How to travel safely

Cory Mayfield
Updated on
July 21, 2020

You just never can be too careful these days when travelling abroad these days. Leaving pandemics, natural disasters and other tragic events out of the equation, travellers can find it difficult enough to travel safely if they mess up as simple flight booking.

Unexpected delays or cancellations, not having up to date or correct travel documents and permits, fending off the unwanted advances of scammers on both the internet and real-life. The modern traveller has their work cut out for them when it comes to seeing more of the world in a safe and secure fashion. Whilst travel is definitely safer now and not prone to the same misfortune then it might have been five, three or even 50 years ago, human error, is still arguably an even bigger factor.

Not planning or preparing for travel adequately in advance is the surest way to invite trouble into yourself at some point. Getting insurance to cover you in case something goes wrong isn't enough. You want to remain in the know, and in control of as much of your trip as possible before you even leave, in order to travel safely.

Here are a few pearls of wisdom for the more cautious travellers wondering how to travel safely when venturing abroad.

Plan your travel in advance. Make and manage flight bookings and accommodation

It should go without saying that the most sensible way to travel is to plan ahead. The more concrete your plans are the more secure and safe any bookings you make should be. There are some things you can't plan for, but this doesn't mean you shouldn't try to plan ahead at all.

Booking flights or at least having some flexibility with your booking is a good way to ensure safe travel. Whilst air travel might be the safest form of travel, not all airlines are as reliable as each other. Booking a cheap or last-minute flight with an unfamiliar airline in an unfamiliar part of the world could cause you a massive headache if you get stuck there far from home.

The same applies to accommodation. Carrying out some research into where you may be staying and what the facilities and local area are like is crucial. Avoid ending up in a rough spot of town at all costs. Don't let pictures of sun-drenched terraces or rooftop spas fool you, check the area, and the reviews for the places you're thinking of booking to avoid running into any mischief once you arrive. Remember, the first casualty of not making a booking or planning your trip in advance will always be your wallet.

Running out of money abroad is not fun. Particularly so if you are in a very remote location that requires an arm or leg just to phone home and try to access more funds. But then again, if you're responsible and have planned your trip well in advance then running out of money shouldn't really be an issue. Even if disaster does strike and you end up losing the money you have on you. Plan ahead for this scenario and make sure you have an alternative means to access funds if you need to.

Check travel advice from the government website or local consulates and embassies before you leave

It is becoming more and more important for travellers and holidaymakers to check the advice of their government before visiting a country. Disease, natural disasters, civil unrest and disorders, all can pop up at the most unwelcome and unexpected times. But with the advancements in technology and communication, governments can help keep their citizens more in the loop.

Local consulates and embassies that your government has in place around the world are vital in providing both critical travel information about your intended destination, local customs, dress codes, emergency contact information in the event you run into trouble, all of this is just a small part of the service offered by government outposts abroad for their citizens.

In addition, these outposts will provide you with protection and other forms of aid should you run into trouble whilst travelling. Checking where they are in advance is a good idea in case you end up in a country or, a part of one, your government does not have representation in.

Make all your visa enquiries and applications in advance

In addition to providing more typical forms of travel assistance, diplomatic outposts from your country of citizenship can provide you with helpful information and application gateways for visas, before you travel.

However, you don't always need to apply for a visa in advance before travelling to certain destinations. But if you don't check beforehand, then how are you going to know? Turning up to or, entering a foreign country without the proper documentation can be costly. You could wind up paying a fine if you're lucky, but the possibility of imprisonment is not unheard of in some countries.

Planning really is everything when it comes to enquiring about and booking visas. There are options for fast-tracking visa applications if you're looking at travelling to your destination in the near future, but you still need to allow for a few days for them to be processed. It pays to look at what type of visa is available to you anyway, as fast-tracking visa applications can be considerably more expensive.

You can use OpenVisa's messenger service to make your visa application entirely online. All we require are answers to a few simple questions, then you can easily upload the necessary documents to process your visa. Our visa experts will review all the information you submit and highlight anything that needs to be fixed before you send your application, unlike more traditional applications which will reject your visa for entering one wrong digit in your address or passport!

We're here to make visa travel simple but if you have any other visa-related enquiries such as what type of visa to apply for or when you need a visa, check out our resources for more helpful advice. If you want to chat with one of our visa experts directly then you can message us at OpenVisa directly on Facebook Messenger.