These Are The Safest Countries in The World for Travelers in 2020
The organization released its 11th annual Travel Risk Map, an interactive map which predicts the safest and most dangerous places to travel in 2020, as well as the biggest issues travelers will face. Countries were ranked in different risk categories: insignificant, low, medium, high and extreme.
The Nordic nations were grouped in 'insignificant', along with Switzerland, Greenland and Slovenia. The US, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and most of Europe were rated as having a "low" level of travel risk, in addition to Argentina, Japan, China and Namibia.
According to International SOS, criteria was based on "the current threat posed to travelers by political violence, social unrest, as well as violent and petty crime." Other factors include transportation infrastructure, industrial relations, the effectiveness of security and emergency services and susceptibility to natural disasters.
Those ranked as having a "medium" risk level include Russia, India, South Africa, Costa Rica, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Mozambique, Brazil and Indonesia.
The report considers Libya, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Afghanistan to be "extreme" risk countries due to ongoing conflicts, while Mexico has a mixed rating. The states of Chihuahua and Tamaulipas are considered "high" risk, while the rest of the country is deemed "moderate". India, Egypt and Madagascar also have mixed ratings.
If you have any health or security concerns about a country you're planning to visit, it's always best to check your government's travel advisory reports.
When is the best time to book a flight for your trip?
So often these days, travelers feel captive to the whims of the airlines. Flight prices, what’s included with your ticket, what’s considered an add-on, even whether or not you can bring a carry-on – it can be confusing and frustrating. Qtrip aims to simplify this process for travelers, and one way we can help is to be transparent and provide insights into the best time to buy an airline ticket.The Qtrip Airfare Study analyzed more than 917 million airfares across 8,000 markets to uncover insights and provide advice so that travelers can make informed choices when they plan. How far in advance should you book a flight? Based on data from the past year, Qtrip found that the average best day to buy a flight is 77 days in advance of your travel date (for domestic U.S. travel). This is an average finding, so it’s best to think of a range of dates.Qtrip classified the range of dates in which you can buy an airline ticket, called Booking Zones. There are 6 Airfare Booking Zones: First Dibs 315 to 202 days in advance (Approximately 10 to 6.5 months) If you are a traveler who appreciates having the most options, you’ll likely find the First Dibs zone ideal. The most choice in seats, specific flight times, and even classes of service occur when you buy early. If you buy in this early bird zone, you’ll spend around $50 more than if you wait to buy in the “Prime Booking Window.” It’s money well spent, if you prefer to have all the choices. Peace of Mind 201 to 128 days in advance (Approximately 6.5 to 4 months) The Peace of Mind zone is best for travelers who like to keep a balance between choice and value. It’s early enough that you’ll still have options, and it’s not quite as expensive as First Dibs (you’ll save about $30 on average compared to First Dibs). Prime Booking Window 127 to 21 days in advance (Approximately 4 months to 3 weeks) This is where you want to be if budget takes precedence in your decision-making. Year over year, this prime booking zone consistently yields the lowest prices for travelers (within 5% of the lowest ticket price). You’re likely going to trade in some of that choice we mentioned earlier, but if cost is the main consideration, there is no better zone for you. Push Your Luck 20 to 14 days in advance (Approximately 3 – 2 weeks) Here’s where things can get dicey. Inside of 3 weeks, the odds are prices will go up, and choice gets limited. This is a zone best left to gamblers, Sometimes you can find a great deal in the Push Your Luck zone, but it’s not a sure thing. Playing with Fire 13 to 7 days in advance (2 weeks to 1 week) Real risk takers dwell in the Playing with Fire zone – these are travelers who can’t help but wait until nearly the last minute to buy tickets. The truth is that playing with fire will often leave singe marks on your wallet. There’s usually much less choice and the prices are even higher. Hail Mary 6 to 0 days in advance (Less than a week) Most people find themselves in the “Hail Mary” zone out of necessity (family emergency or unexpected trip), rather than a premeditated choice. If you hope to save money OR like choice, there’s little to recommend buying here. If you have to do so, you’ll likely pay about $200 more, on average, than you would if you shopped in the Prime Booking Window. Should you find yourself here, you do have options. Qtrip offers monthly payments for travelers.
How to Decide On Accommodations as a Young Solo Traveler
Being a young solo traveler is an incredible experience, but not one that you can simply Google a how-to guide for. Deciding on accommodations as a young solo traveler can be especially tricky on your few trips. Do you choose a Couchsurfing experience for the local, authenticity factor? An Airbnb for the privacy? A hostel for the communal aspect? Read this and then decide what’s best for you and the trip you want to have! 3 Things to Think About Before you jump into anything I suggest you think about 1.) what type of trip you’re hoping to have, 2.) what type of traveler you are, and 3.) your budget. If you having almost no funds, are adventurous, and want an extremely local experience, I suggest... Couchsurfing Couchsurfing is a completely free way to travel where you stay at a local’s residence with no obligation of payment or work. Locals might host Couchsurfers because they might like to make new friends or meet people of different cultures. As a woman, I do believe there is an element of danger in staying solo at a person’s home without legal or implied protections like at more official accommodation. If you have almost no funds, are adventurous, and are looking to volunteer or work while you are abroad, I suggest... Homestay A homestay is an arrangement when visitors share a residence with a local of the city to which they are traveling. Organizations such as WWOOF, WorldPackers, WorkAway, and HelpStay help connect willing and able workers with farms, hostels, and private citizens. I’ve done a WorkAway in Italy at a doctor’s home working in her garden in exchange for a place to stay and meals. In this environment, you will be surrounded by people, other workers or the hosts, but not people you know closely. So this is a good option for both introverts and extrovert travelers! If you have a slight/moderate budget, privacy is important to you, and you want to cook for yourself, I suggest… Airbnb An Airbnb or other short-term often allow you all the luxuries of living at home—privacy, a kitchen, laundry, etc.—at a reasonable price. On the other side, there are luxury Airbnbs that can give you the feeling of a 5* resort for a much more expensive price! But staying in your own apartment might get a bit lonely if you don’t have friends in the area. Consider using travel Facebook groups as a way to meet likeminded young travelers to adventure with during your travels. If you have minimal funds and are an extrovert seeking a sense of community, I suggest... Hostel Hostels are the absolute best location if you’re an extremely budget traveler whose priority is meeting other young travel friends. By staying in a hostel you’ll never be alone (for better or worse) and will be surrounded by hustle and bustle. They make it easy to find people to do group activities with every day and explore destinations with. However, the lack of privacy might be a concern for those who are traveling with a lot of valuables, so if you’re traveling with an expensive laptop or camera be wary. If you have a moderate budget and want to worry about as little as possible in terms of cleaning or safety, I suggest... Hotel Finally, the most common option—a good old-fashioned hotel. Most often the most expensive choice for a lot of reasons. With hotels you can pay for your stay with a credit card or reward points, you have daily cleaning staff, hotel security, and a lot more perks and support than any of the other accommodation options. The point of traveling solo is to do whatever makes you happiest. We’re young and traveling the world, we’re supposed to be completely selfish! And don’t listen to anyone who tells you you “should” or “shouldn’t” do something. Do your research and do whatever fits you and your adventures best. Gabby Beckford is a Gen Z travel and lifestyle entrepreneur who runs the blog Packs Light.
What are health passports and will they help you travel again?
Some governments are mulling over the possibility of providing people with health passports to enable them to travel again. Authorities in Greece say they could open the country's borders to tourists who arrive with health passports: electronic documents that certify an individual's health status and confirm that they have tested negative for COVID-19. Travellers would present the document on their smartphones before boarding their flight or ferry and would then have their temperatures checked once they land. Popular tourist destinations such as Sardinia, Capri and Ischia in Italy, and the Balearic Islands in Spain are considering similar measures. Read more: Greece eyes opening hotels in July – here's what travellers can expect Islands such as Ischia are considering the possibility of health passports to allow visitors ©Annapurna Mellor/Lonely PlanetIt comes as governments in Germany, France and the UK continue discussions with researchers and tech firms over the possibility of developing these health or immunity passports to allow people to freely move about their countries, as they consider lockdown exit strategies. Similar to China's colour-coded QR health system which verifies whether an individual poses a contagion risk, the passports would use data from antibody tests specific to COVID-19 to discern whether people currently have the virus or not. But there are concerns about the efficiency of these documents should they be introduced. That's because the World Health Organization (WHO) has said there is currently no evidence to prove that people who develop antibodies after recovering from COVID-19 are immune to a second infection. In a report published on 24 April, the WHO noted: "At this point in the pandemic, there is not enough evidence about the effectiveness of antibody-mediated immunity to guarantee the accuracy of an 'immunity passport' or 'risk-free certificate.' People who assume that they are immune to a second infection because they have received a positive test result may ignore public health advice." For now, more research is needed before health passports are viable. But it is likely that testing could become the norm when flying. In April, Emirates became the first airline to conduct on-site rapid testing. Working with the Dubai Health Authority it tested passengers bound for Tunisia from Dubai for COVID-19 before boarding, using blood tests that rendered results within 10 minutes. The airline said there's a possibility that data from these tests could be used to inform health certificates. This article first appeared on Lonely Planet.
Tips and Tricks for Traveling With Pets
Prepare Your Pet Does your pet do well in new situations and environments? If so, great! If not, going on a year-long adventure right off the bat might not be the best idea. Starting out with a few smaller-scale trips will help minimize the stress your pet might feel on the road. Mind the Paperwork Bring your pet’s health certificate and vaccination records, since many RV parks require you to have them with you in order to enter the grounds. Make a List The essentials like food and water are a no-brainer, of course, but be sure to write down absolutely everything you need for your furry friend, including dishes, leashes, a litter box for your cat, waste bags, treats and toys, cages, a brush, and a crate, if needed. Don’t forget medications if your pet takes any. Call Ahead Get in touch with the RV parks and campgrounds you plan to stop at. Make sure they allow pets, and also ask if they have any rules or regulations regarding pets at their facility. Stay up to Date Make sure your pet's vaccinations and shots are up-to-date, with the records to prove it. This will avoid paperwork hangups, but it's also important in order to keep your animal companion safe from disease as you travel through new areas. ID Your Pet If you haven't already done so, take the time to put your cell phone number on your pet's ID tags. Protect Your Pets Bring along flea and tick spray, or make sure your pets are already treated before leaving on the RV trip.It’s easy to pick up fleas and ticks, especially in the great outdoors, so ask your vet about treatment for your particular furry family member. Be a Good Citizen Remember to pick up after your pets in all locations. This is not only polite and courteous, but it also encourages RV parks and campgrounds to keep allowing pets. Get outside! Exercise isn’t just important for humans, it’s extremely important for pets to have quality time in the great outdoors (especially during long road trips). Make potty breaks fun for everyone by taking a long walk or playing fetch with your pooch. RV Trader provided these tips.