result in severe punishments, and if it’s in your bag, it’s your responsibility.

Get travel insurance

Even if you’re going to be away for just a few days, it’s a good idea to get travel insurance. If you get hurt, sick, lose your luggage or have anything stolen, it can actually save you a lot of money and hassle. Search around for the best price for a comprehensive policy (see Getting insurance).

Write down important phone numbers

If the worst happens and you do lose your wallet, passport or mobile phone, be prepared by noting down phone numbers for your bank, mobile phone provider, credit card company and the local British consulate. It will save you an internet search (which can cost you money as well). Remember to add +44 to any numbers you’re calling in the UK.

Be sensitive to the culture you’re in

When you’re visiting another country, you’ll probably find lots of things that are different from what you’re used to in the UK. Some articles of clothing or common actions that don’t seem like a big deal to you might offend people in the country you’re travelling to. Try to find out more about this before the date of your flight, or simply be aware of how people act and dress when you arrive. The smallest effort to fit in could be more appreciated than you realise.

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