Important travel tips

Traveling safely
extracted from University of Calgary International Field Schools Blue Book (2014)

  • Make sure you are familiar with the UVSS Travel plan:
  • Travel alertly. Be open to meeting new people but also be wary. Do not provide information concerning the name of hotel, number in the group, or details of itineraries. Remember you are not traveling alone but with a group and thus risks you might otherwise take must be avoided.
  • On your own time, travel in groups and / or let other people know where you are going.
  • Absolutely, do not invite locals to your room! This is a serious breach of security. Loss of possessions might occur; moreover, you might be endangering yourself and others.
  • Be sure to check your hotel room carefully to make sure the locks on the hall door, windows and balcony doors function properly. Be sure to lock your door. Again, remember you are traveling with a group. You don’t want to be responsible for other people’s lost stuff.
  • Do not leave your essentials e.g., money, credit cards, traveler's cheques, passport, and other important documents in your hotel room while you are out! Carry them with you always … concealed … unless you can secure them in a safe.
  • When we arrive at a new location, be sure to pick up a hotel card. If you become disoriented, you should have little difficulty in finding your way back, as the card will have the name, address, and phone number of the hotel. (If cards are unavailable, please write this information in your field notebook.)
  • Keep the emergency contact telephone numbers of course instructor(s).
  • Avoid displays of affluence in public.
  • Do not leave drinks unattended in bars or cafes.
  • Be aware of scams e.g., the bogus plainclothes policemen who want to see passport and currency, or bogus taxi-tours, which turn out to be outrageously expensive. Be aware of potential problems e.g., short-term kidnapping by cab drivers wanting credit card numbers, or the sudden appearance of a group of thieves when you withdraw money from an ATM.
  • When using "meterless" taxis, be sure to negotiate the fare in advance. If there is a language problem, write down the essential information e.g., the name of the hotel, street name, etc. If your cab driver wants to sell you a cab tour, or suggests a detour to have a fish dinner at a nice restaurant, do not agree to it. You'll be ripped off.