Travel Safety Tips

Friday, May 5, 2023

Robbery picture link here

In my extensive travels, I have always had travel insurance but never wondered about its content... until I was assaulted a few days ago and my phone, credit card, and driving license, which were hidden in the mobile's cover, were stolen from me. After several long painful hours at the police station explaining to them what had happened in broad daylight, I was finally released. I was dying to contact my bank to block my credit card and request a new one. I knew I had some time before the thief would find the cards but that needed to be urgently taken care of. I also wanted to get in touch with my best friend, another friend who had been texting me when the "action" happened, and the unbelievably kind owner of the inn I was staying at to let them know I was shaken, bruised, but otherwise physically ok. I had to replace my phone and see what needed to be done to file for a replacement driving license. I am lucky the thief did not use a knife or gun on me. I am still stunned that my shouts for help were met by absolute indifference from the people who were there. One of them even blamed me for being alone in the area. I was then told that usually, people do not intervene because they are afraid of retaliation against them...

So let's start with travel insurance. It might sound like an additional cost that you don't really want or need. But it is a smart investment when you are traveling internationally, your medical healthcare doesn't cover you at your destination, you have one or several connecting flights and multiple destinations, and you might want to cancel a trip short and return home earlier. Your luggage could be covered with your credit card's travel insurance. Make sure you ask for the details before you depart. Some plans might also cover burglary, hijacking, or even the loss of a passport. However, you do not need to buy a travel insurance plan when your airline ticket is flexible and its dates can be amended. This is also the case when your booked hotel and/or activities are also refundable. And if you are just going to chill and relax at a resort, there is no need to worry about a plan that covers bungee jumping, mountain biking, or wakeboarding. If your trip involves expensive gear, such as musical instruments, TV production apparel, or even jewelry, get that insurance plan without hesitating. Because you are insanely rich, any hiccup would cost you much more than what your coverage is.

On another note, and since safe travels are not always solely about being insured, you need to take precautions at your destination. And that can only be done by researching local laws and customs. Place your valuables in the hotel safe or at best, leave them at home. Do not have all your cash in one place and refrain from flashing it. With at least one credit card, you can avail of promotions and/or make sure you don't need to carry a lot of physical money on you. After all, cards can be stopped within moments while cash cannot be retrieved. Always keep an eye on your drink and keep a first aid kit at hand. Be careful where you wander, do not ride with strangers or let them ride with you, and remain alert to what is happening around you. Share your journey route with a family member or a friend so that someone is aware of your whereabouts and can intervene in case of an emergency. Deserted areas might be dangerous for someone walking alone. And if you do, maintain a confident posture: if you look lost, you are inviting criminals to take advantage of you. It's best to blend in 😉 We are so immersed in our phones that we, not only feel lost without them but also miss out on what is really going on because we have our noses constantly in our screens! I remember the times when we used to go on journeys with a physical map and we wouldn't get lost. Now if we are out of coverage, we worry that our digital maps will fail us. This has been addressed with the online apps providing the option of downloading offline maps of areas we visit. Make a copy of your important documents, such as your passport or your driving license, and beware of public WiFi connections as they could be used by hackers. Does this mean our digital "chains" cannot be shackled? That's a topic for another post.

Meanwhile, happy and safe travels ✈️✈️✈️✈️✈️

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