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Safe travel tips

Few people would argue that travel can broaden the mind but if not correctly planned and executed, it can also occasionally be something of a personal safety issue.

At Bengo Travel, while we are experts in travel insurance, we also like to be helpful too! You may find some of the following thoughts on safe travel to be of use.

Research your destination thoroughly

Unfortunately, not all countries in the world are safe for tourists.

Some countries that are otherwise safe, may have specific areas or regions where that is not the case.

Useful background and recent history on the country can sometimes be found through media sites such as www.bbc.co.uk or for more formal government advice you can research your destination at the Foreign Office’s site www.fco.gov.uk.

Be cautious if travelling alone to certain countries

Some parts of the world may be typically safe on organised tours or for groups of people travelling together. Yet they may be far less so for people travelling alone and independently – particularly if off the beaten track.

It hopefully goes without saying that there may be relatively large areas of the world where it might be moderately safe for males to travel alone but where it would be unwise for females to do likewise.

Research these issues at the above websites or perhaps through the services of the UK embassy of the country you are considering visiting. You should also consult web-based travel review sites for other people’s comments.

Don’t publicly display your wealth

Wearing expensive jewellery and watches in public places might be risky in many situations - even in the UK.

It might be even more so when in some overseas destinations. Some categories of criminals may specifically target tourists displaying expensive items containing gold, silver and precious stones etc.

Avoid heroism in dangerous crime-related situations

Direct robberies may be comparatively rare in overall tourism terms.

Even so, if you are unfortunate enough to experience it, do not move into confrontation and combat mode. Your possessions are far less important than your own physical health and wellbeing.

Eat in recognised establishments

Experiencing dining as local people do may be one of your main joys on holiday but exercise a little common sense.

Gastro-intestinal problems are one of the commonest causes of tourist illness all over the world. While some of that may be due to unfamiliar ingredients and spices, it might also be a hygiene problem in certain locations.

Take expert local advice before choosing where to eat and if you do experience a tummy bug of mild to moderate severity, make sure you know how to deal with the symptoms. If they are severe, you should get qualified medical help and quickly.

Various NHS sites offer excellent advice on this and general travel health subjects. http://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/home.aspx

Understand the local laws and customs

No country anywhere in the world welcomes visitors who seem determined to break its laws or trample all over its customs and social conventions.

You should obey and respect those of the country you are travelling to and arguably, if you find them objectionable, you should not be going there. A little research on the internet before arrival may work wonders for your understanding.

This principle is important both as a common courtesy but also to avoid you falling foul of local law enforcement agencies. They may make some allowances for the fact you are a foreigner but perhaps less than you might imagine in some places.

Get a health check prior to departure

Make sure you get any necessary vaccinations before you go – visit http://www.masta-travel-health.com/ for more information on what may be required.

You may also want to get a health check before you travel, too. This might be particularly important if you are planning to travel somewhere where local health care may be basic.

It might be equally critical if you are someone of mature years or who suffers from a non-trivial existing medical condition.

It is always preferable to get your local GP to check you over before going on holiday, rather than to discover a problem once you are there.