I took a nice little break from blogging last week to celebrate Reading Week (and yes, I did do a lot of reading! For book reviews, author interviews, and literary news, check out my blog and podcast Literally, Katrina!). I am glad to be back with more travel tips!
This week’s post is all about staying safe while traveling, because, you know, safety first. As many of you know, I’m planning on trekking Europe with two of my friends this summer. If you’ve been following the headlines in the news recently, you might be thinking that this isn’t the best year to go to Europe…with the refugee crisis, economic instability, and the potential Brexit, things aren’t looking very stable.
As a news junkie and human rights grad, all of these things are troubling to me. That being said, none of these are major deterrents to traveling this summer. Traveling is the best way to learn about yourself, culture, and the world around you. Conflict, economics, and politics invariably play into that. At any point in time, we can say it’s not the right or best time to travel virtually anywhere on the map (for example, lots of people are writing off Brazil and much of South America because of the Zika virus outbreak, even though only a small portion of travellers might be affected by the virus). I have many friends who’ve gone places in what we might consider the worst of times and had the best experiences – and that’s all because they’ve taken every precaution to be safe while traveling.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to be aware of what’s going on around the world – at all times, but especially before you plan on traveling. Remember, forewarned is forearmed. We can’t plan for everything and we certainly can’t control everything that happens, but we can control what we do to prepare for a trip. Being informed is your first step to a safe trip!
Before you book a trip, research the political and economic climate of the destination you’re planning on visiting. And then do additional check-ups closer to your departure date – things can change on a dime and a location that is safe in January may not be stable in June. When looking for updates, check out local news sites and international sources, because we don’t always get all of the international headlines in Canada. Upon arrival, pay attention to local conversations and headlines at newsstands – it’s good to stay up-to-date with what’s going on on the ground. Be aware of your surroundings, be aware of your belongings (especially money and electronics), and be aware of where the nearest embassies are while abroad, and you’ll be golden.
Another thing you can do to stay safe while travelling is to take advantage of the Registration of Canadians Abroad service provided by the Canadian government. I sign up whenever I’m leaving the country on a major trip so that if anything goes awry (think natural disaster, etc.), government officials can contact me with important info. The service also provides travel watches and advisories – all you have to do is look up the country you’re planning on visiting for info (ex. Croatia and Slovenia, two of my top destinations this summer, are both in the clear! Yay!).
How do you stay safe when traveling? I’m constantly looking for tips and tricks and would love to know what your go-to strategies are! Let me know in the comments below or on social media. Don’t forget to post your #WanderlustWednesday posts on Instagram over the month of February. Tag your pic with #WanderlustWednesday, #hopelesswandererblog, and @katrinasklepowich – you have a couple of weeks to participate and each picture posted and tagged is an entry to win an awesome travel prize pack (details coming soon!). And keep your eyes out for mini cards in all of your favourite travel guide books and accessories.
Until next week, stay well!