International travel can be fun and enlightening. Spending time immersed in other cultures and customs is an excellent way to get to know the world outside your comfort zone. Yet, with all the fun and adventure, traveling abroad can come with risks.
Ultimate Dive Travel works to mitigate these risks by not only helping you be proactive about your own safety but ensuring every resort we work with is secure and comfortable. We do not offer deals from every place on the globe for this reason. If we don’t feel comfortable, we know our clients will not either. A recent incident in Papua New Guinea, at a resort that UDT owner Ken Scarborough stayed at nearly five years ago while he flew all over the country, is a prime example of why Ultimate Dive Travel is cautious and how our clients benefit from our preliminary on-site inspections.
While we get to work recommending safe, enjoyable places for you to enjoy, keep a few key safety tips in mind to ensure you have a pleasant, uninterrupted vacation.
Make Copies of Important Documents
Prior to leaving, make a few copies of important documents, such as your passport and visa, and store them in each of your pieces of luggage. This way, if anything gets lost, you’ll still have copies of what you need. Also, email copies of everything to yourself so they are easily accessible from your smartphone if you get in a pinch.
Another thing to note: the US allows passports to be used up until their expiration date, but many countries do not follow this rule. Some countries will consider a passport invalid if they are within a six-month window of expiration. Prior to leaving, check to see when your passport will expire, and if the country you will be visiting will accept it.
Tell Family and Friends Your Plans
Ensure a family member or friend is aware of your travel plans by providing them with an itinerary. If possible, keep them informed of updates throughout the trip. Making someone aware of your intentions on an international journey will make locating you easier if anything should go wrong.
Know Your Hotel
When traveling, get to know those at the hotel. Talk to the staff or concierge to learn about areas to avoid when venturing out. Before you leave, grab a hotel business card to be sure you have the hotel’s phone number and address if needed. If there’s a significant language barrier or you have reason to believe there will be one, first ask if there will be an English-speaking person there to help you communicate. However, to respect the other culture, be sure to look up some basic courtesy and operational phrases that will get you where you need to go.
Leave Jewelry and Other Expensive Items at Home
A pretty universally known rule, but still a good reminder: leave valuable items such as expensive jewelry or electronics at home when traveling in unknown countries. Try your best to not draw attention to yourself. Flaunting money or expensive items can make you an easy target for thieves. When you leave your room, either bring critical items, like important travel documents, with you or put them in a safe and secure spot. It’s better to be overly cautious than stuck in a foreign country and having to jump through bureaucratic, costly hoops to get home safely.
Many countries require certain vaccinations prior to entering. Learn which vaccinations are needed, along with any other health concerns that may be an issue at your destination. Visit your local physician or health department to get vaccinated and have a proper physical prior to travel.
Separate Your Money and Credit Cards
Don’t keep all your money or credit cards in one place. Separate your funds in different bags and pockets to avoid losing all you have if something is taken. Utilizing a hotel safe is a great way to keep your money and personal belongings secure while you are out and about. While you are out, use a backpack or – hold onto your horses – a fanny pack to keep your money close.
Ultimate Dive Travel takes its customers’ safety very seriously. If a resort or liveaboard that we work with has encountered too many safety issues, we stop working with that resort or company to keep our guests out of harm’s way. We strive to make your experience the best possible. If you have specific questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to contact us.