The year-end holiday season will be upon us in a couple of months. Most of the parents, myself included, would have holiday plans already set in place 6 months ago or sometimes even a year ago. Flight tickets, hotels, attraction tickets, all the must-do, must-see things that require some form of reservation would be booked early to enjoy early bird discounts.
This holiday season however, do travel with a little more preparation than the norm and keep your level of guardedness up. The world today has seemingly become a more volatile place in the recent years and I am not referring to the pick pocketing or tourist scams. The last thing we want on our holidays is to be caught in a mass violence situation. Here are some of the steps I would recommend doing before you travel this holiday season.
Register your travel plans with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and check travel advisories
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has an e-service which allows Singapore Citizens to register their travel plans (1). This is a voluntary and free service which provides the MFA with your contact information and travel plans so that they are able to contact or assist you should an emergency (natural disasters or civil unrest, etc) occur. Upon registering, you will also receive a notification about the location of the Singapore Embassy in your destination. Also check on the travel advisories posted on the MFA website. These advisories will provide information for you to make a decision whether you should proceed with your travels or not.
Follow up on news and happenings of your destination prior to your travel
Read up on the news of your destination to find out what might be happening at the same time in your destination as your holiday. Events happening at the same time might be trigger points for mass violence and you might want to either avoid it or take extra precautions such as pre planning meeting places, and courses of action if your travel party is split up.
Prepare an extra credit card and some cash
The extra credit card and cash is not for the situations where you need more shopping money! This extra credit card should be from another bank which you would have a clear credit line. This extra card and cash is for emergencies where you may need to change travel plans midway through your holiday due to unforeseen circumstances such as airport shutdowns/mass violence and you need to leave the country as soon as possible for safety reasons. Embassies will generally assist citizens aboard in situations like this but I would treat that as a last resort.
Just like we choose the correct clothing for our travels, let’s also prepare for our travel in a broader sense and take the necessary precautions. The world is always changing, world events are happening at an even faster place. What we want is to enjoy our holidays, not be caught in an unpleasant situation. Stay safe and have fun during the holidays.
Ethan Foo, Manager