Safety & Security Essentials

In this unsteady world, it is surprising that so many people want to travel and expose themselves to the potential threat to their personal safety.  These threats have arisen because of the desires of certain ‘terrorist’ groups to exact a response to perceived injustices, or because of the way some governments deal with their populations to the detriment of their human rights or simply because people rise up against dictators to bring about a change of government, but with those changes, uncertainty arises. We have had experience of the effects of such events in recent years – the outbreak of civil disorder in Kenya – the Civil War in Sri Lanka – the ‘Arab Spring’ in Egypt & Tunisia.  What is interesting to note is the appetite of UK holidaymakers to visit these areas which clearly offers the prospect for local inhabitants to return to a form of normality.  We have expressed concern about many ‘Risk Destinations’ and we offer several points when considering whether to holiday in such areas or how to deal with security matters:

  1. Before you travel to any ‘Risk Destination’, ask yourself the basic questions:
    1. Is the country at peace with itself – are there any internal divisions or conflicts?
    2. Is the country at peace with its neighbours – is there any border or other conflicts?
    3. What does the Foreign & Commonwealth Office have to say about the country you intend to visit:
      1. Do they highlight political problems or protests?
      2. Do they highlight areas that you should not visit?
      3. Are those forbidden areas close to where you are staying?
      4. What kind of crime is being reported?
      5. What do other countries Foreign departments have to say about the country you intend to visit?
      6. Read local newspapers online and see what the issues are!
      7. Does the country have a good human rights record – does it raise a risk for you or does it conflict with your personal principles?
      8. What does your travel insurance have to say about you visiting these areas:
        1. Will they provide you with cover?
        2. Is the cover limited by the ‘civil strife’ exclusion clause?
        3. If in doubt, speak with your insurer – get their response in writing;
        4. In the event that you are caught up in a civil strife situation – call them and let them know what is happening.
        5. What does your tour operator have to say about your destination? If in doubt, speak with your travel provider – get their response in writing.
        6. If you still intend to travel to your chosen holiday destination, register with the Foreign & Commonwealth LOCATE service – this will help them locate you quickly in the event of an emergency;
        7. Give your family and friends a copy of the LOCATE registration details so that they can give this information to the Authorities in the event that they cannot contact you themselves;
        8. Give family and friends your itinerary, including the locations your are visiting, where you intend to stay and contact telephone numbers or e mail addresses;
        9. Never take any risks – in the event that a serious situation arises – stay off the streets – do not get into an argument with anyone – avoid all protests or conflict;
        10. Always follow the directions of the Authorities, the Foreign Office and your Tour Operator – in an emergency, do not deviate from their guidance!

We have an extensive ‘Risk Destination’ section which is full of information concerning destinations that have presented problems for holidaymakers.  Alternatively, if you have experienced such difficulties, then call us and we will guide you further!

Visiting a doctor abroad

We always hope that you have a good holiday and that you return in better health than perhaps you were in before you went! 

Be prepared!

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