Top 5 Safety Tips for Travellers

by Mary Wimmer

Contrary to popular opinion, the world isn’t dangerous and unsafe; in fact, you’re more likely to run into trouble at home than abroad.  That said it’s still a good idea to make common sense practices a part of your daily routine, wherever you may be.  We’ve compiled a top 5 list of things to do to ensure your personal health and safety while travelling – even if you’re alone and don’t speak the local language.


1. Research your destination.

Half the fun of travelling comes from planning your vacation. So, in between scoping out where the best beaches are and the top attractions nearby, make sure you research safety information about where you are headed. What is the neighbourhood like where you are staying? What are past guests of your accommodations saying about the place? Where are the no-go zones? What are the top scams that tourists run into? What does a legitimate taxi look like? Are the buses and subways safe? How about at night? Where’s the nearest hospital? These are all important questions to consider. You should also check out the Government of Canada’s travel advice and advisories to specific countries, here.

2. Visit your doctor.

Make sure you schedule in a visit to your doctor or walk-in clinic before you go and stock up on any prescriptions you might need on your trip. Remember that the cost of medicines may vastly differ from country to country, and you never want to be without. Consider filling multiple prescriptions and carrying your medicine in different suitcases in case of lost luggage. Remember to ask your doctor or nurse about vaccinations you might need and what other health issues you should prepare for prior to travelling.

3. Minimize and guard your valuables.

Robbery is a crime of opportunity: a fancy wristwatch, an exposed passport, a wallet peeking out from the back pocket of your jeans, or a camera dangling from your neck; all are unwitting invitations to thieves. Minimize the amount of valuables you carry while travelling to the absolutely necessary. Passports and small amounts of cash or credit cards are okay, but you may want to think twice about jewellery and designer bags or luggage. To avoid being pick-pocketed, keep the valuables that you must carry on your body and out of sight, for example the inside pocket of a jacket or a money belt worn underneath clothing.

4. Watch your alcohol consumption.

You’ve heard it before but here it is again: if you drink, drink responsibly. Know what your limits are and stay well below them, especially when travelling at night. Being alert and able to both think clearly and make decisions rapidly is critical to ensuring your health and safety, both at home and while travelling. Alcohol inhibits that, so consider teetotalling until your trip is over.

5. Get travel insurance.

Don’t think you’ll need it? Think again! Travel insurance plans can be so comprehensive that not only do they cover a range of costs associated with accidents or illnesses that may happen to you while you’re on holiday, but they can even cover the cost of lost luggage. Getting a quote takes just minutes with CAA Insurance, and can be done by visiting your nearest CAA Travel Store or even online by clicking here.


On a final note, CAA NEO encourages all travellers to take advantage of the Registration of Canadians Abroad service that is offered for free by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada. The service keeps those travelling connected to Canada in the unlikely event that you’re caught in an emergency abroad such as an earthquake or civil unrest.

You can also access key information while travelling through the Government of Canada’s “Travel Smart” free mobile app; available on Apple, Android and BlackBerry smartphones. Find advice on destination safety, passport and visa requirements, health conditions, border wait times, emergency contact information for Canadian embassies and consulates around the world, and more, using the app. Follow these safety tips and you’re already en route to an exciting and safe adventure.

Bon voyage!