Whether you’re travelling around the corner or the globe, there’s always a tip or two you can learn. Because we’re happy to help, we’ve put together a list of tips on travelling safely. If you have other questions or needed further information about any of the points below, please give us a call at 780.448.2298.
Tips for Safe Travel
Before you go, be in the know
- Leave a travel itinerary and contact details with family or friends in Canada
- Provide family with the emergency number for Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
- Keep on hand the phone numbers for the Canadian government offices in the countries you plan to visit
Choosing your accommodations
- Good things come in small packages: The smaller the hotel, the more likely it will be that staff and guests will know that you belong and other ‘non-guests’ don’t. In this way, visitors and loiterers will tend to stand out. You might also want to consider bed-and-breakfasts for the same reason.
- Location, location, location: On top of ensuring your hotel is located in a safe neighbourhood, you also want to make sure your room is too. Avoid booking ground-floor rooms or any room that has easy access from outside, such as from a balcony or fire escape. Book a room that is close to an elevator and away from exits.
- Double trouble: Take the trouble to ensure that your room will have double locks and a peephole. To be extra careful bring along your own rubber doorstopper for added protection. While we’re on the topic of door safety, remember to never open your door to someone you don’t know. Even if your visitor claims to be a member of the staff, check with the front desk to verify the person’s need to enter your room.
On your way to your destination
- Go undercover: Use covered luggage tags and put your office address on them instead of your home address.
- Lighten-up: It is a good idea to go as unencumbered as possible. Try to minimize what you take with you and avoid using expensive-looking luggage which can mark you as a wealthy tourist. Ideally, you should be able to have one hand free at all times.
- The quick getaway: Back your car into your parking spot so that when you leave you can leave quickly because you don’t have to back out.
- Safeguard your valuables: Rather than stowing your valuables in the luggage area above your head-or worse, in the luggage you’ve checked-put them in a secure waist pack that you’ll keep on you at all times while travelling. Take your valuables with you, even when going to the washroom. When sitting in a restaurant or other public area, with your carry-on bag on the floor, put your foot through the strap. You will not only be alerted if someone tries to grab it but you also will be sure to not leave it behind.
Staying safe once your there
- Speed dial to safety: Either bring your own phone or rent one for the trip and make sure you program in a few of the local phone numbers you might need in an emergency like the police and your hotel. Don’t forget to have your family contact information handy as well. You should keep in touch with them regularly so they know your schedule and where you are headed.
- Don’t dress to impress: When travelling, keep it modest so as not bring attention to yourself. The aim is to blend in so you are not targeted as a tourist. Leave your jewelry at home and dress to respect local customs and acceptable attire.
- Work out worries: If you plan to take advantage of your hotel’s gym facilities, make sure it has an attendant. You may make yourself more of a target in an unmonitored facility. If you’re a jogger, ask the concierge for popular (and safe) running routes. Don’t wear headphones, vary the times you go jogging and carry some identification in a wrist pocket.
- Sign signals: Your hotel’s ‘Do not disturb’ sign can be used to make your room seem occupied while you are gone which is helpful if you have left valuables behind. Ideally though you should lock these valuables in the hotel safe. One sign you shouldn’t use is the “Please Make Up the Room” door hanger. Obviously with this one you give a clear signal that you are gone so it is better to just call housekeeping if you are unsure if they will be coming by.
- Night life: It is a good idea when going out at night to take precautions. Never accept drinks or food from strangers trying to befriend you. Try to walk around in well-trafficked streets. Make use of taxis and group sightseeing tours, wherever possible. As well, depending on where you are visiting know that activities you are accustomed to at home may be culturally taboo where you are visiting. Learn about, and respect local customs to stay out of harms way.
- Looks can be deceiving: People who intend to steal or harm you come in many all ages and appearances. Don’t let your guard down when travelling. Be careful that you are not swept into a false sense of security based on looks alone.
Final travel tips
- Surf to safety: Cruise the Internet before you leave and learn anything you can about staying safe in the place you are heading too. For instance find out what you can about the culture, customs and role of women in the countries. Also, familiarize yourself with the any travel advisories/reports/warnings for your destination through the Consular Affairs website.
- Travel Insurance: The last thing anyone wants to think about when planning a holiday is getting sick or injured, but when you are away from home even the most minor injuries or illnesses can become a major expense. So while an accident or illness can happen anywhere at anytime, emergency medical travel insurance helps to protect you from the unexpected costs that can come with a visit to a doctor or hospital outside of your home country.