Safety tips for travelling abroad

Whether you are travelling abroad for business or pleasure, there are a number of precautions you can take to ensure that you stay safe on foreign soil. Trips don’t need to be stressful or fraught with obstacles, so long as you are properly prepared and take things in your stride. Here are just a few tips that might help you, when you are next out of the country.

Bring a smartphone

It may seem obvious, but a smartphone can be an immensely useful tool when you are heading to unknown parts of the world. From finding your way with GPS and mapping, to using your handset to access the internet, searchfor services and look up worthwhile stopping points, there are endless uses that you can get out of it. When it comes to staying safe, a smartphone will let you know where to go, where to avoid and how to fit in with the local culture, to minimise the likelihood of committing a faux pas. Before you take your smartphone abroad, there are some things to consider.

Firstly the cost of calls, texts and internet access will vary from country to country while you are roaming. Within the EU, the cost of using such services has been coming down significantly in recent years thanks to regulator intervention. By 2018, you will be able to avoid high roaming charges and use your phone freely, just as you would at home. When visiting non-EU nations, it is better to invest in a local SIM card which works with a domestic network operator, since this will be a great money-saving solution and will fend off nasty bills upon your return.

When you are out and about, be mindful of your smartphone use and do not get distracted by it in busy cities, or walk around on your own at night glued to it. Doing so could put you at risk, so stay sensible and stay safe.

Get insurance

Travel insurance is cheap, easy to acquire online and can be a lifesaver in various scenarios. If your flights are cancelled, your luggage goes missing, your wallet is stolen or you have to make use of emergency healthcare facilities in the country you are visiting, there are insurance packages that will protect you against the negative financial repercussions of all of these eventualities. Because you can compare travel insurance and even build a bespoke package in many instances, you never need to pay for more than you need.

Write things down

The smartphone age has eliminated the once common habit of keeping paper copies of useful pieces of information close to hand. However, many calamities that might occur when travelling abroad can be averted if you combine your reliance on digital services with some more traditional alternatives. So write down or print out useful contact numbers and addresses which you will need on your travels, including things like the accommodation you are using, the local emergency service number and, of course, the numbers of your family and friends back home. The ubiquity of mobiles means that many people do not bother to memorise the numbers of their nearest and dearest, putting them in a tricky position if their phone is stolen while they are overseas.