Health & Medical

Travel safety tips when taking a gap year

Reading time: 3 minutes

Did you know that a whopping 80 per cent of holidaymakers either lose, forget or have something stolen when on their travels? That’s right – a survey carried out by eShores revealed this staggering statistic, and just 40 per cent of people actually get their stuff back. Mainly, it’s the usual suspects such as sunglasses that go missing – sunglasses, cameras and other holiday essentials. A little bit of forward planning (and our travel insurance for young travellers) can help you keep safe and secure when travelling on your gap year – here’s what you need to know.

1. Phone home

Alright, alright, the last thing you want to be doing when you land in a country as exciting as Thailand or Singapore is get on the phone to your parents, but it’s good to let them know where you are, and that you have arrived safely. Don’t do it with your flashy, expensive smartphone though, as you’ll attract unwanted attention and could be liable for a mugging if you aren’t careful. Also, roaming charges abroad mean you’ll be paying through the nose if you so much as send a text home. Instead, buy a cheap phone and local pay-as-you-go SIM card. This way, it won’t matter too much if the phone you’re using is stolen, and you won’t be marked out as a rich foreigner when you whip it out.
It’s good to let your parents know where you are, and that you have arrived safely.

2. A false economy

Money makes the world go round, and this means you should treat it with extra care when abroad. No doubt you’ll have read countless boring tips about keeping your notes and coins safe when travelling, but how will that help you when faced with a real-life robber? It won’t, and all you can do to appease the light-fingered guttersnipe is to hand him your wallet or purse.

Are there any alternatives to giving away all your money and cards? There are, and one of them is deceptively simple. All you have to do is hand over a pre-prepared ‘dummy’ wallet, containing nothing more than a few coins and maybe an expired credit card.


It’s highly unlikely that the robber will check the wallet before hot-footing it out of there, and you’ll still have your real wallet safe and sound.

3. Inspect your gadgets

We know what you young folk are like. One of the first things on your packing list will be your iPad or other such tablet, and it’s easy to see why. Showing all your mates back home what an awesome time you are having via Facebook, Instagram and all the rest of them social media sites is a fun part of travelling the world, but try to resist the temptation to post until you are back home, or at least in the safety of a library or Internet cafe.

Why? Well, a bells-and-whistles tablet is a big display of wealth, especially in poorer countries such as Cambodia or Vietnam. You don’t want to be targeted as such when out travelling, so why not leave the iPad at home? Controversial, sure, but have you ever considered that you’ll see a lot more of a new country when you view it with your own eyes, rather than behind a screen?

Have you ever considered that you’ll see a lot more of a new country when you view it with your own eyes, rather than behind a screen?
It should go without saying that your expensive new Nikon camera shouldn’t be lugged over your shoulder. Of course, you’ll want to take it with you – just don’t make a point of having it on show for all and sundry! Nor should you bring your prized Rolex with you – a functional Casio will work just as well, and the damage to your bank balance will be far less if it falls to the bottom of a New Zealand lake.

4. Pocket rocket

Finally? Well, it’s an oldie, but goodie. Don’t keep anything in your back pockets – there are professional thieves that make a living from relieving you of their contents, don’t you know? Just be aware of your surroundings, be careful, but above all, don’t forget to have fun!


TID is an Australian online travel insurance company.


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