With the holiday season upon us, The Lodge at Chaa Creek is offering travellers six easy tips to ensure a safe holiday, provided by the Belizean eco-resort's Safety and Security Manager, Emil Bradley.

Mr Bradley, a former police and law enforcement professional, said that while the vast majority of vacations result in happy, positive experiences, things could occasionally go awry. By following a few tips, however, travellers can optimise their chances of having a safe, rewarding holiday.

  1. Do some research. Before leaving home, do a bit of research on the country or countries you will be visiting. Get to know the local customs and culture, as what is considered acceptable in one country may be offensive or even illegal in another. It can be a good idea to write down or memorise some useful phrases if the language is different, and get an idea of the local attitude towards things like tipping and appropriate dressing.
  2. Have copies of your important documentation. Making photocopies of your passport and driver's licence is a good idea, and keep copies with the hotel and with a family member or friend back home.
  3. Ensure that your family and friends know your travel arrangements. Just in case of an emergency or other event it can help if someone home knows of your itinerary. Remember that your mobile phone may not work in some places, so leave hotel or resort phone numbers if you have them.
  4. Carry different forms of payment (cash, credit and debit cards, travellers cheques etc.) Always carry more than one credit or debit card with you in case your primary one gets lost, stolen, demagnetized or damaged. Also, be sensitive about showing large amounts of cash in public.
  5. When you go out for the day or night, let the hotel know, and when you expect to return. This is also a good time to ask them about places you plan to visit, any security issues and other useful information. �The front desk people may have some better ideas for you! It's also a good idea to carry the phone number and address of your hotel in a place separate from your wallet or purse.
  6. Avoid flashy dressing and wearing expensive jewellery, and keep track of your personal items.� This is true anywhere, and especially when travelling in developing countries or rural areas. Leave your best stuff at home. It helps you blend in and not become a target for unscrupulous people. In Belize, for instance, informal is the norm. You'll feel more comfortable and become part of the scenery.

"There are of course other considerations, but by following these tips people can avoid the majority of the difficulties we hear about. We want people to enjoy their holidays and have a hassle-free vacation. The point is to not worry, but always be vigilant. Personal safety is a personal responsibility, but with a little attention it doesn't need to be a big deal," Mr Bradley said.

Chaa Creek blog