Safety DO and DON’TS while travelling overseas

by Narelle Webber on Sunday, 10 March 2013

Take initiative: use common sense and apply these safety tips to enhance your chances of having a problem-free experience (c) ISV

When packing for your ISV program overseas don’t forget to pack your common sense! Most of these safety do and don’ts below are based on common sense principles, plus a few tips learned by seasoned travelers along the way. Being safe takes a concerted effort such as being aware of your surroundings and making responsible decisions. Even in “safe” countries or places there are risks or threats that you can actively protect yourself against.  Remember that when traveling overseas you are far from home and it is foolish to assume that you can conduct yourself overseas in the same way that you might at home.

Your safety is ISV’s top priority during the ISV Program. Here is an ISV list of do and don’ts for you to apply as you participate on ISV’s program.

DO know your personal space. As a rule of thumb, reach your hand out in front of you – this distance is your personal space.

DO listen to and abide by the safety instructions given by your ISV Leaders, Project Hosts and Activity Operators.

DO use your common sense! ISV Staff are unable to be with you at all times. ISV participants are 18 years and older and will be treated as adults and expected to apply common sense at all times.

DO use any safety equipment that is available to you and as applicable, such as helmets, safety-belts, life-jackets, footwear, gloves, etc.

DO share any personal medical information with ISV Staff.

DO keep important documents such as your passport, ID, some emergency cash, credit cards, insurance policy, copy of your airline ticket, etc., separate from the bulk of your luggage on travel days so that they are secure and within your reach at all times.

DO wear a money belt

DO wear a money belt/pouch; many travelers wear them. They can also be worn under layers of clothes, making them almost theft-proof. Cargo pockets with buttons or zippers serve the same purpose (make sure the pockets are on the side of your leg).

DO label all your belongings with your name and contact details.

DO wash and dry your hands thoroughly before every meal. Practicing good hygiene is an important part of preventing gastrointestinal infections.

DO carry your ISV Participant Travel Manual with you at all times, as this has important contact numbers and address details, particularly for your Adventure Tour.

DO try to memorize and/or photocopy as many important numbers as possible in case anything is lost or stolen, (i.e., passport, ID, driver’s license, insurance policy, airline ticket, and credit/debit/travel cards). Leave a copy of these numbers with someone at home.

DO inquire about any unsafe areas from tourist information centers in your area, your accommodations, or your Volunteer Project Leaders and Tour Leaders.

DO remember to look BOTH ways when crossing the street. Traffic may be coming from a different direction than you are used to, so be extra careful!

Record these Do’s and Don’ts and study them so you can give yourself every opportunity to have a safe trip.

DON’T carry large amounts of money on you at any time.

DON’T keep your cash/wallet in your back pocket.

DON’T take your money out and count it on the street.

DON’T ever drive or ride on the back of motorbikes. This is the number one cause of fatalities for tourists traveling in many foreign countries.

DON’T leave your money dangling in a bag that can easily be grabbed off your shoulder.

DON’T walk on small, unlit or unsafe looking and unfamiliar streets at night, especially alone (always travel in pairs and groups of three are better).

DON’T hitchhike. Ever!!

DON’T lose sight of your bags or valuables, particularly in airports, bus/train terminals, restaurants/bars/cafes and any other area frequented by lots of people.

DON’T accept drinks from strangers, nor lose sight of your drink at any time.

DON’T consume alcohol prior to participating on any ISV activity (or for any activity for that matter). This is a danger to yourself and others, and you will not be permitted to join the activity for safety reasons.

DON’T lose your passport or wallet. Clearly you won’t aim to do this, but to ensure it, always know where they are and keep them locked safe in your room when possible. Consider carrying copies of your passport and important documents on you when venturing into the city.

DON’T share water bottles or other drinks; chances are you’ll share stomach bugs and other illnesses too.

Lastly, you might want to print this document or email it to yourself so that you can be reminded of the tips that best apply to your current circumstances.

Wishing you a safe journey; the best experience travel experience of your life will also be a safe one.


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