With the warmer weather on the way, you may be thinking about taking a trip abroad. If you’re planning a holiday or travelling to another country for work, there are a number of precautions you should take to help keep yourself and your valuables safe.
Our friends at Sainsbury’s Money Matters blog have produced a useful infographic (below) with advice on looking after your money when abroad. We’d also like to take this opportunity to share a few personal safety tips of our own.
Remember, it’s important to have fun and enjoy yourself, but keep the following advice in mind so that you’re prepared.
Before You Go:
- Do your research, find out where the nearest embassy is and make a note of this.
- Know your destination so you are aware of any unsafe areas and crime hotspots. Check for official travel advice from the Foreign Office about the place you are visiting.
- Inform your bank where and when you are going, ask them to provide you with an emergency helpline number that can be contacted whilst you’re abroad.
- It’s best to leave all non-essential valuables at home, but keep a record of any that you do bring. The easiest way to do this is by taking a photo of each item.
- Enquire with your hotel or the place you are staying about secure arrangements for storing belongings, e.g. is there a safe where valuables can be looked after when you’re out and about?
- Take photocopies of both your passport and driving license. Ensure these are stored separately as they carry sensitive personal information.
- Get a pre-paid card and top it up with funds before you go, this is guarded by a pin code and a much safer option than carrying large amounts of cash.
- Ensure you’re covered if the event of loss or theft, arrange appropriate travel insurance beforehand.
- Learn some basic phrases in the language of the country you are visiting, so that you know how to ask for help if you need it. Write down your hotel address in both languages.
Safety Advice for When You’re Abroad:
- Keep cash to a minimum; only take what you need and secure it in a money belt that’s attached to your waist and kept hidden under clothing. This is safer than carrying a bag, which could easily be snatched or pick-pocketed.
- Have an emergency fund that is stored separately to tide you over just in case.
- Only exchange money in reputable places such as banks or bureau de changes.
- Check your balance on the go using apps, although take care when using Wi-Fi out and about. It may be best to do this in your hotel.
- Don’t let your card out of sight and always remember to shield your pin. Never write it down.
- If using a cash-point, take care and check for signs of tampering. Watch out for any people that appear to be paying close attention, go elsewhere if you feel it is unsafe.
- Try not to look like a tourist, having a map and camera to hand is a big giveaway. Some people may seek to take advantage as being in an unfamiliar place makes you more vulnerable.
- If you are lost, don’t stop to use a map as this makes you a target. Instead go to a bar or restaurant where you are safer.
- Stay in groups if possible unless you are travelling alone. Although travel can be spontaneous, always make sure someone trusted knows where you are and when to expect you back. Make a point of ‘checking in’ regularly with somebody back home so they’ll be alerted if you fail to do so.
- When taking taxis, the same safety advice applies as at home. Only take cabs that you have booked. Do not attempt to pick up a taxi off the street.
- Find out how to contact the local emergency numbers. Remember that some countries may have separate numbers for the Police, Fire Brigade etc. In European countries, there is a universal emergency number – 112.
- If something is stolen, report it to the local police immediately making sure that you get a written report for your insurance provider. Remember to cancel any stolen cards and contact the embassy if you lose your passport.
You can read the full article about keeping your money safe abroad on Sainsbury’s Money Matters blog.
For more holiday safety tips check out Skyguard’s Travel Safe Checklist.