Lately, the world has been looking like a scary place to travel, especially in European countries like France and Belgium, where terrorist attacks and plots are dominating the media. Religious and political protests and manhunts have followed the January 7 attack on French magazine Charlie Hebdo, which ultimately left 20 people dead and was then followed by anti-terrorism raids in Verviers, Belgium.
Since the Paris attacks, it seems like a domino effect of world unrest has followed, with protests, threats, and an overall sense of unease. While the world will always be a place of conflict, it’s important to continue living and enjoying pleasures in life like travelling. If you have a trip planned overseas or were thinking of planning one, follow these tips to ensure safe travels abroad.
Monitor government agencies
If you know you’re travelling to a specific destination experiencing civil or political unrest, or if you’re unsure whether the location you’re travelling to is safe, visit government agency sites and consult their travel warnings for your destination.
USA – US Department of State
Do your homework
This isn’t grade 10 chemistry—there won’t be any equations or quizzes! It’s as simple as monitoring online media sites, or just doing a Google search on the location you’re travelling to, prior to your departure. The purpose is to get a sense of what’s going on in the world in terms of civil, political, and environmental issues. If you’d rather the news come to you, download an app to your smartphone from one of the many national news stations.
To help get you started, check out this list of top smartphone newsfeed apps.
Know your surroundings
Get to know a security assistance expert in this video
The best part of being on vacation or in a city away from home is putting on your metaphorical adventurer’s cap and scoping out the scenes of the city or town you are visiting. If you’ve done your homework and are knowledgeable about current events, then you should be aware of which areas are safe for tourists. The rule of thumb, no matter where in the world you are visiting, is to avoid areas that are sparse (i.e., without tourists or locals), and to not do anything you wouldn’t do in your home town.
Remember—in the grand scale of events that occur in the world, terrorism is just a tiny piece. You are far more likely to experience an injury through accidents or environmental hazards than by terrorism when you’re travelling. If you are worried about your trip being cancelled due to a major world event, purchase a travel insurance plan that includes trip cancellation. Just be sure to purchase it before you leave—otherwise you will not be covered.
It really is worth spending an extra few dollars on a trip to ensure you are covered in the case of any emergency—medical or non-medical. Click here to compare and find a plan that’s right for you!