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I gave a speech the other day to clients of Assante. At the end of the talk I introduced a number of travel tips to help make those in audience who love to travel take steps to ensure their trips are more comfortable, secure, and safe.

I share those with you today.

  1.   TAKE STEPS TO STAY HEALTHY.

 TRAVELLERS TO HIGH RISK COUNTRIES NEED TO MAKE SURE THEY ARE UP TO DATE WITH
VACCINATIONS AND OTHER PREVENTATIVE MEDICINES THAT CAN RUIN MORE THAN JUST THE
HOLIDAY.

IT IS A FACT THAT VISITORS TO HIGH RISK COUNTRIES WILL LIKELY BE
HOSPITALIZED SIX TIMES MORE THAN LESS RISKY DESTINATIONS. IT IS RECOMMENDED BY CANADA’S OWN PUBLIC HEALTH AGENCY THAT EVEN FOR MEXICO, OUR MOST TRAVELLED TO DESTINATION FROM CANADA, VISITORS SHOULD BE VACCINATED FOR HEPATITIS A AND B, TYPHOID, MEASLES, INFLUENZA, AND EVEN RABIES.

  1. DRIVING CAN BE HAZARDOUS TO YOUR HEALTH.

 WHILE IT IS NORMAL TO FEAR NATURAL DISASTERS, PROTESTS, AND THREATS OF TERRORISM, THE FACT IS THAT TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS ARE THE NUMBER ONE CAUSE OF TOURIST DEATHS AND INJURY.

LIKEWISE, THE FACT IS THAT TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS CAUSE TEN TIMES MORE TOURIST
DEATHS THAN DISEASES.

LOCAL ROAD CONDITIONS MAY NOT BE UP TO THE STANDARDS OF CANADA AND OFTEN
DRIVERS IN OTHER COUNTRIES ARE MORE CAVALIER.

ALWAYS WEAR A SEATBELT WHEN DRIVING WITH SOMEONE ELSE, AND IF YOU CHOSE TO
RENT A VEHICLE, GET TO KNOW YOUR ROUTES WELL IN ADVANCE. GAIN LOCAL KNOWLEDGE
BY ASKING AS MANY QUESTIONS AS YOU CAN.

  1. MAP OUT YOUR SURROUNDINGS IN ADVANCE.

 WITH THE ADVENT OF MAPQUEST AND SIMILAR TECH OPTIONS YOU CAN SEARCH OUT YOUR
RESORT AND THE AREA NEARBY.

DO THIS TO GAIN A COMFORT LEVEL OF WHERE YOU WILL BE STAYING AS WELL AS THE
TOURIST SITES YOU MAY CHOOSE TO VISIT.

BY PRINTING OUT THE DETAILED MAP OF THOSE AREAS YOU CAN MAKE YOUR OWN
DECISIONS ABOUT HOW FAR AFIELD YOU MAY WISH TO TRAVEL ON YOUR OWN.

4.   LEAVE COPIES OF YOUR DRIVER’S LICENSE,
CREDIT CARDS, AND PASSPORT WITH SOMEONE AT HOME.

 IF THESE ARE STOLEN YOU WANT THEM REPLACED AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE. I OFTEN PRINT
AN EXTRA COPY AND KEEP IT IN ONE OF THE POCKETS OF MY LUGGAGE FOR THE SAME
REASON.

5. PREVENT THIEVES AT HOME FROM KNOWING YOU ARE AWAY.

 AS THE SNOW PILES UP ON YOUR DRIVEWAY AND DOORWAY, AND AS NEWSPAPERS REMAIN
UNTOUCHED, SOONER OR LATER BREAK-IN ARTISTS WILL CONCLUDE YOUR HOME IS A SAFE
HAVEN FOR THEIR MISDEEDS.

HAVE YOUR DRIVEWAY KEPT CLEAN DURING YOUR ABSENCE AND CURTAIL KNOWN
DELIVERIES

6.    MAKE SURE YOUR INSURANCE STAYS VALID WHEN
YOU ARE AWAY.

 MANY HOME POLICIES HAVE REQUIREMENT THAT AN ABSENT HOME BE INSPECTED ON A
REGULAR BASIS. THOSE GOING FOR LONG STAY VACATIONS REALLY NEED TO CONSULT WITH
THEIR INSURANCE AGENT TO FIND OUT SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS FOR THEM. BUT EVEN
THOSE TRAVELLING ON SHORTER VACATIONS SHOULD HAVE SOMEONE GO INTO THE HOUSE ON
A REGULAR BASIS.

  1. INFORM YOUR CREDIT CARD COMPANIES AND BANK
    OF YOUR TRAVEL PLANS.

THERE IS NOT MUCH MORE EMBARRASSING THAN HAVING YOUR CREDIT CARDS DECLINED A
FEW DAYS AFTER YOU HAVE REACHED YOUR DESTINATION.

IT IS COMMON FOR CREDIT CARD COMPANIES TO DO THIS WHEN USAGE IS BEING
MONITORED AT DESTINATIONS OTHER THAN YOUR OWN.

INTERNATIONAL THIEVES ARE THE SCOURGE OF CREDIT CARD COMPANIES, AND TO
PROTECT YOU, THEY WILL TRY TO REACH YOU AT YOUR CONTACT NUMBERS TO HAVE YOU
APPROVE PURCHASES OUT OF YOUR TRADING AREA.

IF THEY CANNOT REACH YOU, OUT OF AN ABUNDANCE OF CAUTION, THEY WILL FREEZE
YOUR ACCOUNT.

8.    MAKE FRIENDS WITH YOUR LUGGAGE

 WHILE WE LIKE TO BLAME AIRLINES FOR SENDING OUR BAGS TO PLACES UNKNOWN,
OFTEN TRAVELERS SEE A BAG OF THE SAME BRAND AND COLOUR AS THEIRS AND TAKE IT
OFF THE CAROUSEL AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE.

AN HOUR OR TWO LATER THE MISTAKE MAY BE DISCOVERED, BUT IT CAN TAKE SEVERAL
MORE HOURS OR DAYS TO REUNITE THE TWO OF YOU AGAIN.

THERE ARE HUNDREDS OF DISTINCTIVE LUGGAGE TAGS AVAILABLE THESE DAYS. WRAP
AROUND STRAPS HELP KEEP YOUR BAGS SECURE AND PROVIDE FOR EASIER IDENTIFICATION.

  1. PACK ANY MEDICATIONS YOU MAY BE TAKING IN
    YOUR CARRY-ON LUGGAGE ONLY.

 WHILE IT IS GOOD ADVICE TO TAKE MORE MEDICATIONS WITH YOU THAN THE DAYS FOR
WHICH YOU WILL BE AWAY, DO NOT PACK THEM INTO YOUR CHECKED BAGS.

IF THEY ARE LIQUIDS IN CONTAINERS THAT ARE LARGER THAN THE AMOUNT ALLOWED
PUT THEM INTO SMALLER CONTAINERS. IT IS A GOOD IDEA TO CARRY THE PRESCRIPTION
WITH YOU AS WELL IN CASE SECURITY HAS QUESTIONS.

10. DO YOUR HOMEWORK.

VISIT THE WEBSITES THAT WILL HELP ENSURE A WORRY FREE VACATION. THE CANADIAN
AIR TRANSPORT SECURITY AUTHORITY SITE IS
WWW.CATSA-ACSTA.GC.CA
. IT WILL HAVE THE MOST UP-TO-DATE INFORMATION FOR AIR TRAVELERS.

ATWWW.TRAVEL.GC.CA YOU WILL FIND
LOADS OF INFORMATION ON EVERY COUNTRY.

CHECK WWW.PUBLICHEALTH.GC.CA
FOR HEALTH RISK INFORMATION ON THE COUNTRY YOU MAY BE VISITING.
VISIT THE WEBSITES OF YOUR HOTEL, THE CITY WHERE YOU WILL BE STAYING AND THE
COUNTRY YOU WILL BE VISITING TO GAIN AN APPRECIATION OF THE PLACES YOU WILL BE
AT DURING YOUR STAY.

CHECK OUT GUIDEBOOKS AND REVIEW SITES TO GET A BETTER IDEA OF HOW TO
BETTER PLAN THE FINITE DETAILS OF YOUR VACATION.

  1. WHAT DO YOU DO WITH YOUR BOARDING PASS AT THE END OF A FLIGHT?

NEVER GAVE IT MUCH THOUGHT, RIGHT?

BUT WHILE YOU ARE IN EUROPE, YOUR HOME MAY BE BEING RANSACKED BECAUSE OF THE INFORMATION ON THAT BOARDING PASS.

WHENEVER I HAVE A PRINTED BOARDING PASS, NEAR THE END OF A FLIGHT I TEND TO STUFF IT INTO THE SEAT POCKET, OR SIMPLY TOSS IT INTO THE NEAREST CONTAINER AFTER I GET OFF THE PLANE.

I RECEIVED AN EMAIL FROM MY DAUGHTER WARNING ME NOT TO DO THAT ANYMORE. WHY NOT?

BECAUSE LIKE ANY CODE THAT IS WRITTEN ON A PIECE OF PAPER OR DOCUMENT, LIKE THE CAN OF VEGETABLES YOU BUY, IT CAN BE EASILY SCANNED.

BIG DEAL RIGHT? WRONG?

THERE IS A LOAD OF PERSONAL INFORMATION THAT IS WAITING FOR THE BAD GUYS AND GALS OF THE WORLD TO CAPTURE AND USE. WHAT’S ON THERE?

JUST YOUR PERSONAL EMAIL ADDRESS, YOUR HOME ADDRESS AND PHONE, AND WHATEVER ELSE THE AIRLINE MAY HAVE ASKED FOR. ONCE THE THIEVES HAVE THE BASICS THEY CAN GO AFTER MORE, INCLUDING CREDIT CARD INFORMATION, FINANCIAL DATA, AND OTHER BANKING INFORMATION THAT CAN BE ACCESSED WITH A BEGINNING FOUNDATION OF INFORMATION.

 

 

 

  1. PICKPOCKETS ARE A SCOURGE IN ALL THE MAJOR CITIES AROUND THE WORLD.

 

AND SCAMS ARE ALL TOO PLENTIFUL IN THE TRAVEL BUSINESS. THEY ARE SUCCESSFUL BECAUSE, IN OUR EXCITEMENT OVER WHAT WE ARE EXPERIENCING, WE DON’T TAKE CARE ABOUT OUR BELONGINGS.

 

THIS ONLY UNDERSCORES HOW DILIGENT WE NEED TO BE WHEN WE TRAVEL.

 

IN THE PAST I HAVE OFFERED SOME OF THE WAYS YOU CAN PROTECT YOURSELF, AND TODAY I AM ADDING TO THAT LIST.

 

  1. IN YOUR HOTEL ROOM.

 WHILE THERE ARE OCCASIONALLY HOTEL ROOM BREAK-INS, THEY ARE FEW AND FAR BETWEEN. TRY TO LEAVE AS MANY OF YOUR VALUABLES AS YOU CAN IN YOUR ROOM WHEN YOU GO OUT FOR THE DAY.

 WHILE USING THE HOTEL ROOM SAFE IS A GOOD THING, MOST OF THESE ARE NOT HARD TO BREAK INTO IF REAL THIEVES WISH TO DO SO.

 I HAVE ESTABLISHED A HABIT OF SPREADING SOME OF MY VALUABLES THROUGH THE VARIOUS BAGS I TRAVEL WITH. THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IS TO ESTABLISH A ROUTINE AS TO WHERE YOU STORE THEM.

MORE THAN ONE PERSON HAS LOST ITEMS BECAUSE THEY COULD NOT REMEMBER WHERE THEY HID THEM. BUT, AT LEAST IF THEY ARE IN POSSESSIONS YOU OWN, IF YOU CAN’T FIND THEM WHEN YOU CHECK OUT, YOU KNOW THEY ARE SOMEWHERE IN YOUR BELONGINGS.

 YOU NEVER WANT TO FORGET WHERE YOU HIDE A PASSPORT. THAT MEMORY LOSS COULD RESULT IN A SUBSTANTIVELY LONGER HOLIDAY THAT YOU HAD EVER ENVISIONED.

 

  1. THOSE SMALL THINGS YOU CARRY.

 TODAY DAY PACKS, AS THEY ARE CALLED, ARE A COMMON ADDENDUM FOR VISITORS WONDERING THROUGH CITY STREETS. PUTTING ONE OF THESE BY YOUR TABLE AS YOU GO TO A WASHROOM, EVEN IF YOU ARE WITH ANOTHER PERSON, IS AN INVITATION TO STEAL.

 LIKEWISE CAMERAS AND ESPECIALLY CELL PHONES, ALWAYS PRIME TARGETS FOR THIEVES, NEED TO BE ATTACHED TO YOU, LIKE AN EXTRA HAND IN SOME WAY OR ANOTHER.

 PERHAPS EQUALLY IMPORTANTLY, WHEN THINGS DO GO BADLY, YOU NEED TO BE ABLE TO GET BACK ON TRACK AS QUICKLY AS YOU CAN, WITHOUT RUINING YOUR VACATION EMOTIONALLY OR FINANCIALLY.

 AT THE END OF THIS ARTICLE I HAVE NOTED SOME OPTIONS FOR SAFER DAYPACKS AND OTHER SECURITY DEVICES.

 15. ALL YOUR INFORMATION.

 BEFORE YOU LEAVE HOME MAKE SURE THAT YOU HAVE MADE COPIES, AND EVEN EXTRA ONES FOR TRAVEL COMPANION, OF TICKETS, PASSPORTS, MEDICINES, ITINERARIES, LOST CREDIT CARD CONTACT NUMBERS, AND ESPECIALLY PRESCRIPTIONS.

 I HAVE WRITTEN ABOUT THE USE OF MONEY BELTS AND OTHER SECURITY BAGS FOR A LONG TIME. THAT ADVICE CANNOT BE REPEATED ENOUGH. AND SEPARATING CREDIT CARDS AND OTHER VALUABLE INFORMATION IS EQUALLY IMPORTANT, SO THAT IF YOU ARE PARTED FROM ANY OF IT, LOST OR STOLEN, YOU HAVE ACCESS TO ANOTHER CREDIT CARD OR OTHER MONIES.

 WHILE OFTEN YOUR THEFT INSURANCE MAY BE SUFFICIENT TO REPLACE STOLEN ITEMS, AND EVEN THOUGH YOU WILL LIKELY WANT TO DEAL WITH THE PAPER WORK WHEN YOU GET BACK HOME, IT IS WORTH TAKING COPIES OF YOUR POLICIES WITH YOU ON YOUR TRIP. YOU CAN CONTACT THE INSURANCE COMPANY AND START THE PROCESS WHILE YOU ARE AWAY, AND ALWAYS REPORT THEFTS TO THE POLICE, EVEN THOUGH THEY ARE NOT LIKELY TO BE RUSHING OUT TO TAKE YOUR INFORMATION IN CITIES THAT REPORT PICKPOCKETING AND OTHER SCAMS ON THE HOUR.