Note: We actually wrote these travel safety tips for couples before we heard about the tragic killing of the solo female traveller Sarai Sierra in Turkey. Our travel safety tips can also be used by solo female travellers and males.
This post is a follow up to our previous article: Travel Safety Tips for Couples, Before you Travel.
We felt obliged to write about travel safety because we get asked a lot of questions regarding travel safety. We travelled to Egypt over a year ago and still get asked “is Egypt safe to travel to?”
Of course travel in Egypt is safe!
We basically consider that everywhere in the world is safe to travel to, as long as you are sensible and take precautions. It is like I said in our previous post, you don’t want to listen to everything others say, especially the media.
The world is NOT dangerous or unsafe. Sure there are dangerous people and destinations, but they are a really small percentage of the world.
And most of the unfortunate bad experiences that happen to travellers arise from them being stupid, drunk or just in the wrong place at the wrong time. By using a few simple travel safety tips, you can cut down your risks.
Travel Safety Tips for Couples
After 3 years of travel we haven’t had anything stolen and have NEVER felt unsafe because we follow our basic travel safety tips for couples, and solo travellers.
Travel Safety Tips: Blend in
One of the keys to travel safety is to limit drawing attention to yourself.
The closer you resemble a tourist, or more specifically the less you resemble other tourists, the better it is for you. Wearing sandals with white socks or sneakers with a large camera dangling from your neck is kind of a giveaway.
Similarly if you are waving around a map you may be targeted.
Travel Safety Tips: Dressing appropriately
Once you have stopped acting like a tourist you want to dress appropriately.
By leaving your valuables at home you should be carrying less stuff as you explore the streets. Everything you carry should be able to fit into your pockets or be within your bubble of “personal space”. Any time someone gets within that bubble you know to keep an eye on things.
There are always situations where this is unavoidable such as tightly packed public transport or local markets. To reduce your risk and avoid being pick-pocketed you want to keep your wallet in your front pocket, preferably buttoned up. Or use the inside pocket of your zipped up jacket.
You might also want to consider buying a “money belt” (examples here) that wrap around your waist underneath your shirt.
Finally, if you are a travelling couple ensure that you both carry your money and that it is not all in the same place. By spreading it out you won’t lose it all if one is stolen or lost.
Travel Safety Tips: Gather your gear
On arrival, or departure you are most likely to lose something.
At the airport you are tired from travelling and rush through customs eager to go exploring. Simply stuffing your wallet or passport at the top of your bag or in your back pocket is not good enough.
Use a money belt or secret compartment in your luggage to store valuable items.
It’s the same situation in a restaurant, accommodation or at an attraction. Take a moment to stop, gather yourself, and your belongings. As you walk away check behind you to see that you didn’t leave anything behind. I always do a quick “pat down” to check my camera, wallet, phone etc are in the right places.
If you know where everything should be then it becomes very easy to make this a simple routine ritual.
Travel Safety Tips: Don’t leave it unattended
We see this all the time. Someone sits down at a cafe and promptly ignores their bag or coat because they feel safe.
Always keep your items in your line of sight and within that personal bubble of space. It isn’t hard for someone to wander by and take something from your chair, or table, when you are distracted by delicious pastries and coffee.
Travel Safety Tips: Stay Alert
Before leaving your accommodation ask the staff if there is anywhere in the city they recommend not going. While you don’t necessarily want to stick to the boring tourist trails, you also don’t want to end up in seedy areas.
It is easy to unwittingly wander up the wrong street when you are gazing at all the sights. Just retrace your steps (guys are a little better at this than girls for some reason) and carry on your way.
The important thing is that you see what is going on around you. Take notice of what strangers are doing because it’s common practice for thieves to work together.
Kids with signs may try to distract you while the others pickpocket you. Or women will beg for money while pushing a crying infant in your face. While we feel bad doing it, we always just ignore them and keep walking. Once you stop, you become a sitting duck.
Our only rule is that if someone outright robs you then NEVER FIGHT BACK. Insurance will cover anything stolen and it is better than getting injured or worse.
Travel Safety Tips: Lock your luggage
While you should travel with minimal stuff, anything you leave in your accommodation should be locked away. Most hotels and hostels provide safes or lockers.
Our small padlocks probably wouldn’t stop a determined thief, but it will make them think twice and/or slow them down. Stealing your stuff is all about speed, so most won’t take that risk.
Travel Safety Tips: Walk away from confrontations
Everyone has been in a situation where someone upsets you or makes you angry. They might have accidentally bumped you or tried to chat up your girlfriend. Some ridiculous people might just be looking for a fight.
Unless you are Chuck Norris, walk away calmly. You never know who that person might be associated with. If they follow you then stick to public areas and find a local spot to ask for assistance.
And by no means are we telling you to avoid people. Meeting people is a main reason to travel!
Travel Safety Tips: Know your way out
Familiarising yourself with local landmarks as you wander around the streets of a foreign city can be very helpful for when you do take that eventual wrong turn.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you have taken the time to learn a little bit of the local language then someone will be willing to help you out. Our favourite experiences have been after we have gotten lost then shown where to go by a friendly local.
Travel Safety Tips: Don’t try this on holiday
While we love to step outside our comfort zones, we don’t take unnecessary risks. Especially when something looks a little dodgy.
There are way to many stories of travellers getting injured, or killed, while taking part in something life threatening. Sure we have run with bulls, driven scooters in Italy and scuba-dived in Egypt. But we consider these calculated risks. And we had great travel insurance.
If you want to take part in adventure travel activities then always check that the operators have legal qualifications and a good safety record too. The cheapest option is usually that price for a reason.
Travel Safety Tips Summary
No we are not trying to scare you away from travelling. We just know from experience that people seem to go on holiday without their brains. By showing you examples of worst-case scenarios we hope that we can limit your risks.
Travelling is safe when you reduce your risks and take precautions.
The important thing to remember is that if you do suffer a loss or a problem, don’t let that ruin your trip!
A Guide to Shopping in a Market in Egypt
One of the essential experiences to have when travelling in Egypt trip is a day of wandering through a busy, colorful, chaotic bazaar and seeking out the hidden treasures that can be found there. Markets are an important part of the local tradition in Egypt and there are some markets that have been housing sellers and their wares for many centuries. Some of the fantastic local markets that you can explore on your trip are the Khan El Khalili Market in Old Cairo, the market in Luxor and the local market in Aswan.
Egypt Shopping Tips
What to Buy in Egypt
When you are shopping during your Egypt luxury tour you will have an opportunity to buy some unique items that you won’t find anywhere else in the world. Here are some of the special things you can buy in Egypt:
- Alabaster Statues – A specialty of Luxor, this gorgeous sculptures are made from smooth marble-like stone and will make a stunning decoration for your home.
- Papyrus – The oldest type of paper in the world, papyrus is made with reeds from the river Nile. In Egyptian markets you can find many papyrus souvenirs including small notebooks and beautiful artworks.
- Spices – If you love to cook, an Egyptian market is a great place to stock up on delicious and fragrant spices.
- Perfumes – You will find a fantastic selection of wonderfully scented perfumes and natural essences, especially in Aswan.
- Clothing – Beautifully patterned shawls, long flowing dresses, delicately embroidered shirts and other stunning clothes made from Egyptian cotton can be found in the markets.
- Jewellery – The handmade jewellery crafted by local artisans is intricately beautiful and often features gold, silver and precious stones.
Understand the Art of Haggling
While haggling is not acceptable in the supermarkets and restaurants, it is within the old fashioned souks. In fact, it is expected. A seller will quote you a high price on the item and expect you to give a counter offer – then you will banter back and forth until you reach a happy medium that is suitable for you both.
Keep in mind that haggling is most effective when you are buying expensive and valuable items such as gold, jewellery, handicrafts and clothing. When you are buying small trinkets it is not worth the time and effort, so simply pay the full price for these small items as it shows support for the local sellers.
Take your time shopping around and understand roughly what an item will be worth. You can ask your tour guide what a reasonable price would be and then add a slightly percentage more for being out of town.
Always haggle with a smile and don’t try to be too rude or pushy. Suggest a reasonable price and if the shopkeeper doesn’t want to sell you the item at that price you can simply walk away. Often you will find that as soon as you start to walk away, they change their mind and beckon you back – suddenly ready to offer you a lower price.
Have fun and enjoy your experience shopping in a local market in Egypt!
Make Your Dream Holiday a Reality with a Travel Loan
Every time you surf the web, you find yourself perusing sites to one of your favourite destinations. The only problem is you have never had the opportunity to actually travel to this locale. As much as you have tried in the past, you have not been able to raise the money needed to fund this trip.
Fortunately, you can fund your dream vacation. However, instead of waiting until you might or might not have the funds, a travel loan can help fund your dream vacation. Travel loans are designed to pay for any travel-related expenses. Like other loans, though, this is an obligation that is listed with others on your credit report.
Continue reading below to find how you can fund your dream holiday with a travel loan.
Before actually applying for a loan, research the place you would like to visit to calculate costs. Look at all the available rental costs associated with hotels and vehicles, in addition to airfare. When looking at hotels, pay attention to places that offer all-inclusive deals, which pay for meals.
After you have come up with a tentative budget, then research travel loans. Travel loans from Latitude Finance, in addition to other companies, are a great place to start in looking for a way to fund your dream holiday. Considerations you want to keep in mind include how much you can actually afford to pay on overtime, your credit rating, the interest rates and any possible fees that might be incurred related to modifying or cancelling your trip.
Figure In Your Contribution
While funding your entire trip might be difficult, you might be able to contribute something toward the cost. In this way, you defray costs associated with borrowing extra money, namely the interest that is compounded over time as you pay off the loan. As opposed to borrowing the whole amount, come up with a figure you can comfortably contribute to your trip.
Make A Budget
After gathering all of your information, create a budget that is flexible enough for you to do activities at both the hotel and in the local area. If travelling to a foreign locale, take exchange rates into consideration, in addition to any incidental costs that might be added to your trip.
For example, some airlines charge extra for more luggage. Also, budget for taxis and other transportation while on holiday. By making a budget, you establish a spending limit. More significantly, this helps you in not borrowing more than needed.
Gather Your Information
While most loan applications can involve a lengthy process, travel loans can be processed much more quickly. There are a few ways you can apply including applying online and in person. Either way, make sure you have the requisite documents (salary stubs, proof of address, bank statements and identification) ready when applying. Some sources state that usually most loans are approved, but a travel is still a loan and is bound by similar regulations. If you are approved for a loan, typically, your funds are quickly deposited into your account.
When travelling to any destination, pack only the necessities, as to avoid incurring airline fees. Plus, lugging around your entire wardrobe can be exhausting, especially if you have several destinations to visit. Also, to be safe, contact the airline in regards to any fees that might be charged or regulations that you need to follow.
A Dream Come True
With a travel loan, you no longer have to stare at your computer and wonder whether you will ever get to your desired location. Travel loans can help fund even the most exotic holiday and can do so at a much better rate than credit cards. Ultimately, while the loan is a debt you will pay overtime, you will eventually pay it off. However, the memory of your travel experience will last forever.
Top 5 Museums in Israel
Did you know that Israel boasts the highest number of museums per capita in the world? That is probably because Israel is home to a nation that dates back 3,800 years, and it has accumulated a lot of stuff. On your next trip to Israel, don’t miss these top five museums.
Israel Museum and Shrine of the Book
The Israel Museum is one of the most important museums in Israel, with its replicas of 12th Century synagogues, ancient artifacts, and traditional Jewish wedding clothing on display.
With its distinctive white dome, the Shrine of the Book is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Israel. Built in 1947 to house the first seven scrolls, it is now home to more than 950 biblical scrolls. The Shrine of the Book also houses a model of Jerusalem in the Second Temple period.
Yad Vashem is a must-see, located in Israel’s capital city, Jerusalem. It is the foremost authority on Holocaust education in the world. Its primary goal is to safeguard the memories of the victims with collections of testimony and artifacts. This museum will likely be the most memorable museum on your trip to Israel.
Tel Aviv Museum of Art
This municipal museum holds various events and exhibits throughout the year. Its focus is mainly on local and international art such as modern and older paintings and drawings, photography, and architecture and design. This unique museum also contains a special sculpture garden.
Madatech – Haifa
A science, technology, and space museum situated in the city of Haifa, Madatech welcomes more than 400,000 visitors per year. It contains more than 600 hands-on exhibits and seven multi-sensory 3-D movies. The Noble Energy Science Park houses giant interactive exhibits, which demonstrate scientific principles to its many visitors, old and young alike.
Eretz Israel Museum
Located in Tel Aviv, the Eretz Israel Museum focuses on Israel’s history and culture: archeology, ethnography, post and philately, folklore, Judaica, traditional crafts, and popular art, cultural history, and local identity. After exploring the museum’s exhibits, walk through the surrounding gardens and you will see ancient mosaics, oil presses, a wine press, and flour mills.
Traveling to all these museums and other tourist sites in Israel would be tough without renting a car. Use car rental Israel service on your next visit to Israel and see all the great country has to offer.
Meet Cole and Adela
We have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...
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