With the excitement of finishing school for the summer, getting deals on flights and booking trips with a group of friends, it can be easy to forget about travel safety.
“As a solo female traveller, I always have to be aware of my surroundings,” said Randilee Penstone, a student in her final year of the travel and tourism program. “I always have to keep an eye on what’s going on around me. You should do that no matter who you’re travelling with, but while travelling solo, there’s a lot more pressure.”
As a student with experience travelling to 30 countries under her belt, she has many tips for first-time adventurers starting off their own journeys.
“Make a photocopy of your passport,” Penstone strongly advises. “I was in Munich Germany, and I had put my passport in the desk drawer. Two days later I left and got on my train for Vienna. During my six-hour train ride, I was looking through my backpack and say the photocopy of my passport and immediately realized I had left my passport in Germany.”
Although getting it back after another six-hour train ride back, one can never know just how handy making a photocopy of your passport can be. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
“If able to, keep all your valuables in a safe or a locker while you’re out sightseeing,” said Penstone. “This creates a lot less of a chance of them getting stolen from a locker or safe than from a pickpocketer.”
If a student is looking to have a bit more of a nature adventure, they must be prepared for the worst-case scenario.
“So when I go backcountry skiing, I try to have all of the proper safety equipment with me, so I have a shovel, and I’ve got an avalanche transceiver,” said Andrew Cotter, a travel enthusiast and mechanical engineering student. “These are constantly emitting a signal. The idea is your friends will also be wearing these, so if anybody gets lost you can use the signal to find them.”
Cotter makes sure he is as responsible he can be by not going into areas that he doesn’t know. He doesn’t put himself in such a high amount of risk by making sure he has friends that have a large amount of experience like himself.
Cotter has been skiing since he was three years old, and he strongly advises anyone who wants to go backcountry skiing without experience to not do it.
“Before you go into the backcountry make sure your personal skiing and snowboarding skills are up to par. Be able to ski any slope on the mountain,” Cotter said.
In order to be the safest one can be on their travels, you can ask people on their own tips from experience. Many people have great insight on mistakes they have made and will often advise you not to follow in their footsteps.
“One of my former colleagues got caught up in a fraudulent booking site. She booked a hotel located on numerous sites then decided to take a look at the only review left. The one review in German stated that [the hotel] was boarded up, so don’t book here,” Deborah Wright, technologist for Campus Travel, told the Times.
Wright advises that when booking a trip, to check with Canada’s Foreign Affairs first as they list information about that destination. They have the dos and don’ts, things to see and do, and to watch out for peculiar things — just to name a few.
Wright also mentions that the safest method of travel is to use debit or credit. Even if you receive a service charge for using it, carrying a large amount of cash is not safe for you.
She also mentions getting insurance before travelling. It covers trip cancellation prior, emergency return, up to $5 million in medical, baggage insurance, air flight accident and travel accident.
“I went to Australia one time at Christmas, and my luggage didn’t come with me. I had up to $400 to spend on necessary items, and the insurance covered that,” said Wright.
Being safe on your travels can guarantee you make the most out of your money spent.
“Always use a travel agent,” Write strongly advises.