Some of us love to travel. Some of us take annual vacations to the same summer locales. Some of us never travel, but find a trip planned in the future for family issues. No matter what the reason, we like to travel safely. How safe are your travel practices?
Here are 14 tips to make your travel time safer and easier.
1. Make a Visit to the Doctor
It is good practice to make an appointment with ones family doctor before going away especially if a traveller is taking any medications. This is especially the case if one is a diabetic. Diabetics should get a signed note from their doctor describing the medication, in case customs or border agents ask about it. Furthermore, if a traveller is going to an exotic location, a doctor may advise not to drink the water.
2. Medical Precautions
If a traveller has any serious allergies, it would be good to travel with an EpiPen and a medical alert bracelet that might save their life. After all, one may not know exactly what is in their food especially if there is a language barrier. It is good practice to write down the generic names of medications, in case one has to replace them outside of the country.
3. Pack Light, Travel Easy
One suitcase is a lot easier to haul from home to airport, airport to check-in, destination airport to taxi, taxi to hotel and back again. Pack only what is absolutely necessary, and count on picking up luxuries at the travel destination.
4. Use the Foreign Affairs Office
Make use of the foreign affairs office. It has security advisories for various countries one might visit. It has general travel tips. Most importantly, it has contact information for the Canadian Government offices in various foreign countries. This is essential contact information if any problems arise and a traveller needs help.
5. Traveling With Children? Educate Them
Travelling with children, keep an eye on them. More importantly, educate them in the ways of travel. Make sure they know that tantrums are not appreciated. Show them where to meet in each location if they get lost. Make sure they know their home phone number and address. Review the rules for talking to strangers, and make sure they know never to wander off with someone they don't know.
6. Inform Friends/Family
Give friends and family a travel itinerary. Provide lodging information so in the event of an emergency no one would have to scramble to look for this information.
7. Leave Expensive Items Home
Don't travel with expense items. Leave the iPod and tablet at home. Bring only one computer or none if at all possible. Don't travel with any jewelry beyond a wedding ring. Try to bring nothing of obvious value, that way no one can be a target for theft.
8. Prepare for Cell Coverage
Research your cell provider's rules. It may be necessary to extend current cell phone service for international travel. Not doing so will create a multitude of roaming fees. It may be a good idea to research local SIM cards for when travelling. Picking up a local SIM card provides temporary local service, for a fee. Or choose to leave a mobile at home and pick up a temporary prepaid phone at the destination.
9. Passports and IDs
Make sure to have an up-to-date passport. A passport saves time and provides security. It limits the number of important documents needed to bring on a trip. Also it is a good idea to make photocopies of credit cards, IDs and other important documents. Leave one copy at home and pack one copy hidden away. This way if a document is ever lost, it is easy to reference information from it.
10. Leave the Credit Cards Home
Only travel with a single credit card, to limit the damage if it is ever lost or stolen. Travelling with a debit card is good to a point. It can be used in some areas, if the symbols on the card match those on the machine. Be aware that these transactions have fees. Travelling outside of North America, consider changing cash to American bills. American money is more universally accepted than Canadian cash, so it'll be easier exchanging it for local currency.
11. Research Insurance
Make sure to have an appropriate medical insurance to cover the trip - especially if a variety of extreme activities are on the agenda to do. Also consider buying travel insurance or temporary insurance for any valuables. Understand what is covered from what is not. Confirm any uncertainties with a travel agent.
12. Take the Sun in Moderation
Protect exposed skin by wearing the appropriate SPF sunblock when outdoors. No one wants to ruin their vacation with horrible sunburn, and dehydration plus sunstroke can ruin a day on the town. Of course, any time spent unprotected in the sun increases the risk of skin cancer, but that's not likely to be a vacation-ruining factor.
13. Be Aware and Declare
Visit the Be Aware and Declare site hosted by the Canadian government. It advises what can be brought in the country and what needs to be declared upon arrival. Prepare for this by keeping any gifts and souvenirs that need to be declared in a carry-on luggage bag/suitcase, so they can be easily accessed and inspected.
14. Research Customs at the Destination
Depending on where a traveller is traveling, they might want to research the customs policies for that country. Always make sure to have the appropriate ID and a passport on hand when arriving in another country. The more prepared, the less stressful it will be.