Travel is a higher risk activity for most people. A multi-layered approach to planning your vacation will maximise your ability to travel safely.
Before you make any bookings you should check the level of risk associated with your planned destinations. The best sources of information are your official government travel advisories, which you should be able to find in Travel Safety – Essential Research Before You Start Booking. Read the travel advisories and understand that they will usually be very conservative. Consider the information and level of assessed risk and decide whether you really want to travel to that place.
Also confirm whether your travel insurance will cover your planned destinations. If your government has advised not to travel to particular destinations then you may not be able to obtain insurance coverage.
At this stage it is easy to change your travel plans to destinations where you are more comfortable to travel.
When you research your travel transportation options don’t just look for the cheapest price. Also consider the safety record of your planned transportation option. There is a plethora of online information about any significant incidents which have occurred. For example, if your planned carrier has been blocked from flying into European airspace you should reconsider whether you really want to fly on that airline. And you should also check out the safety record of cruise ship and ferry companies.
Have you planned your itinerary to stay in well-populated places, or will you be travelling in isolated areas? Consider your options for communications if you will be travelling in isolated locations, whether you will be driving, hiking or cycling etc. You may need to consider carrying a satellite phone or EPIRB so you have options if you need help. You may also need to consider carrying extra water, food and first aid supplies so you have options in the event you get into trouble.
Some tourism activities can be of higher risk. Check your travel insurance policy to identify whether particular activities are excluded from being covered. Understand that if you participate in an activity which is not covered and it goes wrong that you may have to cover any costs yourself. You may be able to identify travel insurance which will cover your planned activities if you do some research before purchasing a policy. Check the safety record of your activity provider and whether they are a reputable business. Often you are placing your life in their hands so make sure you are satisfied that they will do a good job.
You should also consider your personal safety while you are travelling. Select accommodation of reasonable standard (again not necessarily the cheapest), research areas to stay where the neighbourhood is a safe area.
Keep your valuables to a minimum and keep them close and where they are less likely to be easy for someone to steal. When sightseeing be cautious of too friendly passers-by, and be aware of typical scams and favoured methods for stealing in your location.
Stay in well-populated areas, and be aware of your surroundings. Trust your instincts and if necessary pay for taxis to ensure you reach your accommodation safely.
Ensure you know the emergency phone number of your destination countries so you know who to call if you need help.