Protect Yourself While on Vacation

The global travel industry is a nearly trillion dollar industry, and some countries depend on tourism as main sources of income and economic support. In 2010 alone, there were in excess of 940 million tourists, and despite the sluggish global economy, tourism doesn’t appear to be slowing. Despite the relative safety and security of traveling, accidents have happened and will continue to happen. wikiHow can help you protect yourself while on vacation.

Steps

1    Protect your health. Medical assistance while abroad can be very expensive, difficult to find, of dubious quality — or all of the above. Purchasing travel insurance before you leave your home country can protect you if you should fall ill or have an accident while abroad. Coverage amounts and deductibles will vary, but it is an inexpensive way to prevent financial catastrophe. In addition, make sure that you have all the necessary and suggested vaccinations when traveling.

2    Protect your valuables. The best way to protect your valuables while traveling is not to take them in the first place. If you insist on traveling with jewelry or expensive items, carry them with you instead of packing them into luggage. Luggage can be stolen or searched; don’t risk losing your valuables this way. Instead, put them in a purse or bag that you carry with you at all times. Leave unnecessary forms of ID and credit cards at home. When at a hotel, secure your valuables in the room safe.

3    Protect your money. Rather than carry cash, purchase traveler’s checks from your bank before you leave home. Traveler’s checks are widely accepted, and most large hotels will exchange them for local currency. If stolen, traveler’s checks can be canceled and replaced. The same can’t be said for cash.

4    Protect yourself. Even though millions of people travel each year without any incidents, accidents can happen. The best way to protect yourself is to stay in groups when wandering around, and don’t venture far from your hotel at night. Never go into unlit areas at night, and stay off beaches after dark. Always know how to contact the local police whenever you enter a foreign area. Never accept rides from civilians; stick with Taxis or public transport.

  • Most importantly, listen to your intuition. If a situation or area doesn’t feel comfortable, move someplace else.

5    Dress like a native. One of the best ways to protect yourself and your belongings while traveling is to not dress like a tourist. Big, bulky cameras, beach bags, floppy hats and brightly colored clothing all advertise that you’re a tourist. You’ll draw much less attention to yourself if you dress more demurely, or even like the locals.

6    Guard against pickpockets. Fanny packs and loose purses are a pickpocket’s primary target. Their straps can easily be cut, and the culprit can be off into the crowd without a trace. Instead, wear purses that cross across the chest, and wallets kept in a breast pocket.

7    Read the news before departing. Reading the news, or checking for travel advisories from the government, can help you avoid journeying into a potentially dangerous area. Civil strife, an upswing in crime or even natural disasters can happen at any time. Be aware of the conditions of the area into which you’re traveling.

Tips

  • Protecting your home while you’re away is as important as protecting yourself. Have a neighbor keep an eye on your house, and ask a trusted friend to collect your mail. Leave a contact number with the neighbor in case of an emergency.

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Travel New Zealand Safely

Travelling safely in New Zealand is no different to travelling safely anywhere else in the world. As long as you are aware of the risks and take sensible precautions, you can travel safely, even alone anywhere. What you may not be aware of are some of the more common risks that travellers in New Zealand may encounter. This article lists some of these risks.

Steps

1    Know what to do if you are in a very unsafe situation and need to contact the emergency services. CALL 111. Mobile phone coverage is generally good, but there are vast areas of New Zealand that are isolated and not covered by mobile phone networks.

  • If you are heading out into the Wop Wops (New Zealand term for boondocks), never travel without telling someone where you are headed and when you expect to arrive.

2    Use the roads safely. In New Zealand, vehicles drive on the left, unlike the US procedures. When walking, look both ways when crossing the road and use controlled crossings where possible.

  • Don’t dawdle on controlled pedestrian crossings. You won’t have much time to cross, and frequently turning vehicles get a green light to turn while the pedestrian crossing light is still flashing red. Wear a helmet if you cycle, it’s the law. Don’t ride a quad bike on the public road.

3    Drink and eat. Tap water is safe to drink across New Zealand, unless expressly marked otherwise. Rivers, streams and lakes are not appropriate sources of drinking water, but can be utilised in emergencies if proper precautions are taken.

  • Purchased food is no more or less likely to give you food poisoning than food purchased in the US, UK or Australia, provided that you store and prepare it appropriately. There are many edible native plants in New Zealand and at the shore seafood can be harvested providing you obey local bylaws. If seafood from a beach is not fit for human consumption, this will be sign posted.

4    Make sure your tetanus vaccinations are up to date, if you intend to be adventurous! There are no communicable diseases that the average traveller needs to worry about. Malaria is not present, and dengue fever or yellow fever shots and the like are not required.

  • If you have a weakened immune system, consult your doctor before travelling. All travellers over 16 need to consider the health risks of holiday romance.

5    Use Sunblock. The sun is powerful in NZ, and you can be easily burnt on a cloudy day, even in early spring (September) and late Autumn (May).

6    Consider crime rates and be careful. According to the Global Peace index, New Zealand is the third most peaceful country in the world. Murder is uncommon in New Zealand, but less serious crimes are common. Be aware of the risk of being mugged, having your pocket picked and having unattended belongings stolen in tourist destinations.

  • In rural areas, where there are few people around, it’s not uncommon for ‘gear’ (such as fishing rods or backpacks) to be left by the owner while they hike off to do something else. This is risky and is discouraged, but since it does happen, it is suggestive of the common Kiwi attitude to crime in rural areas. If you see any gear left behind, leave it alone rather than stealing it; you don’t want to be a criminal. Be sensible about not being a target for criminals.
  • There are also gangs in New Zealand. There are mostly motorcycle gangs, but gang violence is more common amongst rival gangs or gang members. Some gangs are criminal, but the crime is more commonly drug or theft related than anything else. Tourists are very infrequently victims of gang crime. You are far more likely to be injured in an RTC as a tourist than be the victim of gang violence.

7    Swim safely. NZ beaches can have dangerous riptides and tidal surges. Only swim where it is safe to do so, and obey signage and any instructions from life guards. If it doubt, don’t swim at all.

8    Be very aware of the weather. Understand that the weather can change very rapidly in many of the valley and mountainous regions of New Zealand. Be prepared for these changes.

  • Always dress appropriately and carry warm clothing with you, unless you can guarantee that you will not get cold. Even experienced trampers get lost, so take care when tramping or hiking. Stick to the paths and tracks unless you are confident of your ability.

9    Appraise yourself with current guidelines on what to do in an earthquakes.Earthquakes occur in New Zealand. ]

10    Take care around railway lines. Train crossings may not be the same as you are used to so don’t take any chances, especially with vehicles, around train tracks.

11    Look out for rock fall warning signs. Paths, tracks and roads can be at risk of rocks falling into them, especially in a valley. Obey signage, sometimes no stopping is advised for example, and listen and look for falling rocks or land slides.

12    Be aware of what you don’t need to worry about, so you are not being overly cautious.The only dangerous wild animals you are even slightly likely to encounter are wild pigs.

  • If you are in wild pig country, chances are you’re hunting and the pigs have more to worry about than you. Stags are universally dangerous during rutting season. Take care around deer and be aware of the potential danger.
  • Some spiders in New Zealand bite, but none are fatal. Be aware that you could have a serious reaction to any spider bites if you happen to have an allergic reaction to it. Poison Oak does not commonly grow in New Zealand. While rain forest foliage can be dense, there are no plants that can seriously injure you in the course of a conventional hike. There are some thorny shrubs that can attach to clothes, skin or hair but they can be harmlessly removed as long as you do so carefully and even if you do get scratched, that’ll be all it is, a scratch. Bats live in some parts of New Zealand, and they do not suck your blood. There are no snakes in New Zealand at all, venomous, poisonous or otherwise.

Tips

  • Unlike the Northern Hemisphere, Summer is from December to March, Autumn is from March to June, Winter is from June to September and Spring is from September to November.

What Nobody Will Tell You About Moving to a New Country

On learning that there’s no place like home, a little too late.

It’s a cold, wet, dreary day in England, in a series of cold, wet, dreary days. My waterproof coat is no longer waterproof, and I’ve just learned that we’re out of milk, so my tea will have to be black. I’m reading the news about Brexit and it’s making me want to tear my hair out. I’m not looking forward to making small talk with my colleagues about the weather, and the tea, and Brexit.

I’m thinking about calling my mom, debating whether it will make me feel better or worse, when I remember she’s five hours behind anyway and is probably asleep. I’m wondering what I want for breakfast, passing over the toast and Marmite and thinking longingly of Waffle House.

The traffic on my commute into work is abysmal, because the U.K. is a country built for approximately three horse-drawn carriages, but stuffed nevertheless with sixty million people and thirty-five million cars. The passive aggression at the stoplights is palpable.

I arrive at work, looking up at an inspirational poster that says Keep Calm and Carry On. I’m filled with a weird emotion I’m not used to, and I sit down at my desk in an uncharacteristic huff, putting my headphones on and diving into work.

It takes me a long time to realize that what I’m feeling is homesick.

This is the part of the story where, if I was in a movie, there’d be a record scratch and my voice-over saying, “You’re probably wondering how I got here.”

Well, it’s a short story. I thought I was better than my small town back home, so I applied to college overseas, got accepted, and flew out without so much as a look back over my shoulder.

I was so excited to be in a whole new country, to be able to easily travel in Europe, to meet cute foreign boys (so much cuter than the domestic boys, I was sure) and learn about politics and history I was unfamiliar with.

I assimilated quickly, dating a British boy, taking my tea with milk, eating crumpets for breakfast. I even picked up a bit of an accent. I loved the cultural obsession with the monarchy, and I adored how much everyone hated the States, like me. In every sense of the word, I was an anglophile, firmly entrenched and happy.

I had a rainbow of rainboots in my closet, a cornucopia of clotted cream in my fridge, more British friends than I could count, and no plane ticket home.

Georgia, to me, back in 2012, was a backward state, populated by backward people who vote for Trump and who believed that being gay is a sin. Georgia was the girl who made fun of me for liking to read; Georgia was the businesses that outwardly tut-tutted undocumented immigrants but hired them under the table because they could pay them less money with no benefits. Georgia was the boy at school who grabbed me in the hallway, saying to me in tones of incredulity, “I just heard you’re an atheist! It can’t be true; you’re so nice !”

Georgia was a state of mind. To me, the enlightened liberal, it was a prison that represented all the dead-end jobs and lives I needed to get away from. I knew, in all the wisdom of my eighteen years, that the only way was out.

It took me five years to realize that I’d made the awful mistake of associating my crappy time in high school with an entire country. I’d let some bigots and some losers who made me feel small color my memories of my entire upbringing. And to get away from that, I literally flew four thousand miles.

But now I’m gazing westwards, filled with not a little longing for the heat and humidity that bakes me into the sidewalk cracks. I’m desperate for a conversation that doesn’t revolve around the lousy weather. I want sweet iced tea, and I want some Lucky Charms.

I want to be in the vibrant battleground, where there are bigots and racists and sexists, sure, like every other place, but where there’s also a chance to progress the cause and fight for what I care about in the place I grew up.

I voted in the Georgia midterms last year, doing the research on Stacey Abrams who came so close to being the first female black Governor. I donated to her campaign when she wanted a recount, and I watched her deliver the State of the Union address in February, impassioned and factual and inspiring.

I miss my family. I took them for granted when I jet set off, thinking I’d make do with video calls and the occasional text. I was so confident that they’d miss me more than I missed them. It wasn’t true.

I miss driving around aimlessly. I miss thinking in Fahrenheit. I miss having the majority of water taps be a single, melded tap from which water can come out hot and cold, instead of two separate taps for you to choose between freshly boiling your flesh or plunging it into water piped straight from the Arctic, good grief, Britain, it’s not that hard.

Eighteen-year-oldme was full of enthusiasm, excitement, wanderlust and an awful lot of resentment.

She didn’t make the wrong choice, to leave it all behind. I found my lifelong friends here, met the love of my life here, earned two degrees here.

But eighteen-year-old me made the choice for the wrong reasons.

Nobody tells you that when you travel, it won’t be all glamor and sparkles and dancing in clubs. Nobody tells you that you’ll struggle. You’ll mess stuff up, and put your foot in it, just like you would if you’d stayed at home. This is frustrating when you’re stuck in the mindset that if you can’t make it here, you can’t make it anywhere.

Going to a different country where everyone spoke the same language, I expected things to be the same, just slightly better and cooler. I’d be cooler too, by association, my nerdy inner self hoped.

I didn’t think I’d ever get homesick. But the people were different. The sense of humor was different. Even English itself was more different than I was used to. I had to make an effort to fit in, like nearly everyone, and I then went through the same discovery of learning that I shouldn’t have to fit in as most others do.

I wish I’d had a little more perspective back then. I wish I’d been a little better at detangling what I liked and what I didn’t like, and what the root cause was. I wish I’d been less caught up in the idea of myself as a worldly traveler, and a little more honest about what I aimed for in life. I wish I’d believed I could have stayed and made a difference about the things I cared about, instead of fleeing east.

Back then, I believed I was simply born in the wrong country for an intrepid soul like myself. But five years later, four thousand miles later, I’ve learned there’s no place like home. More than the sweet iced tea, more than Trader Joe’s, I’m finally understanding that it’s less to do with the place, and more to do with the experiences.

High school, college, love, and learning happen to nearly everyone, everywhere. I thought I hated Georgia, but actually despised high school. I thought the U.K. was superior, but it was because I loved my time in college.

What I missed about Georgia was the food, the weather, the people, the humor. But it was also the ability to make a change instead of running away. Now, as I grow a little older and hopefully a little wiser, I think the state of Georgia would have been no less good to me than the country of England. It took me far too long to realize that.