Don’t let your guard down this holiday season

Monday, 23 December 2019 06:21 AM

The holiday season has officially kicked off, which means many of us will be breaking our usual routine with more travel, family time, relaxation and festivities. Holidays are a perfect time to slow down, indulge, be adventurous, explore and reflect on the year that has been, but they can also be a period when we are most vulnerable to situations that put us in harm’s way if we let our guard down. At kulula, helping our fans reduce travel stress is what we do best, so we’ve handpicked some essential safety tips to protect you and your family while on holiday.

Secure your home before you travel

There are a few things as devastating as losing your valuables to a house robbery or safety hazard. Not to mention, the stress of having to deal with the aftermath of such events during a holiday - which could have costly implications. Luckily, there are simple measures one can take to reduce the risk of hazardous situations occurring while away and to ensure that your home doesn’t become an easy target.

These include:

  • Unplugging electrical appliances not in use (including the geyser), to protect them from getting damaged in the case of a storm or electrical fault.
  • Testing your alarm system before going on holiday to ensure it is in working order.
  • Closing and locking all doors and windows to prevent intruders or bad weather from wreaking havoc.
  • Drawing your curtains or blinds and locking up your valuable items to keep them away from prying eyes.
  • Letting a trustworthy friend or neighbour, check up on the house regularly and notify you of any suspicious activity.

Take out travel insurance

Travel insurance is a necessity and commonly overlooked when underestimating the likelihood of a trip going wrong. But what happens if your luggage gets lost or damaged, your money and other valuables get stolen, you experience a missed flight, a flight cancellation, delay or interruption or fall seriously ill thousands of kilometres away from home? The impact of such events can be very costly when unprepared. Although there are precautionary measures you can take to avoid a dreaded event in some cases, travel insurance gives you the ultimate peace of mind by covering you for that unavoidable worst-case scenario, which could quickly become a case of emergency.

Here are some things to consider when choosing a travel insurance package:

  • Identify potential travel risks beforehand to ensure that you choose a travel insurance policy that gives you the adequate level of cover for yourself, family members, valuables, transportation or medical expenses.
  • Consider how long you’ll be away from home when choosing between a comprehensive package, covering different aspects of a trip or a basic, low-cost package that covers specific parts of the trip such as flight, luggage cover or emergency medical expenses.
  • If you are travelling overseas, an international travel insurance package is likely to cost more than a domestic plan. These insurance packages cover the high medical expenses you can expect to pay abroad and are mandatory requirements for many visa applications. Local travellers can choose from a wide range of domestic insurance options because of the higher levels of medical and risk support available in one’s home country.
  • If you have a pre-existing medical condition (chronic illness, pregnancy) or plan to participate in high-risk activities while on holiday, ensure that you are covered for related incidents.

Empower the most vulnerable

Children, the elderly and travellers with disabilities are often the most vulnerable. It’s easy for kids to wander off impulsively if unsupervised, even for a split second. The thought of them being harmed in any given situation can fill any parent or caregiver with anxiety. And when alone, warding off danger can quickly turn into a highly traumatic experience for those with physical challenges.

The following tips can help empower the vulnerable to manage incidents when alone or separated from caregivers:

  • Conduct safety briefings at each stage of the trip. This familiarises travellers with potential risks involved in every situation and provides them with the necessary information (contact details) and tools to use in the event of an accident or emergency.
  • Practice safety scenarios and skills to help travellers learn what to do in risky situations.
  • For the little ones too young to manage a crisis on their own, ensure that emergency information is readily available by pinning it to their clothing.

Be vigilant

By being vigilant and alert at all times, travellers can preempt safety risks. Sadly, crime rates and road traffic accidents increase over the holiday period, but there are a few things you can do to avoid becoming another statistic:

  • Be aware of your surroundings. Know the potential scams that could affect you while on holiday and familiarise yourself with crime hotspots to avoid.
  • Don’t drink and drive. Alcohol can impair your judgement making you more vulnerable to safety risks.
  • If you’re travelling with a loved one, always know where they are to reach them in time of need.

The holiday season is a fun and happy time for most - stay safe to enjoy every moment of it. Happy holidays!

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