How do you choose your travel destinations? Safety is an important consideration, but there are a few essentials to remember when weighing up your decision.
- Use history as a guide (but not a rule)
If a city or area constantly faces acts of terrorism it’s fair to assume there’s a high risk, but the converse doesn’t apply – if there have been no acts of terrorism, that doesn’t necessarily mean it can’t happen. Terrorists often target unexpected (and previously “safe”) areas.
This does not mean you should stay home! The likelihood of being affected by an act of terrorism is still low, and there are many ways to improve our safety when we travel.
- Separate real dangers from the hype
Media and social media can sometimes create a skewed impression of a destination. Reports of risks should be taken very seriously, but do your own research too and make sure you know what’s really happening.
People often focus on one event or act of terrorism while others go relatively unnoticed, so get the facts from reliable sources such as the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and read local news reports to get a different perspective.
- Take reasonable steps to protect yourself – personally and financially
We take many of these steps without really thinking – if we know an area is known for pickpocketing, we don’t walk around with valuables in our pockets or with open handbags.
Similarly, if we go somewhere that’s known to attract large crowds, we should make sure we know where the exits are and not get caught up in particularly disorganised areas.
We can also stay safer by looking out for suspicious objects, keeping emergency contact details at hand, and ensuring that we have cover in case of an emergency with the most appropriate travel insurance policy for that destination.
- Look at the safety of specific towns, cities and routes
Don’t make decisions based on general safety statistics for a large country, as they may not apply to the area you want to visit.
In Turkey, for example, a number of attacks have taken place in Ankara, Istanbul, and towns near the Syrian border, however these are largely politically motivated and are not expected to affect popular resort areas.
- Be well-informed at all times
We always advise our clients to check FCO advice before they book and before they travel, and many travel alerts advice checking local media, because this is often where you’ll find a lot of important details that don’t make it to our UK newspapers.
This can help you to make decisions regarding terrorism and many other potential dangers or delays, such as adverse weather, political and other events, transport strikes, or anything else that can cause delays or changes to your itinerary.
Information really is the best defence we have and it can help us to make better choices in the destinations we choose, the sights and attractions we visit, the accommodation we book, and even the form of transport that we use.
Be prepared, not scared, and use this information to make every journey safer!
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- Travel Safety Round-Up: 25/2/2020
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