The days are getting shorter and the nights are drawing in. But, if you’re one of the lucky ones planning a winter holiday, you’ll soon be loading up your suitcase and jetting off abroad. Winter woes? What winter woes?!
Yet, whether you’re chasing the sun or hitting the slopes, it’s fair to say that all holidays involve an element of risk. So, read our guide on staying safe abroad and you’ll be able to kick back, relax and enjoy some much-deserved downtime.
1. Do your homework
Spend some time understanding the laws and local customs of your destination before heading off – Wikitravel* is a great go-to resource for this. If you plan on getting behind the wheel on holiday, learning driving laws is a must – you can find out more about this in one of our previous articles here.
Planning a trip to the slopes? Skiing is great fun, but it can be risky. So, it’s always best to research where the nearest hospital is to the resort you’re staying at.
2. Only pack essentials
Nearly 21.6 million bags were mishandled (lost or temporarily mislaid) last year, shows SITA data*. It’s much better to be prepared than to simply hope it won’t happen to you. So, refrain from packing expensive or sentimental items in your suitcase – if you really want to take them, carry them in your hand luggage instead.
3. Check your gear
If you’re hitting the slopes, give all of your equipment – skis, boots and goggles, for instance – a once-over before packing them to make sure it’s all in good order. If some of your gear looks a little worse for wear, consider replacing it before you leave, or hire the items you need when you’re over there.
4. Double-up on documents
Take photocopies of your passport, driving license and any credit/debit cards you’re taking away with you; this way, they’ll be easier to replace if you lose them. Store them separately to the originals; for instance, in a folder with copies of your travel insurance and itinerary.
5. Split your meds
If you need to pack medication, it’s best to divide it and carry some in both your hand and hold luggage. Discovering that your case containing all your essential meds has gone missing wouldn’t be a great start to a trip…
6. Don’t carry lots of cash around
Only take what you need for the day (plus a little extra) and keep the rest of your weekly cash budget locked in a safe place at your accommodation. Better still, pre-load a travel card and use this for your day-to-day expenses.
7. Take care with taxis
In any country you visit, you’ll find that there’s a minority of taxi drivers giving the rest a bad name. To stop yourself from being scammed, only use licensed taxis. It’s also a good idea to agree a price before setting off – or, if you notice a metre, ask for it to be turned on.
8. Know your limits
Many holidaymakers enjoy a few tipples while away. But, whether you’re warming up with a hot toddy in an après ski bar, or sipping a Pina Colada by the pool, the same rule applies: never leave your drinks unattended. Also, there’s a reason why it’s called après ski – just like driving, skiing whilst under the influence can be very dangerous, so save the hot toddies for later on!
9. Stay with the group
It’s ‘safety in numbers,’ as they say, so don’t walk alone at night. Always stay in a group, especially if you’re in a quieter area. If you fancy some solo exploring during the daytime, let someone know where you’re going and what time you’ll be back, and always take your phone with you.
10. Are you covered?
Don’t forget, quality travel insurance is just as important as packing all the essential gear for your holiday! It will cover you against possible, unforeseen circumstances, like lost or stolen baggage, or flight delays.
Travel insurance from Zurich will give you peace of mind that you, and your belongings, are well protected during your trip. All of our cover options feature a wide range of benefits as standard, with optional extras like winter sports cover.
So, after you’ve protected yourself and your loved ones, there’s only one thing left to do: locate your passport. Happy holidays!
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