Travel safety tips can help to keep you happy and healthy while on vacation. Learn more about travelling safely.

Edited by Admin
Travel safety tips can help to keep you happy and healthy while on vacation. Learn more about travelling safely.

Travel Safety and What To Do


In the bleak mid-winter, more than three million Canadians carve out some time for a tropical vacation. Whether you’re booked for a week in Jamaica, two weeks on the Yucatan Peninsula, or a long weekend in Turks and Caicos, you’ll be anticipating some fun in the sun and some rest and relaxation. However, sometimes accidents happen – even when you’re on holiday. If you suffer an accidental injury while you’re on vacation, what should you do?


Before You Leave


First things first. Do your best to vet the safety of the travel, accommodations, and activities you’re booking. The Canadian government offers travel advisories for most destinations. Read them before booking to get a clear assessment of the risks you’re engaging in. (Some countries don’t have a Canadian embassy, which means that if you do run into trouble, it will be difficult for the federal government to come to your aid.) Take weather into account, too. Don’t end up spending your vacation knee-deep in water during hurricane season.


The best practice is to book with a Canadian-owned company, or one that’s Canadian-controlled. Book through a local travel agent, so that it is obvious that the contract you enter into was formed in your province. Ask your agent to recommend accommodation that’s clean and comfortable. Next, visit a travel doctor to learn what you’ll need to do to avoid becoming ill. This may involve vaccinations against diseases such as hepatitis, malaria, or dengue fever.


Before you leave, be sure to buy travel insurance, which is designed to cover the cost of unexpected emergencies. Read the policy carefully to make sure that it covers you for all of the dates you’ll be away, and for all foreseeable circumstances. For example, it should include an evacuation clause that will pay for you to get back home in the case of a serious illness or accident. You should also check to make sure that your long-term disability and life insurance policies do not have an exclusion that might be triggered by travelling out of the country. (If you plan to go scuba diving or parasailing while on holiday, check to make sure that your policies aren’t voided if you are injured doing these sorts of activities.)


Let family members or trusted friends know your itinerary and any contact numbers you will have. Plan to check in regularly to let them know that you’re safe. Let your bank and credit card company know that you’ll be travelling out-of-country. Figure out the local money and do whatever’s necessary to exchange your cash. Scan all of your important documents and email the scans to yourself. If your documents are lost or stolen, it will be useful to have electronic copies at your fingertips. Learn a few key phrases in the local language, so that you’ll be able to communicate at least basic things such as asking for help.


If you’re travelling with children, pay close attention to the information posted on the Canadian government’s travel site. It can give you helpful tips about necessary travel documents for children, getting children through airport security screening, and more.


Once You Arrive


Respect for local customs is extremely important. Remember that you are guests in their country, and act accordingly. Dress appropriately, don’t engage in public displays of affection unless you’re sure that they’re tolerated, and ask before taking anyone’s photo. Learn about customs regarding tipping or bargaining, and abide by them. Don’t put yourself in situations where you might become a victim of crime.


If you decide to go on an “adventure” tour of some kind – scuba diving, deep-sea fishing, parasailing, cliff diving, ziplining, etc. – do your best to ascertain that there are safeguards in place. Make sure that you understand all of the instructions you’re being given, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.


If an Accident Occurs


No matter how carefully you plan, however, you may still become the victim of an accident. One Alberta woman drank from what she thought was a bottle of water in her Mexican hotel room, only to find that she’d burned her esophagus with cleaning fluid. An Ontario doctor drowned while scuba diving in Cuba. A BC student died in an accidental fall in the Dominican Republic. Other Canadians have been killed in bus accidents, suffered food poisoning, or have sustained a traumatic injury using faulty exercise equipment.


If you or a family member has been injured in an accident during a vacation, be sure to retain all medical treatment records, and take the names of doctors and other medical professionals who treat the victim. Take photos of the injuries and of the accident scene. Once the victim is stabilized, contact a personal injury lawyer. Under certain circumstances, Canadians can sue a foreign entity for injuries suffered abroad. A good personal injury law firm will offer a free initial consultation, and can advise you as to whether or not you may have a case.


Travel safety is not something that should be taken lightly. Always do your research on the country you are travelling to and be prepared for any situation that could arise.