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Travel safety tips: Preparing for your trip abroad

Visiting a new destination can be an incredible experience, but you should take a number of precautions while traveling to ensure your safety.

Before you leave home, change some money into the local currency of the country you are heading to so that you can avoid grabbing the attention of thieves by pulling a large amount of money out of your purse or wallet. You will also need local currency if you are going to take a taxi to your hotel.

Mark your luggage while you are still in your home country with name tags or labels containing your name, address and contact number. So in case your luggage is lost, you can relocate it.

Also, before departing, try to get some prior information about the distance between the airport and the hotel at which you are planning to spend your vacation. Transportation options and their costs are among the things you must take into consideration in advance. This is will save you from getting lost upon arrival.

If you have not been able to collect sufficient information about what you want, you can ask the information desk in the airport for help. Do not ask strangers for assistance. If you lose your directions, ask a trusted source such as the receptionist before you leave your hotel or someone who works in tourist office or store. 

Keep your eyes on your money and important documents in your front pockets, not the back pockets of your pants. Avoid carrying unzipped bags because it is easy to get robbed in the crowd without even noticing. Hide your valuables in secret pockets to be out of reach.

“I always wear a money belt while traveling. It comfortably stores enough cash and looks like a regular belt which diverts the pickpockets’ attention away. It is also more practical solution to keep my hand free while touring,” Ahmed Anany, an engineer.

ATMs are the best substitute for cash. Using them frequently is safer than wandering around with a large amount of money, worried about being robbed at anytime. It is also the easiest and quickest way to get money in local currency with the best exchange rate.

Do not put all your valuables, cash and credit card in one place. This will minimize the losses in case you get robbed. You also should not go out with all your money; take enough cash to cover your expenses for just a day.

Carry a photocopy of your passport around everywhere and leave your original one in a safe at your hotel. Make a copy of your credit card as the bank’s numbers printed on the back of the card would help you to report the robbery and stop any transactions. Do not put a written copy of your passwords in the same place where you keep your credit card.

Nesma Hosny, a tour operator, said that having an address and phone number of your country’s embassy is a must to provide you needed assistance in the event you face serious problems. “If you lost your passport, you can head to the embassy to issue a replacement one," Hosny said, adding that the embassy can help you reach or inform your family about unexpected unhealthiness or accident.

Do not hang your camera around your neck. Keep it in your handbag or in your jacket pocket until you are in need for it. Wearing a valuable necklace also grabs the attention of robbers who can quickly snatch it and run off with it.

Watch out for distractions. Pickpockets have numerous methods for diverting your attention away from your valuables so that they can find a way to your purse. So keep away from strangers and keep your eyes open while you are stuck in crowded areas.

Medical insurance is essential, according to Hosny, as she always advises customers to make sure that their insurance covers the whole period of their granted visa. “Some clients travel more than once if they have a visa for a long time, so each time they must get a comprehensive health insurance, especially if they suffer from chronic or serious illnesses,” she said.

Hosny concluded by saying that you must be aware of local laws and customs of the country you in which you are planning to spend your vacation in order to avoid any embarrassing situations or illegal actions.

“Every country has its own local conditions and laws that you must adhere to. So, spend a little time before your trip reading from trusted sources about the place you will visit,” she said.

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