One thing concerning us all in tourism at the moment is the question of travel safety – both physically and financially. The year 2020 showed us how quickly a crisis can evolve and that considering the worst case and preparing for it has become all the more important. Many years we took safe travelling for granted but the last year changed that sentiment towards tourism drastically and spawned new concerns.
So, to ensure safe travelling, here are 5 things everyone should consider for maximum safety – plus a little bonus tip at the end:
1. Choose your travel destination wisely
The easiest and first step for safe travelling is to carefully select the right travel destination. For that it is best advised to look at official government websites such as the respective embassies for information about potential travel restrictions, warnings and so on.
A good tip is also to inform yourself about the general safety level of your selected travel destination regarding crime rates, the chance of natural disasters, political turmoil and more. You can usually find information regarding safety evaluations on the website of your country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and by doing a quick google search. If you book via a service-oriented incoming agency, you can also just ask them about such information as they will have first-hand knowledge about that.
2. Stay up to date
Check the current situation of the country you want to travel to. It is best to check the information for the specific city or region because the regional situation can be quite different from the country’s state overall. News and media are a good resource to keep an eye on the travel destination, not just in regards to Covid but also in terms of other relevant information such as political activites, natural disasters and so on.
As for the ongoing pandemic, many of the safety measures change quite often depending on the situation so it is best to check up on it regularly. The safest way to do that is to book via a travel company that does that information-checking for you and monitors the regulations as well as the current situation closely.
3. Check the conditions in detail
We all know how important that is yet we all do it every now and then: Signing something we haven’t carefully read before. But 2020 showed us more than thoroughly that it is worth knowing the conditions of your contract. In every contract you should find the detailed cancellation and payment conditions as well as the general terms under which the contract is signed. Read them carefully and in case you are unsure about what something means, just take the chance and ask beforehand. After signing a contract it is too late to withdraw from the conditions, so better safe than sorry.
4. Different country, different law
Cross-border contracts are complex but we won’t get into detail here. Important to note is though that every country has its own law that applies to the contract and it is generally safer to only judge conditions by what is written in the contract and the general terms of service and not hope for any legal back-up by civil law. In some countries there are specific laws that cover the refund for any unfulfilled services due to force majeure but that is not the case everywhere. For additional security it is best to ask beforehand which conditions apply in case of travel restrictions or any similar situations. Many service providers even include specific Covid-19 conditions in their contracts now, but if not it is best to ask for information about that to be extra-safe.
5. Choose service providers who assist in emergencies
A sudden emergency can never be fully prevented no matter how much you prepare. Therefore, it is so important to have a service provider in charge who can assist in emergency and is able to manage such situations as good as possible. Emergencies are no fun in general but in anouther country it can become quite stressful and confusing, so to have a local contact partner who will take care of everything accordingly is an absolute blessing.
To make sure that a service provider is the right choice, check if they have information about crisis management or even a certification. If you cannot find any information about that, just ask them and you will most likely already get a good insight if they are prepared for such emergency situations or not.
And here is a bonus tip for safety in 2021: Get vaccinated and tested. It’s obvious but we just cannot stress this enough. It simply is the easiest way to protect yourself.
Plus, many of the loosened regulations in various countries – such as Germany and Austria – grant admission only to tested and vaccinated persons. In Austria, one of the countries with the highest testing rate, it even is possible to get tested for free as a tourist to ensure a safe trip.
By following these tips and making informed decisions, you are good to go to travel safely!