GP: Safe Travels

This is a guest post written by Jesse from; accompanied by some of my own photos.

Planning a fun trip when you do not have much travel experience can be tricky, but it is especially challenging when you are going across the country or out of the country altogether for the first time in a while. You may be at a loss as to how to ensure your trip is safe or how to stay on a budget. It can be emotional trying to be away from home as well – or going back home for the first time all year! – so it is important to plan for your own comfort and security for the duration of your stay.

It is also crucial to think about how you are going to get to your destination. Road trips can be fun, but they require a lot of planning. Flying can get expensive, especially if you have a lot of bags to check, so it is important to prep well and pack creatively in order to save money. Of course, there are several safety precautions to take when you are traveling, as well, not only for you but for your belongings.

If you are interested in local adventures, you can also check out Zen’s post about exploring Beeston Castle back on my site.

Road-trips are a good way to avoid other people. Turkey, back in May 2017.
Road-trips are a good way to avoid other people. Turkey, back in May 2017.

Is your car ready to go?

If hitting the road is your plan, there is a lot to do. Road trips require a fair amount of forethought, and one of the most important things to know before you head out is whether your vehicle is cut out for a cross-country drive. Ideally, you want to have your car serviced before hitting the road. The technicians will be able to change out and top off fluids, check for any major issues and adjust your tire pressure. If your car is not up to snuff, you may need to consider borrowing or renting an alternate vehicle.

In addition to making sure your car is road-worthy, you should also take the time to review your insurance coverage. If all you have is liability, then you are not fully covered. You also want comprehensive and collision coverage. Comprehensive covers damage due to things like theft, weather, and vandalism while collision takes care of repairs resulting from an accident or rollover crash. Gap and uninsured motorist protection are also worth checking into. The point is that you need to cover your bases.

From a COVID-19 perspective, a car is also a relatively safe environment to be in. You do not have to mix with strangers, and the number of people a car can carry is limited of course.

Peak District, August 2020.
Peak District, August 2020.

Plan for your safety

Not only do you need to plan for your safety during the trip, you also need to keep it in mind for the duration. This means taking steps to keep your belongings secure and refraining from posting on your whereabouts on social media. No matter where you travel to, it is a good idea to leave the really expensive items at home. Always check in with your traveling companion if you get separated, and have someone at home that you can contact in case of an emergency. Bring a fresh facemask for every step of the trip, and a bag to keep used ones separate.

Perhaps the number one rule of travel safety is this: always have a phone with you. This way, if you find yourself in an uneasy situation, you can reach out for help right away. Make sure you have a way to keep your phone charged when you are on the go; there are affordable wireless pads that give you a way to boost your power even if you do not have an outlet to plug into. Keep in mind that if you are traveling abroad, you may need to speak with your phone service provider about getting a temporary plan that allows you to make calls and use data outside of the country.

A picnic is always a good option! Turkey, back in March 2017.
A picnic is always a good option! Turkey, back in March 2017.

Take care of yourself

It can be easy to get off your normal schedule when you are on an adventure, and with all the opportunities to eat new and exciting foods, you run the risk of overdoing it. Take care of yourself while you are away from home. You do not have to go out for every meal – but when you do, make sure the staff as well as customers are following the local COVID-19 guidelines, and do not enter a venue when it is at capacity. Stay hydrated, eat without overindulging, get enough rest, and make sure you locate an urgent care center in case of an emergency. Ask your health insurance about out-of-network benefits when you are out of your local area.

Safely exploring Beeston Castle, June 2021
Safely exploring Beeston Castle, June 2021

Research the spot you are visiting

Whether you are headed across the country or to a new country entirely, it is important to do some research on the area before you get there. Find out where the closest shops and restaurants are to where you are staying, learn about local laws and customs (for example, rules differ between England, Wales, Scotland and Northern-Ireland!), and check out the average cost for things like gas, groceries, and the activities you want to try. You should also research exchange rates, if venturing out of the EU. This will help you create a realistic budget and will save time once you get there. The more you know, the less likely you will be targeted by shop owners looking to make a quick buck off tourists.

Planning a trip that includes everything you want can take some time, so start preparing as early as possible. Take advantage of all your online resources, particularly the sites that help you book hotels and other accommodations, as these can help you save money. Lastly, keep communication open with your loved ones back home for your continued safety – and keep 2 meters distance from everyone else.

Author: Zen

Archaeologist & adventurer. Interested in vegetarian street-food, avoiding tourists and road-trips into the unknown. Originally from Holland - then Durham, Cambridge, Würzburg, Istanbul, Erbil - now London. Always learning a new language.

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