To celebrate the launch of his book The Travel Survival Guide, our go-to guy on all matters of travel safety, Lloyd Figgins gives us five reasons why travel safety is the new cool. Over to you Lloyd:
There was a time when people would glaze over when I told them what I did for a living. Being a Security Expert for people travelling overseas was tantamount to being the fun police. Nowadays however, I have seen a remarkable turnaround. I’ve even been asked if my work is like being James Bond. Well, it’s not quite Bond, but it can be exciting and I am responsible for keeping people safe when they travel to some of the most interesting places on the planet, which makes it very rewarding. So why is travel safety becoming so chic?
1. It’s Fun
Now, I bet you never thought you’d hear anyone call safety “fun”, but planning your next trip is all part of the adventure and finding out about the things that could cause you harm and how to avoid them is actually fascinating. It also provides you with prior knowledge, which is going to be vital when you arrive in an unfamiliar place for the first time.
2. It’s Cheap
Travel safety doesn’t need to be expensive. In fact I have found the more simple your safety devices, the more effective they are. Why spend lots of money on an expensive door jammer, when a simple wooden wedge will do the job of securing your hotel room door just as well. There are so many inexpensive tricks you can employ to keep yourself safe when travelling and I discover more each time I jet off somewhere. I never travel without duct tape and have used it to fix a radiator hose pipe on a jeep in Kenya, repair tents, boots, broken windows and even build shelters with it. There’s no need to take a big roll of it either, just wrap it round an old plastic store card and it will fit neatly into a pocket.
3. It’s Easy
You certainly don’t have to be James Bond to learn the secrets of safe travel. The simple things are often the best. Understanding your environment and being situationally aware can easily be incorporated into your daily routine and by doing so, you greatly reduce your chances of becoming a victim of crime. Looking for the absence of normal and the presence of the abnormal is what police officers and security operatives are taught. They just practice it in everything they do, but there’s no reason travellers can’t do the same. Trusting and listening to your gut instinct will also prevent you getting into danger. Now, that’s not complicated or expensive. But it is highly effective.
4. It Could Save Your Life
The reason I wrote The Travel Survival Guide was to share with travellers some of the lessons I have learnt from a lifetime of travel. I haven’t always got it right, but I am convinced that after all I have been through, (including narrowly avoiding being kidnapped in the jungles of Colombia and rowing across the Atlantic), the reason I am still here to tell the stories of my adventures is because I deployed the basic travel safety skills well when I needed to. I also want people to go out and enjoy this incredible planet, but to do so safely.
5. It’s Cool
When people return from their travels they love to tell others of their adventures and then plan their next trip. Stories about accidents, being ill, or finding out you weren’t adequately insured are not entertaining or cool. However, recounting the story of how you evaded the petty criminals because you spotted their scam, or knowing the safest place to sit on an aircraft, or which room to book in a hotel is all cool stuff, as well as being essential to your travel safety and enjoyment. It’s often the small things that can make the big difference, so being prepared is going to keep you one step ahead and safe. That’s got to be a good thing and maybe the reason travel safety is becoming so cool.
The Travel Survival Guide is available now for £7.99.