It's a big, bad world out there in many countries, whether you're talking about something minor like pickpockets or major like terrorism. It's more important than ever before to make sure you stay as safe as possible when travelling.
1. Avoid places of unrest and travel advisories
If you want a fuss-free holiday, please do your homework beforehand and make sure you aren't going somewhere with travel warnings! It can be due to anything from terrorism to general unrest and weather advisories.
Heading someplace with more problems will only stress you out further and means you have to be even more cautious than usual. And isn't the whole point of a holiday to get away and leave your worries behind?
2. Always buy travel insurance
Anything can happen when you travel. No one is magically immune to misfortune. Insurance can cover you for almost anything: Delayed flights, lost baggage, theft, medical emergencies, and even cancelling your trip due to terrorist attacks. You just have to find the right insurance plan that suits your needs. And yes, travel insurance is always going to be the safe and secure bet.
3. Make copies of your travel documents
In the event that you're robbed or lose your belongings, having a spare copy is going to help you out. I sometimes scan everything and upload it into my dropbox so that if there's such an emergency you can always download and print out the things you need.
4. Share your itinerary with close family and friends
This is so someone else not on the trip knows where you're going to be at all times. In the event something happens or you're uncontactable, at least there will be someone who can figure out where you're most likely to be.
5. Let the government know where you're going
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) encourages Singaporeans to register with its free e-service (https://eregister.mfa.gov.sg) so representatives will be able to contact or assist you if you find yourself in an emergency situation.
6. Stay contactable
If you aren't buying a local SIM card for your phone in the country you're heading to, make sure your phone's roaming is enabled. You don't have to data roam, which can be really expensive, but being able to make a call or text in an emergency is extremely important, and will be worth whatever price that international call ends up being.
7. Consider anti-theft bags and wallets
Travellers are easy prey for pickpockets, but being vigilant in a foreign land goes a long way towards holding on to your possessions. Check out our safety guide and list of anti-theft bags and wallets that will protect you from pickpockets and people looking to steal your credit card and passport information.
Some of the bags and wallets have a protective lining that blocks illegal scans of RFID chips embedded in modern-day passports and credit cards, safeguarding the user against identity theft and digital crime.
8. Don't store all your money in one place
This was one of the first things I was taught about travelling. You know, when you're a kid on holiday and your parents give you a small stash of emergency money? "Split it up in case your bag gets stolen!" was my first piece of advice. It really is handy, and even keeping money in separate pockets or bags will make a difference. If you're robbed and the thief makes off with your wallet, at least you'll still have the other half of your money!
9. Be cautious when approached by strangers
Lots of thefts that occur while travelling are the result of teamwork. Someone approaches you about a survey, bumps into you, or asks you to help them take a picture, while someone else picks your pockets.
It's true that being in a public area with lots of people is safer than wandering alone in a dark and quiet street, but you should still be vigilant at all times, choose crossbody bags over shoulder totes, and carry your bag in front of you where possible.
10. Know what to do in case of emergencies
Say you've lost your wallet or been robbed or need emergency medical attention. It's a good idea to educate yourself on what the necessary steps are at that point.
Things like making a police report, immediately calling your banks to cancel credit cards, and insurance procedures will keep you from feeling even more stressed out in the midst of an emergency.
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