Safety and hygiene are 2 things we should always be conscious of, be it for ourselves or other people.
But, especially during travel.
At no point are we more at risk, or at exposure so many variants of bacteria and unknown substances than when we travel.
So, doesn’t that make it worth your time to read through all the way to the end?
Intro – Safety and Hygiene Blatancy
It’s no secret that aircraft are notoriously dirty, but not in the areas or ways you might think – as this article illustrates.
This can make travelling a real plane in the neck.
Yet interestingly, there are some safety and hygiene that if more people implemented, not only will it better protection against viruses, it would greatly reduce the risks for everyone from the beginning.
Slightly ironic no?
In that, if enough people just applied these tips, there wouldn’t be as much emphasis or anxiety.You be surprised just how applicable these 7 travel tips are; travel tips for Europe, travel tips for Italy, even travel tips for packing more broadly.
And while, unfortunately, this is not yet the case, we can still all do our part to spread awareness and ensure we all travel more effectively, either by being safe or with better hygiene.
This post highlights the importance of self-awareness.
So, below are 5 straightforward yet surprisingly neglected safety and hygiene tips for travel.
Number 7 is especially useful!
1. Carry hand sanitiser and/or wash your hands at regular intervals
Likely the most universal, yet often overlooked tip when travelling is to continuously wash your hands. And remind others to the same.
This is applicable more than ever with the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.
We encounter a variety of different surfaces or objects during travel. Just think of how many different things you may touch during security at the airport. Or if you set off the full-body scanner, how you will be frisked by a security employee.
It quickly begins to add up.
Yet, while we may want to take everything but the kitchen sink – as the saying goes, but in this case ALSO the sink, it can be impractical, impossible to wash our hands properly.
Enter hand sanitizer.
These products can be saving graces when it comes to retaining hygiene on-the-go. But you needn’t invest in premium brands – a simple, small and portable version is useful.
But this doesn’t make it a substitute for thoroughly washing your hands – especially when your hands are visibly dirty, as there is simply too much dirt for the sanitizers to remove.
Its a staple of any travel safety tips.Equally, whats ever been wrong with traditional bar soap?
Products like Soften Skin Soap, by Just Nutritive, are perfectly easy to transport, while keeping your hands clean and your skin supple and softer.Plus its ingredients you skin to retain hydration – a common issue we experience when flying.
Be sure to wash your hands at regular intervals to be on the safe side.
If you can’t, minimise contact.And invest in something as simple as hand sanitizer or sustainable bar soap.
2. Ensure people know your whereabouts and leave emergency contacts
As with any safety and hygiene tips, ensuring enough people know where you’ll be heading.
It might seem like something that goes without saying.
But you’d be surprised.
How many times have you suddenly seen or social media, or heard from relatives about a family member or some close to you, who is in a random location?
Heck, I’ll be the first to admit that.
While at university in Europe l would take any opportunity to fly somewhere new for a long weekend. Thing was, l was intent on visiting new places and exploring…l sort of forgot to tell anyone and would only then share it with an Instagram post.
Much to my mother’s annoyance.
And my father? Well, he was less fussed – he just thought l should be studying.
Still, my point is that when travelling it’s a simple step to notify people where you will be and for how long.
Ideally, if it’s a longer trip – say 7+ days, then you should leave an itinerary outlining these details. And this shouldn’t be an issue to produce, since if you’re even a remotely organised traveller then you should have an itinerary by default.It’s pretty central among travel safety tips.
Do some role-reversal for a moment. If you knew someone who was travelling, surely you would want to have details about their plans.I’d even include as a step or as one of some travel tips on packing.
So, be sure to do the same.
3. Don’t tell everyone your whereabouts or announce your holiday
Yet, ironically, l will now contradict myself.
By saying that while you want people to know your whereabouts, you don’t want it to public information.
So, what l mean is that you need to consider how that Insta story or that Facebook and Twitter update could potentially compromise your safety.
Well, if you’re announcing to the world you are on holiday, this could encourage an opportunistic burglar to pay your-now-empty house, a visit.
Well in some cases, being too generous with your holiday posts could actually invalidate your home insurance.
Moreover, if you’re too liberal with sharing where you are, and for how long, this might even make some feel invited enough to pay you a visit.
Instagram and other apps are very public platforms, meaning that if you share a location of your picture, comment your travel plans, or emphasise you’re alone, this could put you at risk of receiving unexpected, unwanted attention.
Certainly, the probability of either these is very low. But it serves to be tactical with who you tell and how you go about it.
Be sure to tell people of your travel plans but ensure it’s those close to you. Keep it targeted.
And this is opinion – but if you’re so frequently posting about your trip wherever, then it usually means you’re not enjoying the trip for itself.
Simply, be more in the moment.
4. Scan a copy of your passport and other vital documentation.
Considering the previous points, this rather goes without saying.
But that said, I can think of plenty of times when l didn’t actually go to the effort to scan my passport and other documents, even when heading to potentially unpredictable destinations, which could have resulted in some properly unwanted unpleasantries.
Luckily, l have been, well, lucky.
In that, with both safety and travel, l have neither lost or had my possessions stolen. But that doesn’t make me immune to falling prey to a forgetful mind or a devious, unlawful thief.
Plus, it’s just a convenience thing.Consider if you’re from the US planning a trip to Europe, this step is an easy example of travel tips for Europe.
Having copies of your passport or whatever else you need, ready to hand, can be SO helpful at times when you know you’ll need them, or at times when you won’t:
- Scan copies and email them to yourself
- Take a photo of them all and save them to your phone
Easy enough right?
Well, l know plenty of people who haven’t done that and ended up in deep do-do.
(I know that sounded completely ridiculous.)It’s about travelling smarter, not harder.
Don’t risk your passport or most vital travel, health or insurance documents.
Makes copies and photo or send them to yourself.It’s about travelling smarter, not harder.
5. Wash your face and use footwear.
Another hygiene tip is to, well, wash.
But namely other body parts – so it has its own number.
Jokes aside, it’s crucial to also wash your face during travels, simply because it is exposed to various elements.
While you’re not going to be rubbing your face on surfaces (well least l hope not), relative to your hands, some bacterium is still transmitted via the air. So, you have nothing to lose by washing your face – doesn’t have to meticulously, but just enough that it’s fresh and clean.
And if you’ve flown overnight per se, it’s effective for waking you up.
After coffee, obviously.
Aside from that, you should also consider where and how you step.
What l mean by this is that if you plan on using public facilities you use flip-flops (thongs for my Aussie readers) or other footwear.
For instance, when you’re in a transit area.Or if you go to different countries, which operate differently in their culture, in their mannerisms, such as Italy. And this tip is a strong example of travel tips for Italy too.
Doing so will prevent you from encountering some truly unpleasant substances or falling susceptible to long-term stubborn viruses, such as verrucae.
Hygiene goes further than simply your hands. Taking the time to wash your face or even teeth too, will benefit you, both for sanitation but also as you feel better.
And it shouldn’t be too problematic to keep some thin, simple footwear in your hand luggage if you do plan using public facilities.
6. Keep what you most need. Pack everything else.
What l mean by this is that when travelling (fly especially), you should aim to pack everything that you don’t need into your check-in luggage.
Again, simple enough right?
Well, what if l told you the number of times l used to put essentially all my travel necessities into my hand luggage?
Doesn’t sound that big a deal, l know, but placing all your important belongings into one place can make it very problematic if that bag were then to, say, be stolen.
Its always wise to place some essential, or perhaps backup possessions into your check-in luggage.
Things like your main spending money, alternative identifications or other important possessions related to when you’re not travelling, eg house keys.
And another reason?
Practicality. By packing your essential possessions first, it allows you to better judge how much weight you will have in both your check-in and carry-on luggage.This is where the benefits of Nomatic bags come in.
Since using them, l have been able to take far more possessions, both essential and non-essential, by cleverly storing them separately.All still as carry-on luggage.
In my past experiences, there would be plenty of times where l would be flying on a budget, making weight limits a consideration.And as l student, l would have a habit of taking risks.
I would resist wanting to put some unnecessary possessions in my check-in, either out of laziness or practicality, but usually meant my carry-on was then overweight.
Yet, when l then tried to pack them into my check-in, it made that overweight too.
So, basically, l lost out either way. And then paid an overweight fee.
You will benefit from packing documents or possessions you don’t immediately need into your check-in luggage.This is one of the best travel tips on packing for sure.
One, in case your hand luggage is stolen you have backups, and two, so you get a better idea of what your ideal or acceptable weight is.And consider investing in some Nomatic luggage. They really have improved how l pack.
7. Do your Research!
Specifically, do your research on your destination, plus any transit locations or airports you might be travelling through.
You might think, to what end?
Well, again, think about it.
Would you prefer to enter or visit an area making inferences and assumptions? Or would you prefer to begin your travels with some basic understanding of where you are going, how transport works, cultural or social expectations etc?
This could be by:
- Learning some local words
- Know the local emergency contacts
- Understanding cultural norms and values (ie how to act in public)
Sure. You don’t want research so much you ruin any novelty of visiting.
I’m the first to desire the experience of surprises and adventures in new places.
But, it’s just logical to gain knowledge of practical things; things that will ensure your safety and hygiene, especially when travelling to locations where sanitation standards or criminal activity are less clear-cut compared to home.
Take the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) as an example.
Even if you are not from the UK, it is a fantastic resource for referral to understand the situation in a specific country or location before going. It can provide details on customs, social unrest, viral conditions and so on, giving you a comprehensive understanding.A comprehensive breakdown of a destination’s level of safety and hygiene then.
It’s an effective step as part of any travel safety tips.
Otherwise, you should refer to your respective country’s travel advisories:
- US State Department
- EU Commission (You can find your respective countries via there)
- Australia Travel Advisory
But in my experience, nothing replaces the accuracy of official sources.
Being informed means being prepared. And being prepared means peace of mind when travelling, for both safety and hygiene.
Just don’t do so much, you take anyway any chance for surprises and fun.
Takeaways – Safety and Hygiene Savvy
And just like that, you’re better informed on 7 straightforward yet surprisingly neglected safety and hygiene tips for travel.These can be travel tips can be for Europe, travel tips on packing or simply just travel safety tips.
They will all serve you in good stead.
Generally, it’s about taking some extra effort to read up and learn a little more.
And by being more aware.
Again, self-awareness is so powerful. Read another example of how, here.
What are your thoughts on this list? Do you agree or think missed something?
Leave me a comment.