Winter Vacation Safety
Thursday, December 4, 2014
Before you head out on your next adventure, it’s important to make sure you know how to stay safe while you’re away. The last thing you want is for something to go wrong while you’re abroad!
Prepare for the worst-case scenario
Things may not always go as planned when you’re travelling. Be prepared in the event that something happens that could derail your travel plans. Here’s what you need to know:
- Flight Delays or Cancellations: There isn’t much you can do to prevent issues with your flight. You can, however, be prepared in the event that you run into flight issues. Make sure you have your airline’s customer service number programmed into your phone—call it as soon as you encounter any issues. You should also know all of your airline’s social media handles—complaints made publicly via social media are often handled very quickly. If your airline can’t get you on a new flight soon enough, check a last-minute flight app like Hopper’s Flight Tonight for any availability.
- Lost Luggage: Someone else could take your luggage by accident or your bag could be lost in transit. Either way, having your bags go missing while you’re travelling can put a real damper on things. To avoid losing your luggage, use a colourful and easy-to-spot bag (or luggage tag). You could also be proactive by tagging your bag with the destination airport code (you should be able to find this on your ticket) to prevent mix-ups from happening. Or, if you really don’t want to leave it to chance, you could travel lighter and only pack a carry on—that way you’ll always know where your luggage is.
- Stolen Wallet: Unfortunately, in some countries, it’s not uncommon for tourists to fall victim to pickpockets and scammers. If you’re abroad and your wallet is stolen, be sure to call your credit card company immediately to cancel your card and order an emergency replacement card. If you don’t have access to any money in the meantime, try to get in touch with someone back home so they can send you money through a reputable service like Western Union. It’s also a good idea to leave copies of your credit cards (scanned the front and back) and health insurance information with someone you trust. If you lose any of this information during your trip, you can get it sent to you in an email.
- Stolen Passport: If your passport is stolen, go to the nearest Government of Canada office to report the loss or theft. Before you leave for your trip, make a photocopy of your passport information page, scan it and give it to a friend or relative. If something happens to your passport, the copy can be emailed to you, making it much easier to get a replacement.
- Forgotten Items: There’s nothing worse than realizing you’ve forgotten something important, like medicine, while you’re travelling. Make sure you have someone back home who can ship any items you might need to you—but you’ll have to ensure that there aren’t any restrictions preventing your items from being sent by mail. If you can’t get your items mailed to you, ask the staff at your accommodation for help in finding a replacement.
- Lost Hotel Reservations: If you arrive at your hotel and discover that your room reservation has been lost, try not to stress. Download a phone app that will help you find immediate accommodations in your area—Hotel Tonight is a good one. If you’re looking for something on the cheaper side, you can also check Hostelworld for a nearby hostel, or become a Couchsurfer. To make sure the resort you want to stay at is a reputable one, check out its reviews on TripAdvisor If other people have run into issues with room reservations, you might want to consider staying elsewhere.
Travel to safe destinations
- Whether you’re planning a trip with your family, alone or with friends, you can minimize the chances that something may go wrong by travelling to places that are known as safe destinations. Here are five of the best countries to consider for your next vacation:
- New Zealand: Whether you’re looking for a low-key, relaxing getaway or an adventurous expedition, New Zealand has it all. With New Zealand’s low crime rate, you can enjoy your vacation without having to worry about your safety.
- Switzerland: How about a trip to the Swiss Alps? Not only is Switzerland one of the most beautiful destinations for a vacation, but it’s also home to three of the safest cities in the world: Geneva, Bern and Zurich.
- Austria: If you love architecture, then you’ll love Austria. From concert halls to museums, Austria boasts some of the most beautiful buildings in the world.
- Ireland: There’s no other country in the world that will make you feel as welcome as Ireland! Whether you’re travelling on your own or with friends, you’re sure to enjoy your time immersed in rugged landscapes, Irish pubs and unforgettable food.
- Netherlands: If you’re looking for a laid-back destination, consider the Netherlands. Thanks to liberal social policies, the Netherlands has an incredibly low crime rate so you can relax and take in the country’s windmills, tulips and canals.
Don't forget travel insurance!
Some problems are just unavoidable, but with the proper travel insurance, you need not bear the financial brunt when things go really wrong.
What are your best tips for staying safe while on vacation? Let us know in the comments section below.