Going travelling is an unrivalled opportunity to see breath-taking sights, meet amazing people and soak up unique cultures. Although backpacking offers an unforgettable experience, for some people this can unfortunately be for the wrong reasons. Below are five ways you can improve your safety when you go travelling to ensure an enjoyable trip.
- Book your accommodation in advance
It might seem as though you’re killing the adventure of the trip by planning your route in advance but it’s important to book at least your first night’s accommodation for each new city or country you plan to visit on your trip. Doing this will allow you to get a feel for the area before you really immerse yourself in the culture. This is much better than simply turning up in a new place and hoping to find somewhere to sleep which can put you in a vulnerable position. Check out backpacking forums, travel blogs and websites such as Tripadvisor for reviews and recommendations on places to stay.
- Learn a little of the lingo and do your research
If you’re travelling to a number of countries then it will be impossible to learn the language of all of them, but it’s wise to learn a few key words to help if you’re in trouble. Most guidebooks include common phrase sections so try to remember a few of them for emergency situations such as asking for help, where the nearest hospital is and so on. Before you set off, familiarise yourself with the culture of the places you are visiting and note any areas which should be avoided or common scams targeted to tourists, for example.
- Take out travel insurance
Travel insurance can cover everything from a bag lost in transit to needing medical attention so it’s well worth taking out. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune either. Use price comparison websites to shop around for the best deal and read the small print carefully to check you will be covered for everything you plan on doing during your trip.
- Stay safe on the roads
If you’re driving or cycling abroad (or even as a pedestrian) do some research into the rules of the road in the country you are visiting, particularly road signs, and who has priority at junctions and roundabouts. If you are in a road accident abroad then you might be able to make a compensation claim for the accident, as long as you were not at fault. If you are injured, ensure you seek medical attention straightaway and try to gain as much information as possible from the person responsible for causing the accident. Many of the factors associated with road accident in the UK apply to accidents abroad too and you may be able to make a claim whether you were the driver involved or a passenger in a private car, taxi, bus or coach.
- Keep in touch
Luckily, it’s much easier to keep in touch when travelling these days thanks to the ease of emails, texts and social media updates, as well as picking up the phone. As a rule of thumb, let someone know back home when you’ve reached a new destination so at least they have an idea of your whereabouts. Better still, if you’ve followed point one, you’ll be able to provide your loved ones with an outline itinerary of your trip before you set off.
Sarah Stewart is a travel and lifestyle blogger who writes regularly for a range of websites.