It is an uncertain time in the world of air travel, with a number of high-profile cases, such as the Russian plane lost over Egypt and the Air Malaysia jet shot down in Ukraine, all making the headlines in recent years. Add to this, the terrorist attacks that rocked Paris, violence on the beach in Tunisia and a lock-down that was implemented in Brussels and it begs the question, should we be travelling in 2016?
Spoiler alert: The answer to this question is yes; it’s just a matter of how we travel, ensuring we minimise the risks wherever possible and take advice from those in the know, heeding any warnings about where to go and how we conduct ourselves. Travelling does not have to be ruled out altogether, but should be undertaken in an appropriate manner.
Here is how to travel as safely as possible in 2016:
Having all the most up-to-date information at your fingertips will mean you are properly prepared to travel and able to change your plans should it prove necessary. The best way to do this is to log onto the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) website, www.dfa.ie, which is kept current with information from the government and Irish ambassadors on the ground throughout the world.
Loved ones like to hear about your travels, but their biggest priority is your safety. Be sure to let family or friends know where you are intending on going and when. If you have organised a route in advance, provide them with a copy of your itinerary and let them know if anything changes. More spontaneous travellers may only have considered their next stop, but a quick email home to say where this will be could provide vital information in the case of an emergency situation.
As well as travelling with your passport and European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) if going to the continent, be sure to bring copies of these important documents and your travel insurance. They will help you to navigate the process of replacements much quicker should they be lost or stolen. Store them in a different place to the originals.
Discovering new places is a wonderful element of travel, but they can be daunting to begin with. Ensure you are equipped to fit in from the get-go, by wearing appropriate clothing and learning some of the local language. Even just a few words will help you to communicate and feel at ease. If a particular area doesn’t feel right, leave and only use transport that feels safe.
Alternatively, or as well as the above, you can use the DFA’s registration service to let the department know where you are visiting. It will be best placed to aid in an evacuation or other necessary action in the event of an unforeseen situation.
Hopefully you will not need to use it, but knowing where the embassy is in a given city will offer reassurance should anything unexpected happen. If there is not an Irish embassy, then a European Union one should be able to help. Locate it on your map, jot down the street name or save the number in your phone.
Listen to all the advice available and make decisions about its worth. Some people may have an agenda, so bear that in mind, but gather information from various sources and choose the right options for you. Weigh up the risks versus the benefits and don’t stop travelling due to fear, as this means you would miss out on so much and allowed the alarmists to win.
Whichever option you go for, don’t forget to renew your travel insurance before you go!