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Safety and Travel
There’s nothing like losing yourself in a new place. However, in unfamiliar territory we are often unaware of risks and more exposed to threats or misfortune than we would be at home. In this section we’ve put together tips and advice on the best ways to keep you and your possessions safe during your travels.
Don’t get let pickpockets get the better of you this holiday. Find out everything you need to know protect yourself and your belongings while travelling. Find out more
Looking for advice before you travel? Find out exactly what the Foreign Office can help you with, from tax-free goods, to avalanche advice. Find out more
Tips and advice on staying safe in your hotel, including reading up before you travel, how to keep your belongings safe, and the best way to secure your hotel room. Find out more
No traveller likes having the wool pulled over their eyes. Here are our tips for the best ways to spot a scam and keep from being short-changed or over-charged. Find out more
Tips and advice on taking care of your possessions, including where best to store your valuables, and how to limit the risk of being targeted by thieves. Find out more
It’s a jungle out there, so read up on how to appreciate the natural world, whilst respecting the local wildlife and staying out of danger. Find out more
Separate your sources of money and credit, so that if one wallet or purse is stolen or lost, you still have back up. Keep some reserve cash or travellers cheques in a safe place – preferably not on your person.
In general, it’s best not to give away money to people on the street. Apart from the fact that you may have to get your wallet out, encouraging begging is not the most efficient use of your money – or goodwill. If you want to help out then look for local volunteer work or donate money to a local registered charity for the homeless.
Another safety concern many of us overlook overbroad is cyber theft. Be wary of using your credit card at internet cafés as communal computers may have software or hardware that records your keystrokes and allows thieves to see your username and password, or take your credit card details. One way of making stealing your information more challenging for potential criminals is to open several browser windows for the website you are using, and create ‘red herrings’ by typing incorrect details into all of the open windows except one. For more information, visit our page on avoiding scams.
Get in the habit of looking back when you get up to leave somewhere. Whilst travelling, you have many more unfamiliar stimuli to act as distractions, and normally carry more than you would at home, so it’s much easier to forget a jacket or purse in a café or restaurant.
Scan all your major documents before you leave – if you’ve booked trips online, be sure to email all travel documents to yourself before you leave, in case something is accidentally deleted or lost.
Try to avoid outward displays of affluence. Leave your jewellery at home and keep your camera in a bag when you’re not using it. For more information on protecting your possessions, see our page on keeping valuables safe.
Don’t be afraid to try new things whilst abroad but bear in mind that many activities do come with risks. If you intend to do something with a chance of personal injury such as motor biking, paragliding, or jet skiing, it’s worth learning the basics at home before your trip.
Check the fine print and professional certificates of instructors: if you’re doing a specialist course such as scuba diving, or something risky like bungee jumping, verify the operators have legitimate qualifications, and a good safety record. Unfortunately there is generally a reason when one course is far cheaper than others of its kind in a similar area.
Health costs can quickly add up into thousands of pounds if you fall ill or are injured abroad, even for something relatively minor, and travel insurance is always worth it. Although remember to check if your insurance will cover you for more adventurous activities such as skiing or hiking.
It happens to all of us at some point. Find everything you need to know about what to do when your card is lost or stolen, and how to access funds in an emergency. Find out more
Advice and information on what to do if you are a victim of crime abroad, including how to report a crime and what support you can expect from your local embassy. Find out more
Guidance and advice on what to do if you’re taken into custody whilst abroad, including how best to behave, and how to contact the British authorities for assistance and legal representation. Find out more
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