With the all the recent terrorist attacks in news it hard to not be anxious about travelling overseas, and with many of our client’s traveling abroad for their surgeries many have come to questions if it is a safe to travel.
So is it safe to travel? It depends on whom you ask, what you plan to do when you get there and the kinds of precautions you’re willing to take while you travel. Some of the advice that you would give to a friend traveling in Australia (including yours) would be the same advice you would follow when traveling around most of the world. And, as is so often the case, some of your biggest fears – the threat of terrorism, for instance, or street crime – might be greater than your fear of crossing the road which statistically, would be a much more realistic threat.
It’s delusional to avoid travel to keep yourself out of danger, after all, PropertySafe reports that the home is the most common location in Australia for injuries to occur. But the opposite belief, that we should ignore all recent threats, is also delusional.
Tips to help prepare you for safe travels:
Do you research: Research the safety of your intended destination with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The Smart Traveller website is a good sources of information on how safe it is to travel to Thailand. It issues Travel Alerts and Travel Warnings for the parts of the world that pose any perceived threat to citizens traveling there.
Register your travel plans: You can also register your travel plans through the Smart traveler website so in the case of an attack or natural disaster, the Department of Foreign Affairs knows where to send you up-to-the-minute safety reports for Thailand, how to contact you if necessary and so that it can help your family and friends get in touch with you in case of an emergency.
Get local: Watch the local news in-country, or find an English language local source. Monitor Twitter and other social media sites. They won’t always have accurate information, but they’ll alert you to activity in areas you need to avoid. And you do need to avoid large crowds, political gatherings, protests and riots. This should be obvious, no? But all too often, curious onlookers are injured because they followed a crowd and found themselves in a dangerous situation.
Prep the kids: Though you don’t want to scare the kids of your upcoming travels, you also don’t want them to freeze during an emergency. Its best to practices for specific scenarios—everything from a fire or a bomb (follow police evacuation instructions) to a missed metro stop (go one more stop, get off and don’t move; we’ll come to you). Though you can’t know what scenario, if any, they’ll face, but you want your children to know that they need to avoid large crowds, pay attention to their surroundings and trust their instincts—if they see something or someone that seems strange, they need to tell an adult and get away from the situation.
Leave the “Bling” at Home: It might be tempting to wear your favourite jewellery throughout your trip or take pictures with that new, really expensive camera, but in the interest of your safety, don’t. If you tour your international destination dressed to the nines and wearing all sorts of expensive jewellery, you are announcing to potential thieves that you are a worthy mugging target. Keep it simple and appropriate for the place you are visiting, and hide your camera in a case when you aren’t using it.
Make electronic copies of all your documents: A plus to living in the technology age is being able to save all your documents in a cloud system. Take photos or scan all of your important documents and put them in to a cloud based system such as iCloud or Dropbox. Even if you lose your phone you can still login to your account on any computer to retrieve all your files or even give a family back home excess to this file in case of an emergency.
Keep your phones charged: Best to charge your phone whenever your get the chance or even invest in some portable chargers. Also have all important numbers in your contacts and if you are travelling with kids, get them to memorise your phone numbers and hotel address. Remember that the phone system could be overloaded in a true emergency and they need to know what to do if the phones stop working.
We hope this information doesn’t discourage your from traveling abroad, rather we hope that it encourages you. Travel is a wonderful opportunity that should not be missed. It doesn’t have to be a dangerous prospect. If you employ precautionary measures before and during your trip, you’re sure to have a wonderful and unforgettable time during your travels.