With only two weeks until we leave, friends are sending me tons of links on how to stay safe while travelling. One in particular is an extensive guide for women travelling alone. It burns my butt that such a thing is necessary, but unfortunately it is. Being prepared could save you a lot of grief.
Some of the highlites:
-Know where you’re going. Research any challenges you might face for that particular country so you can be prepared.
-Leave copies of important travel information with someone at home. Passport, itinerary, ID, and important numbers.
-Also leave copies of those important documents in your suitcase in case of theft or loss.
-Get Travel Insurance, some provinces plans do cover you abroad so check with your local government office.
-Consider taking a few self defence courses. We all should do this anyhow, but it is even more important while travelling on your own.
-Register your trip with Canadians Travel Abroad. This is a registry to keep you connected to Canada in case of any disasters or problems.
-Leave as many valuables at home as you can, and do not wear your bling whenever possible. This will attract the wrong crowd.
-Always carry with you an emergency contact index card with your personal information, as well as the contact information and address, with directions, for your country’s embacy.
-Keep your luggage with you at all times to avoid tampering, and turn your luggage tags backward so prying eyes can not see your information.
-Criminals will often target women travellers, be warry of overly friendly locals.
-Set a contact schedule with friends or family back home. Use it to check in regularly so they will know if something is wrong.
-Only use reputable marked taxis, and do not get into a car if the driver has approached you.
-Know the culture of the country you are travelling to, and try to blend in. Some actions that are perfectly reasonable at home may be offensive to another culture and draw attention to yourself.
-Travel with sanitary products, simple medications like ibuprofen, anti nausea, or anti diarrhea, and condoms, these may not be readily available in the country you are visiting.
-It is a good idea to get a check up before you leave and discuss your trip with your doctor. They will know of any current health risks, shots, or other medications you might need.
-If you are single, wear a fake wedding band to thwart unwanted advances.
While chances are that none of these things will be necessary, there is no harm in being prepared. I will be travelling with my teenaged daughter, and will darn well be sure to know everything I can to be sure I keep her, and myself safe. Since we will be on a boat for the most part, most of these risks are very minimal, but that does not mean I shouldn’t try to reduce as much of it as I can. A little knowledge goes a long way.
One other thing I learned from a travel agent that should be a no brainer, but really never occured to me. When you are researching your destination country, try to use only government and official tourism sites. These sites will be the least biased and offer you a more true vision of the place you will be visiting and what it has to offer.
As it turns out, before I read the guide, I hadn’t even thought about travel health insurance. It was one of those forehead smacking moments, but on doing a little more research it seems that Alberta does cover many services outside of Canada. I am going to look into supplemental insurance anyhow, but it was a relief to know that for the most part, we are already covered. Be sure to check with your province, or state, and know what you need before you call for a quote. The cost for emergency medical insurance while we are away is a whopping $57 for both of us. I was having visions of thousands of dollars, this amount is negligeable and totally worth it for the peace of mind.
Now that you’ve gotten all those little niggly things out of the way, you can truly relax and enjoy your vacation!!!
You can read the full guide here, Her Own Way
Some other helpful links.