The Clever Travel Companion Updates

Ex Special Forces Soldier gives advice on how to avoid pickpockets and stay safe during terrorist attacks October 25 2017, 0 Comments

In the below video and ex SAS member gives advice to a tvnz correspondent on the best ways to avoid pickpockets and stay safe during a terrorist attack. He's got some great tips and advice to share! 


How to stay safe as a solo female traveller October 14 2017, 0 Comments

PLAN, PLAN, PLAN

You might be a spontaneous traveller, but when going solo, you should book at least your first night of accommodation before arrival. One tip when choosing a hotel is opting for a centrally located one.

This way, you will not stand out as much, and you will also have a chance to mingle with other travellers. Also, try to time your trip in such a way that you arrive in the morning.

Some female travellers also recommend packing a doorstop that will keep doors from being opened.


TRUST YOUR INTUITION

Women have often been lauded for their ability to read body language and pick up social cues. Use this intuition to your advantage, and learn to trust your gut.

If you are caught in an uncomfortable situation, pack your bags and hit the road. Just ensure that you have alternate accommodation in mind.


DON'T LET PICKPOCKETS PICK ON YOU

Besides staying vigilant, it is also a good idea to spread your valuables into different compartments of your bag.

That way, if you do fall victim to a pickpocket, your important documents are all spread out, so you won't lose everything in one go.

You can also consider making copies of your credit cards and passport and saving it to Google Docs or Dropbox.

When you are sitting down, loop the strap of your bag around your leg to prevent someone from running away with it. When walking in crowded areas, wear your backpack in front to avoid pickpockets from cutting into your belongings. Alternatively, pick up a slash-free and anti-theft bag from brands such as Pacsafe.


WHEN IN ROME...

While you might want to get all dolled up for your vacation, you do not want to draw unwanted attention to yourself. When travelling alone, try to conform to cultural norms and dress modestly in countries where it is expected. In some countries, you might want to wear a wedding ring even if you are single.


HAVE A TIPPLE, BUT DON'T GET TOO TIPSY

Even though you are on holiday, you should be very wary before getting too "wasted" when you are travelling by yourself. Know your limits before you party.

If a stranger asks you to go out for drinks, politely decline the offer and say that you have other plans. Remember, you should not feel guilty or bad when saying no if it means feeling safe.


MAKE YOUR MARK

Inform a loved one of your flights and itineraries. A photo upload and check-in at a new location is also a good way to keep your family and friends posted about your whereabouts.

That said, be careful not to overshare. Refrain from telling strangers where you are staying and only post about hotels on social media after you have left.

Even if you are travelling on a budget, international phone plans are worth spending money on. Carry a few international phone cards if you do not want to commit to a whole phone plan.


WHEN HAILING A CAB

Before you head out, grab the business card or jot down the name, address and phone number of your accommodation. It will come in handy if you get lost or are unable to communicate with the driver.

Another thing you should take note of is the taxi number or the licence plate, just in case.

To avoid getting overcharged, ask the hotel front desk for an estimate of how much it will cost to get to your destination.

Alternatively, Google Maps has a feature that will provide you with a rough estimate.

When possible, agree on the fare beforehand and have the exact change with you to prevent getting ripped off.

If you have baggage with you, keep your stuff in the back seat and not in the trunk. That way, you can jump out of the cab if anything goes wrong.


Safety Tips for Young Solo Travelers August 31 2017, 0 Comments

This article originally appeared in the Independent SA.

As the popular saying goes: "In the School of Life, travel is the best teacher". 

Some of the world's more seasoned travelers have also said that the best way to challenge yourself and see the world while you're at it; travel solo. While all of this sounds great on paper, practically, it may not work out this way. 

The world can be a very dangerous place, especially if you're in another country, know no one there, cannot speak the language and find yourself in an emergency, this can be a harrowing experience. This is why every traveler must take the necessary precautions and prepare properly. 

Youth oriented travel agency "Contiki" specialises in curating experiences across various parts of the world. According to Kelly Jackson, general manager for Contiki, a lot goes into ensuring that the trips are safe even for young people that come alone, but want the experience. 

"The safety of our guests is always comes first. Being part of The Travel Corporation family of brands, and being a family-owned business, means that we operate with a ‘family first’ mentality. Just as you would go above and beyond for your nearest and dearest, doing anything to ensure their safety and happiness, that’s how we feel about our travellers.

"Sometimes incidents that occur that cannot be planned for. In 2016, the Calais ferry strikes meant that hundreds of Contiki travellers were unable to get either to Paris, or back to London. Yet whilst other companies left their travellers stranded, we don’t work like that" Jackson said. 

For young solo travellers, Jackson had the following tips: 

  • Always let your friends or family know your trip plans. At Contiki we provide our travellers with a duplicate list of hotels for this reason. Parents and friends can contact the hotels at any time to stay in touch.
  • There are Pickpockets everywhere. Pick pocketing and theft happen in every country around the world so just be sensible about this. People are naturally security conscious so don’t let this habit lapse when you’re travelling. Keep locks on your luggage and don’t carry too much cash on you (or your passport) when you’re out sightseeing.
  • Know how to contact local authorities in case of an emergency, and have the means at your disposal to contact them. Get yourself a local SIM card and stay in touch.

 

Jessica Clarke  brand manager of Busabout, an alternative travel company said it is important to keep alert when traveling. 

“Never let your usual sensibilities desert you. Keep your guard up in public places, be aware of pick pockets, know how to contact the Embassy, let family have a copy of your itinerary and be contactable – even if it’s only on Facebook,” Clarke said. 

Here's to your next solo trip. And always remember: SAFETY FIRST.