Travelling overseas is one of the most rewarding and exciting things you may do in your life. It’s also one of New Zealand’s most popular pastimes with 2.2 million Kiwis travelling last year alone*.
New Zealand is relatively safe compared to the rest of the world so it is easy to get complacent. That’s not to say that danger and disaster is hidden behind every international street corner, but it’s smart to take necessary, common-sense precautions when journeying around the country or globe.
Here are 10 tips to help you stay safe on your journey:
- Planning the trip is almost as exciting as doing it, but when you are researching your destinations, take the time to research the warnings and travel risks. It’s not hard to find this sort of information – head to safetravel.govt.nz – it’s important to have an idea of the possible dangers, current political situation and medical requirements
- Get good cover for your trip. Travel insurance is one of the most valuable things to have when you are overseas. You can be covered for the loss of personal items, which happens often to many travellers, and more importantly you can be covered for medical emergencies – big and small
- Get the right vaccinations for the areas you are visiting. Depending on where you are travelling you may need some vaccinations to protect you against diseases like Typhoid and Yellow Fever
- Keep your passport on you at all times. Keep essential items like credit cards and cash on you or in a padlocked locker or safe. A money belt is a useful thing to have but the most important thing is to be aware at all times of what is going on around you. Depending on where you’re going, consider leaving valuables like jewellery behind
- Keep a photocopy of your passport separate to your passport and other important things like credit cards and identification. A good way to do this is to email the scanned documents to your own email address so you can access them, if and when you need to. Hard copies are also good stored in your luggage
- Stay in touch with family and friends back home as much as you can. If something happens, the more contact you have had, the more information they will have about your whereabouts
- Abide by the law in the countries you are travelling in. A minor misdemeanour in New Zealand could be a lifelong prison sentence elsewhere, so be aware of the local law
- Try to blend in as much as possible with the local culture and way of life. Do not wear flashy jewellery or show obvious signs of wealth. Respect the locals and their culture
- Beware of scams and people who are being overly friendly and helpful. Sadly, these people are often con artists looking to make a quick buck off a tourist. Always keep your wits about you and don’t put yourself in situations that could potentially be dangerous
- Register your travel plans at safetravel.govt.nz – that way if something should happen in the country you are travelling to, the New Zealand government will know where to look for you.
For more information on travel safety and high-risk countries visit www.safetravel.govt.nz
*New Zealand travel statistics are from International Travel and Migration tables, Statistics New Zealand and licensed by Statistics NZ for re-use under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand licence. Numbers have been rounded up.