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Sunday, 30 October 2011

Travel and keep safe when living abroad   

When planning a trip or a longer stay in a foreign country, it's important to think about what to do in an emergency. Here are some basic safety tips to help you relax and enjoy your time abroad.

Help and advice on keeping safe

Safety tips and good-practice guide for travelling or living abroad:

  • check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website or telephone 0870 606 0290 for information about the country to which you are going
  • buy travel insurance and check that the cover is appropriate
  • get a good guidebook and get to know your destination
  • find out about local laws and customs
  • ensure that you have a valid passport and necessary visas
  • check what vaccinations you need at least six weeks before you go
  • check to see if you need to take extra health precautions
  • make sure your travel agent is a member of the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) and, if flying, make sure your holiday package is financially protected by Air Travel Organisers' Licensing (ATOL)
  • make copies of your passport, insurance policy (including your insurer's and card protection's 24-hour emergency number) and ticket details - leave copies with family and friends
  • take enough money for your trip and some back-up funds, eg travellers cheques, sterling or US dollars
  • leave a copy of your itinerary and a way of contacting you, such as email, with family and friends

If you're on the move, it's important to keep your wits about you

On the train

If you're waiting for a train, make sure that you stand somewhere well-lit where you can see all around you. Don't stand on your own.

When you get on the train, find a seat in a carriage where there are other people sitting. If some people start making trouble, don't be afraid to change carriage if you can.

In a taxi

When taking a taxi anywhere, you should always make sure they are licensed. People standing on the streets asking if you need a taxi aren't necessarily going to be the real thing; they might try to rip you off or attack you.

Your best plan is to go to a taxi rank where you know there are licensed cabs or call a taxi firm you trust to be picked up. While waiting to be picked up, go somewhere you'd find a lot of people, like a supermarket or a restaurant. Don't take a risk and get in a car you're not sure about.

On the street

If you're walking about, there are things you can do to keep safe. First of all, stick to well-lit areas where there are a few people around. If you're going somewhere that might have a bit of a reputation, don't go alone and try not to stand out too much.

Don't flash your phone or MP3 player around or you may become a target for muggers. If you're carrying a bag, make sure it's securely fastened and can't be grabbed from your hand or shoulder. If you're wearing a scarf, wear it tight and with no loose ends that could be pulled to distract you.

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