Staying Safe While Travelling This Holiday Season

With the busiest travel days of the year upon us, Canadians head to beaches and ski slopes in huge numbers, but many are not prepared if something goes wrong.

Allianz Global Assistance, a leading provider of travel insurance and assistance services, is reminding Canadians of some simple things they can do to make their holidays safer, not just in terms of protecting themselves from illness and injury, but also from online intrusions. Allianz recommends these Top 10 things Canadians can do for added protection, whether they are hitting the beach or the slopes.

  • Know your limitations. Your swimming skills or snowboarding prowess are probably a little rusty. Go slowly.
  • If you’re skiing, pay the extra baggage charges and take your own equipment rather than relying on rentals you may not be familiar or comfortable with.
  • Take photos of your luggage and store the images on your phone in case they get lost.
  • Street food may smell great and look appetizing, and the locals flock to it, but your system may not be used it, so stick to what you know.
  • Check that your hotel safe doesn’t have a default reset code of “0000” even after you set your own code. Some safes have been known to do this.
  • Be careful with public WiFi. Free wireless access points at airports, restaurants and hotel can be highly unsecure networks and accessible to everyone. Your identity and personal information can be stolen from free Internet access points that look legitimate. Sometimes a single letter can be added to a legit WiFi network which could open your system to an attack. Be sure to confirm the name of any wireless connection before you log on. Clear your history, “forget” previously used networks, and turn off location tracking as cautionary measures.
  • Alert your bank and credit card provider of your travel plans and monitor online banking activity regularly while travelling.
  • Save your Instagram and Facebook posts for after you return home, so as not to alert people that your house is empty.
  • Always get travel medical insurance and trip cancellation insurance to help avoid unforeseen expenses that could ruin your holiday.
  • Download the TripWise app to your Apple or Android mobile device It provides useful tools that include flight status updates and local hospital searches with a GPS locator. The TripWise app also allows users to find international names for common prescription medications and store a photo of prescription labels for easy reference while travelling. The medical dictionary also translates popular first aid terms in more than 15 languages.

“With the excitement of a long-awaited vacation coming, many Canadians forget some of the basics and common sense of travelling,” says Dan Keon, senior director, Market Management, Allianz Global Assistance Canada. “Allianz wants to remind people to be diligent, plan for unforeseen circumstances and, most of all, have a safe and happy holiday season.”