Архив за » 20 April 2011«

Is your next vacation destination dangerous – 6 ways to check

Is Your Next Vacation Destination Dangerous – 6 Ways To Check

A brief glance at the international news is often enough to persuade you to stay inside and lock your doors, let alone leave the borders of your own country. Volcanoes exploding in Guatemala, earthquakes flattening Haiti, Mexican drug wars, military coups in Honduras, viruses sweeping Latin America…we’re certainly not safe anymore. Any Government Foreign Office or State Department website has a long list of countries to avoid, and even if they give the all clear, you’ll be confronted with a sobering list of potential dangers and disasters to prepare for.

Of course, if we listened to these dire warnings, we’d never go anywhere. The trick is balancing the well-meaning and slightly overbearing advice with enough common sense so that your trip doesn’t turn out badly. Here’s some tips to get a realistic appraisal of your future travel destination.

1) Speak to travel businesses that operate in your destination of choice
If travel pessimism is getting to you, speak to a professional. Travel agencies or tour operators are never going to send you into a war zone, and as long as they are offering trips in your country of choice, let them sell it to you! You’ll be showered with all the wonderful aspects of your destination, and if the business is reputable with a good selection of testimonials, you can be sure that the agents or operators will be genuinely and honestly trying to give you the trip of a lifetime.

2) Speak to someone who has recently been to the same country or area
If you don’t have a friend or member of the family who can give you an eye-witness update, get advice from the horse’s mouth online; there are a ton of travel forums and travel social networking sites out there. Thorn Tree forums, wayn.com, tripconnect.com and realtravel.com all provide hundreds and thousands of users who have recently travelled all over the world and one of them is bound to be able to fill you in about the state of the country.

3) Read any online media from your destination country
An Internet search will often reveal current affairs websites for your country of choice. Ex-pat run options will often be presented in English giving up to date information about the country or their community. Failing that, you could try using Google Translate to change the web page into English or get a friend who is confident in the language to assist you. Ensure that nothing is lost in translation!

4) Separate what could happen anywhere, and what is specific to your destination
Are there road accidents in your country? Yup. Do people get food poisoning? Yes, they do. What about getting robbed? Well…yes…

It’s easy to think that for all the dire warnings, everything bad that happens is ‘out there’. Try to remember when considering the risks of travel that many of them are relevant to your own country as well – you can’t remove risk from your life.

5) Evaluate warnings against common sense
For the risks specific to your destination country, how easily can they be avoided by simple application of common sense? Taking the advice of a locally based travel company. Not walking around alone in a bad neighborhood at night, not flashing jewellery in unknown public places, not drinking untreated water…you wouldn’t instinctively do any of these things at home, so why would it be any different abroad?

6) If anything does go wrong, have it covered
Plenty of travel insurance packages exist to cater for a wide range of different trips. There’s something out there for you, it’s just a case of searching. Knowing that lost luggage or an accident won’t cost you much money will reduce your travel concerns. The travel company you choose should have a 24 hour helpline in your native language and plenty of information before, during and after the booking process, this ensures you are always looked after and can feel reassured at all times.

Feel great about your next Latin American vacation? Book it and go! If you want to smooth the first steps of your self-planned vacation, a huge amount of pre-bookable options and reviews for accommodation, restaurants and other facilities worldwide are available on tripadvisor.com. If an agent or tour operator did a good job at step 1 and you want to take them up on their proposal – go with what feels right! Don’t be a slave to protecting yourself against everything. Enjoy your next trip!

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