Is it Safe to Travel to Mexico?

Mexico is a country that often hits the headlines, sometimes for all the wrong reasons. The North American nation has a fascinating history, a rich culinary scene and a diverse cultural heritage. But there are occasional reports of narco lords, gang violence and border problems with the USA that often make the news.

While these are real issues that contemporary Mexico faces, this isn’t the entire picture by any means. News agencies are often quick to underline that the country must be unsafe for travel. In fact, large parts of Mexico are perfectly safe for travellers.

Mexico has a lot to offer, from beautiful beaches on the Pacific and Atlantic coasts to an intriguing past of Mayan, Aztec and Spanish history. There are ancient ruins to explore, there’s excellent food to sample, and much, much more awaiting you in Mexico.

Of course, in some areas, the security situation isn’t ideal for tourists, but many areas are hugely popular with visitors. Just make sure you take out comprehensive travel insurance and research well before you depart.

car-Mexico street

Here’s our guide to keeping safe while travelling in Mexico.

Health Concerns in Mexico

When travelling to Mexico, you will want to be aware of what vaccinations you need, and what health concerns you may face while abroad.

Mexico requires no mandatory vaccinations as such, but you will certainly want to ensure that you are up to date on basic injections and booster, for diseases such as hepatitis, polio, diphtheria, typhoid and tetanus. You can get up-to-date information on vaccinations by arranging an appointment at your local GP with the travel nurse, who will be able to advise on any boosters based on your personal vaccination history.

You may also want to consider being vaccinated for rabies, especially if you plan to visit remote areas of Mexico. The rabies vaccination gives you valuable time to get to a hospital for potentially life-saving treatment if you are bitten by an infected animal, such as a stray dog.

Malaria is present in some parts of Mexico; however, it is a very low-risk country and you only need anti-malarial medication in remote and rural areas. In the southern areas, in states such as Chiapas or Quintana Roo, malarial cases are seen, however, these are rare amongst travellers. You will, however, want to take precautions against mosquito bites regardless, and this means using mosquito repellent and covering up arms and legs when mosquitoes are most active at dusk and throughout the night. Mosquitos are also responsible for dengue fever and are carriers of the zika virus, all of which are present if rare in parts of Mexico but cannot be vaccinated against.

Many parts of Mexico, including the capital Mexico City, are found at high altitude. Mexico City is at 2,200 metres, and other destinations can be even higher. If you are arriving from sea level, then you may experience mild altitude sickness as your body adjusts to lower levels of oxygen. The only way to counter altitude sickness is to either allow time for your body to adjust or head to a lower altitude.

Many parts of Mexico also experience high temperatures, particularly during the summer. So you will want to make sure you have adequate sun cream and stay covered up where possible, especially in tourist areas on the coast such as Cancun where beach holidays are popular.

You need travel insurance for Mexico because hospitals require this in order to provide treatment. Medical standards can vary across the country and are lacking in rural areas, so ensure that your policy can provide evacuation and that it will cover you for treatment in private hospitals.

cancun-canal

Food and Water

Mexico is a destination for foodies, and the country has one of the most exciting culinary scenes in the world. This is the home of the taco, it’s the inspiration for Tex Mex, and across Mexico, each state has its own unique dishes that blend a fusion of Mayan, Aztec and Spanish styles. In big cities and on the tourist strips such as the Mayan Riviera, you can also find a range of restaurants from around the world, catering to the large number of package tourists.

Despite this glorious culinary history, travellers still need to be aware of the risks of food and water in Mexico.

For starters, the country has seen an unfortunate rise in water-borne diseases leading to traveller’s diarrhoea. Even if you are staying in 5-star resorts in Cancun, you are at risk of catching a stomach bug. While in many cases it can pass quickly as you adjust to the different bacteria, it can disrupt your holiday, particularly if you are only in the country for a short time.

For this reason, it’s important to drink only bottled mineral water or water that’s been properly filtered and treated. Avoid drinking tap water and, if you are travelling to remote locations, consider taking a purification or sterilisation system with you.

A big part of Mexican culture is street food, and some of the best places to eat truly authentic Mexican fare are small eateries and food stands. Be careful eating here, but don’t let the risks discourage you. Just watch how the food is stored and prepared, and if you aren’t happy move on to the next place.

Mexican tacos

Crime

When it comes to travel safety in Mexico, crime is always the biggest talking point. The country is associated with gang violence and narco criminals, and the government is essentially waging a war against these violent gangs across the country.

For the most part, though, these headline-grabbing violent acts aren’t ones that actually affect tourists, and the most popular resorts and tourist areas don’t see the level of violence that other parts of the country suffer from.

Travelling in Mexico is more about being aware of where you are because the gangs aren’t interested in visitors but are more interested in their own problems and law enforcement agencies. It’s good practice to check locally when you plan to travel to different destinations to find out what the situation is like. In cities, the major central areas are usually trouble-free, but there are areas you will want to avoid, especially in places like Mexico City.

Tourists can be at risk of robbery however, even in areas such as Playa del Carmen or Cancun – sometimes more so, as criminals specifically target these touristy areas. It’s best to take taxis where possible after dark and to avoid dark streets or deserted beaches.

The police won’t always be there to help you either. Given the unfortunate levels of corruption in Mexico, you can equally find yourself being forced into paying bribes for minor infractions. This is particularly true when driving rented vehicles.

Terrorism Risks

Despite its problems with gang warfare, Mexico has had very little in the way of terrorism, at least in the western sense of it.

Terrorism risks are very low across Mexico, although in the south in heavily indigenous areas such as Chiapas, you may encounter problems with bandits acting in the name of local paramilitary organisations such as the Zapatistas. They are known to hold up buses or cars and relieve those inside the vehicles of their belongings in the name of their cause, although violent incidents are rare.

Family Travel Safety (Mexico with Kids)

Mexico has a big market for family travel, but it’s mostly concentrated in certain areas of the country that have been heavily developed for tourism. The most popular destinations are in the south along the Caribbean Sea. Places like Cancun and Playa del Carmen have been developed as resort destinations. If you are travelling as a family, these are the most convenient places to visit.

These areas are very safe for family travel, even with babies and small children, and it’s easy to get around and to experience the many family attractions. If you are travelling with kids though, you will want to make sure that on the beaches and in the sea, you stick to designated areas. These areas can be home to crocodiles, so don’t stray from the marked, safe destinations. Currents can also be strong for small children and not all beaches have lifeguards, so remain vigilant.

If you travel further afield with the kids, then be careful when exploring cities, as it’s easy to get lost, particularly in large cities such as Mexico City.

Family Travel Safety (Mexico for Women)

Mexico has somewhat of an over-the-top reputation when it comes to women travelling through the country, in particular, solo female travellers. While bad things have happened in the past to women travelling in Mexico, this can be said of anywhere else in the world. In reality, women are no more likely to be targeted here than in the USA or Great Britain.

As with anywhere, women (and men!) should follow basic travel safety rules. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t go along with it; if the street looks too dark, don’t go down it. Mexicans are generally hospitable and friendly, and while western women might attract a bit more attention in more rural areas, it’s nothing malicious. Learning Spanish can be a big help to unravel uncomfortable situations and even just to get around safely.

danzon-Mexican Dancing

Tips for Staying Safe in Mexico

Buy the Right Insurance

Regardless of whether you are male or female, travelling solo or travelling as a family, purchasing the right insurance before you depart is one of the biggest aspects of staying safe on the road.

As well as providing you with much-needed peace of mind, having comprehensive travel insurance gives you the cover you need if something bad does occur.

Make sure the insurance package you buy covers you for all the activities you might want to take part in. You might need more specialist insurance if you are planning on doing lots of scuba diving, or enjoying water sports such as jet skiing. If you’re unsure how much coverage you need, it’s always better to have excess coverage, than no coverage at all.

Learn the Language

Spanish is the language of Mexico, although if you’ve been to other destinations in South or Central America or learnt your Spanish in Spain itself, you will find that Mexican-Spanish can be very different in many ways, with different slang, accents and pronunciation.

While you can get away with English in the resort destinations, if you are planning on travelling outside of these places, then knowing Spanish can be the biggest help. You don’t need to be fluent, but even knowing basic sentences and words will help you to order in restaurants and to find buses. Ultimately that basic knowledge can help to keep you safer on the road than without it.

In some rural areas, Spanish is a second language for many indigenous families, who still speak dialects of Old Mayan or other languages. In these situations, knowing some Spanish is very much a necessity to get around. In Mexico, knowing Spanish can help you to diffuse situations that might arise or misunderstandings that might occur, while it can also keep you out of trouble if you happen to get lost and you wander into the wrong part of a city.

Know the Laws and Culture

Knowing the local laws and local culture while you are in Mexico will also help to keep you safe when you are on the road. While areas like Cancun are used to tourists, other destinations might not be so used to foreign visitors, so it’s best to keep local customs in mind when travelling.

Mexico can be very conservative in many ways, particularly in more rural areas, and it’s best to dress conservatively and to act conservatively when this is the case. Many areas also have lots of indigenous traditions. While they might seem unusual, you should take care to always respect the local way of life.

day-of-the-dead

If you’re booking your holiday to Mexico, contact Navigator Travel Insurance to get a quote for your insurance.

Is It Safe to Travel to Egypt?

Egypt has been drawing in tourists for thousands of years. The beautiful landscape, collection of pyramids, and distinct culture make this one of the most well-recognized travel destinations in the world. Touring the ancient pyramids, cruising the Nile River, and staying on a resort by the Red Sea are highlights of a visit here. With such incredible sites, why wouldn’t you book your ticket to Egypt immediately? Well, after a series of unsettling political events, tourism took a major hit, with a record low number of visitors coming in 2015. However, things have really turned around over the last few years, as the country tries to clean up its act and make tourists feel safe. In fact, Egypt depends on tourism as it’s a massive part of their economy, so keeping tourists safe and happy is certainly in their best interest. If you’re considering visiting Egypt but you’re just not sure, here are a few things to consider.

 

Health Concerns

Visitors in Egypt shouldn’t have too many concerns when it comes to health. The big cities have excellent medical care while rural areas don’t have as many good options. The typical health issues that travellers experience are either extreme sunburn (which can easily be avoided by using high-SPF sunscreen) and an upset stomach from eating different foods. Make sure to pack a small first aid kit so that you can treat yourself when something arises. It’s a good idea to bring sunscreen, aloe vera gel, anti-diarrhoea medication, and other over-the-counter medications for an upset stomach.

Egypt does not require any vaccinations to enter the country. While vaccines are not compulsory, you may still want to get them. The general vaccinations you may get in your country are typically sufficient. However, it is recommended that travellers vaccinate themselves for Hepatitis A and Typhoid, which can be contracted from food and water. You should be easily able to get these vaccines at travel clinics in your own country. They are good for a few years before you need to get them again. If you are travelling to Egypt from a country that has Yellow Fever, you’ll need to prove that you’ve been vaccinated for it before entering. Also, keep in mind that mosquitos in Egypt can spread disease. While you won’t have to worry about malaria, there are some other mosquito-related illnesses that can occur which don’t currently have vaccinations.

abu-simbel

Food and Water

Try to avoid tap water when visiting Egypt. It’s said to be very chlorinated which could also upset your stomach since you’re not used to it. Sticking to bottled water is recommended as is avoiding drinks with ice when possible. The food in Egypt is safe to eat as well. You may hear warnings to stay away from fruits and vegetables, but it’s only a problem if they were not washed correctly. Most of the main restaurants, hotels, and chains will have food that is completely safe. Eating in smaller establishments with the locals isn’t off the itinerary though. If you see lots of locals eating in the same place chances are the food is completely fine. Keep in mind that travellers can get an upset stomach in any country they visit. It’s not that something is wrong with the food and water but simply that your body might not be used to it. Always pay attention to the cleanliness of where you’re eating and make sure to wash your hands and keep a first aid kit with stomach medications nearby.

Crime

Egypt has a high poverty level so petty theft is definitely something to be aware of. Make sure to keep track of your belongings, especially in crowded areas like markets, train stations, and crowded tourist attractions. It’s always advised to wear a money belt (a thin fanny pack that you wear under your clothes) to keep your money. There are plenty of things on the market, like scarves with secret pockets, and backpacks that keep your money hidden and safe. Don’t be flashy with your money, phone, or camera either. It’s best to keep them hidden away so you don’t become a target for thieves. Always leave your passport in the hotel safe and carry small bills with you while you’re travelling around. A good rule of thumb is to keep some of your money and one of your credit cards back in the hotel. Keeping your money and cards separate from each other will ensure that you have a backup plan if one of your bags or wallet gets stolen. While violent crimes in Cairo are rare, it’s always a good idea to stick with a group and to avoid walking alone at night.

You’ll especially want to educate yourself on the scams in Egypt. Many petty thefts target tourists and trick them out of their money in a whole variety of ways. If you are privy to the scams, you can avoid them easily.

Here are some scams to watch out for:

  • Unofficial guides who come ask you for your tickets to the pyramids, take them and then start showing you around. They’ll eventually ask for money.
  • You’ll be offered camel and horse-rides with the promise that you can get into the attractions faster for free. They eventually ask for money.
  • Your driver will offer to bring you to a papyrus factory to see how it’s made. You’ll be offered tea and then they’ll write your name on the paper, acting like it’s free but then demanding you pay.
  • Camel handlers will pester you to take a photo with their camel. Once they have your camera and snap a shot, they’ll demand money and won’t give you the camera back until you pay.
  • A stranger will help you get through some kind of difficult situation. He’ll then take you to a shop where you will be pressured to buy things you don’t want for inflated prices.
  • A stranger will ask you to help them write a postcard in English. They’ll bring you back to their shop and pressure you to buy things.
  • Taxis will refuse to use a meter, use a rigged meter that charges you more than it should, or take an extremely long route to get more money out of you.
  • Someone will tell you that wherever you’re going is closed and they’ll try to take you somewhere else, like a souvenir shop, where they’ll get a commission.
  • Someone may ride by on a motorbike and snatch your bag. This can also happen if you leave your bag on a chair at a restaurant.
  • You may be charged the ‘airport toll’ which is not real and that you shouldn’t have to pay.
  • People on public beaches may come up to you and tell you that the beach is actually private and that you’ll need to pay a fee.
  • A tout comes up and gives you a scarf for free, while also offering to show you how to put it on the Egyptian way. They’ll then demand money for this ‘service.’
  • A local will approach you and invite you for tea or hang out. Then a fake policeman will stop you both, accuse of you doing something illegal, beat up the local, and then search your bags, stealing everything they can find.
  • Touts will jump into your taxi when it’s stopped and try to convince you to go to their shop. Sometimes the taxi driver will take you to their shop even if you don’t want to go.
  • If you’re on a boat tour, the operators may insist that you get a professional photo taken. They tell you that these photos need time to develop and that they’ll be sent to your home country, but they’ll never arrive.
  • Scammers will pose as guards at famous tourist attractions and tell you that you can take photos even when you can’t. Once you take a photo, your camera will be confiscated and you’ll need to bribe them to get it back.

Egyptian man with goat

Civil Unrest/Terrorism

Most recently, this country experienced civil unrest starting in 2011 when labour strikes and violent protests broke out to overthrow the president. Once that was accomplished, the military took over the country followed by Mohammed Morsi, a Muslim Brotherhood member. In 2012 there were clashes between the military and the Muslim Brotherhood which caused an outbreak of violence in major cities. The army then stepped in, got rid of the president, and put in a temporary leader until Abdel Fattah el-Sisi was elected in 2014. As of now, Egypt is considered on the same level of safety as visiting Italy, France, England, and Spain. There have been terrorist attacks popping up in all of these countries over the years, but in reality, anything can happen anywhere. Just pay attention to travel warnings as you plan your trip as things can always change.

There are currently travel warnings put out by the U.K and U.S governments that say to avoid the Sinai Peninsula. Both also warn to stay away from the Western Desert if it’s not necessary. There are currently no travel warnings for Cairo or the Nile River Delta.

Safe for Kids

Egypt has been said to be a great place for families and safe for kids. You may experience the locals touching the kids (in a playful) way, which is just part of the culture. Don’t be afraid to ask them to stop if it’s making you or the kids uncomfortable. The locals will almost always be happy to see your kids, whether it’s the restaurant servers or the taxi drivers. Teenagers should keep in mind that in Egyptian culture, they keep the sexes mostly separated. Make sure your teen acts appropriately when interacting with the locals. Always make sure to keep the kids close as the tourist attractions can get extremely crowded.

Safe for Women

It’s rare for there to be violent crimes against women in Egypt. However, unwanted attention is another story. Keep in mind that Egypt is a Muslim country so it’s a good idea to dress conservatively. Otherwise, expect lots of stares, remarks, and possibly catcalls. Make an effort to cover your legs above the knee, shoulders, and breasts. It can get very hot in this country so that may not be completely feasible but making an effort is considered polite. Try to sit next to women when on public transportation, avoid walking alone at night, and opt for a well-known reputable hotel.

pyramid-woman OP

Tips to Stay Safe

 Staying safe in Egypt is easy if you follow some of these safety tips.

  • Carry a scarf (especially women) so that you can easily cover up your shoulders, chest, or legs if you’re entering a mosque or other religious sites.
  • Women should not sit in the front seat with the taxi driver.
  • Women should use the female-only carts when on the metro.
  • Get travel insurance before your trip as medical services can be expensive if you do get sick while visiting.
  • Stay far away from any areas that have a travel warning in effect.
  • Stick with a group of people or a travel buddy, especially at night.
  • Don’t flash around your money or expensive belongings.
  • Be respectful to the locals.
  • Don’t fall for the scams as they could lead to arguments.
  • Keep your passport and credit cards locked in a safe in your room.
  • Choose reputable hotel rooms so that you have a safe place to stay and resources that can help you if you need it.
  • Avoid drinking tap water and eating anywhere that doesn’t appear to be sanitary.
  • Keep your kids close in tourist hot spots.
  • Watch your bags and pockets when in crowded tourist destinations.

Visiting Egypt is a bucket list experience. Between the Nile River, desert experiences, and the pyramids, there is a lot to see and do. While this country hasn’t always been the most stable, it has certainly redeemed itself over the years. And, while there are travel warnings for some areas of Egypt, the main tourist sites are deemed safe and ready for visitors.

Is It Safe to Travel to Bali?

The beautiful island of Bali is one of the safest and most peaceful places on the planet. Known for its verdant scenery, palm-fringed beaches, tourist-friendly resorts, and tranquil yoga retreats, Bali is a favourite travel destination for so many. While Indonesia is predominantly Muslim, Bali’s population is mostly Hindu. Culturally, this island feels worlds away from the rest of the nation, and the Balinese are said to be a much more open, liberal and relaxed kind of people. They’re extremely friendly to foreigners, and you’ll be made to feel welcome wherever you go.

This isn’t to say that Bali doesn’t have its risks, so buying insurance before you go is essential. As a volcanic land set on convergent boundaries of tectonic plates, the island has had its fair share of natural disasters over the years. But the threat of volcanoes, tsunamis and earthquakes hasn’t been enough to halt the influx of tourists. On the whole, Bali is a very safe place to travel to. As long as you take the necessary precautions as you would in any South East Asian country, you should have no problem during your stay.

Here are some of our top safety tips to help you get by when travelling to Bali.

rice fields bali

Health Concerns in Bali

Before travelling to Bali, it’s vital that you get your vaccines. Check with your local clinic or the NHS Fit For Travel website in advance, as many jabs or medications need to be administered before you travel.

Vaccinations:

Boosters that are advised by the NHS include Diphtheria, Hepatitis A, Poliomyelitis, and Tetanus. Other vaccines to consider are Hepatitis B, Rabies, and Typhoid. It’s important to note that while some vaccinations are free from the NHS, others you will need to pay for. So be sure to factor in these costs before you plan your trip.

You should also talk to a health professional about measures to prevent the spread of these diseases, especially if you have a long trip duration, will be living in close proximity to others, or are volunteering in local communities. For instance, Diphtheria is spread from person to person through respiratory droplets and risk is higher in poor, overcrowded living conditions. Hepatitis A is spread through contaminated food and water, so personal hygiene and sanitation are essential.

Rabies is spread through the saliva of an infected animal. This usually happens with a bite or scratch or from the animal licking broken skin. This is common in dogs, cats and bats, and potentially even monkeys (although there are no documented incidents). So it’s important for travellers to be careful when around domestic or stray animals, or if they are visiting areas where wild animals roam such as the Monkey Forest in Ubud.

Common illnesses:

Dengue fever is common in Bali, and is widespread throughout the tropics and subtropics. It’s so common in fact that there are 100 million clinical cases every year. Although it can make you feel extremely ill if you contract it, the most severe cases usually only affect young children who live in these areas. Symptoms can include the onset of fever, headaches, muscle pains, or a rash. The flu symptoms will subside in a few days, and complications are rare. The fever is caused by a virus spread from the bite of an infected mosquito. If you are prone to getting bitten, it’s important to travel with insect repellent.

Be aware that the Zika virus is also in Bali. If you are pregnant or trying to conceive, you should think very carefully before booking your trip, as the virus is known to cause birth defects.

Getting medical care:

Getting Asia travel insurance with 24 hour medical assistance is a must for anyone travelling to Indonesia or Bali. You never know when you might need to see a doctor or get emergency treatment. The good news is that Bali’s healthcare infrastructure is excellent, with world-class hospitals and doctors, air ambulances and emergency services, plus multilingual staff on hand in most clinics.

Food and Water

Like with any destination in South East Asia, extra caution should be taken when consuming food and drink. Although most warungs, food stalls and restaurants are clean, it’s important to remember that food hygiene standards may be different from what you’re used to at home. Enjoying street food is all a part of the Balinese experience, so don’t be put off when you see a humble vendor on the roadside. The best way to avoid getting an upset stomach is to take notice of where the locals eat. If a street seller is popular with the local crowd, it’s testament to their great cooking skills!

Drinking tap water is not advised in Bali, so it’s important to plan for your hydration needs at the start of each day. Bottled water is popular with tourists, and many find that it’s a good idea to stock up at their hotel or apartment. If you want to reduce plastic waste, use a filtering system or a water steriliser instead. This can also work out cheaper as you will be able to filter tap water instead of having to buy bottled water.

When it comes to brushing your teeth, bottled or filtered water is also advisable.

bali beaches

Crime

Street crime can be a problem in some parts of Bali, with the most dangerous area being Denpasar. Bag-snatching and theft have been reported in busy tourist zones such as Ubud and Kuta, so be extra vigilant if you are walking through a crowded area.

The most common types of theft involve men on motorbikes targeting pedestrians or tourists on other motorbikes. Make sure your bag is secure and your valuables are kept out of sight at all times. Phone-snatching happens in some areas too, so try not to walk around with your phone in your hand. Keep it secured and hidden in your bag or pocket, and if you need to use it, be aware of your surroundings.

Terrorist Threats

According to the Gov.uk website for foreign travel safety, terrorists are likely to carry out attacks across Indonesia, including the island of Bali. Attacks that have happened before include suicide bombings and small-arms fire in public places. While the threat remains high, the Indonesian authorities are working hard to improve public safety.

The most recent attacks took place in Surabaya in East Java on 13th and 14th May 2018, at the Kampung Melayu bus station in East Jakarta on 24th May 2017, and in central Jakarta on 14th January 2016. The last terrorist activity in Bali, however, was in 2005 and 2002, but both involved suicide bombs and coordinated bomb attacks.

Travellers should be vigilant at all times, and be extra careful around Christmas and New Year, Chinese New Year, Balinese New Year, Ramadan, and other holidays or events. There is also a risk of kidnapping at sea, particularly around the Sulu and Celebes seas.

Bali Safety For Families

It’s a destination that has something for all ages, and kids are always made to feel welcome. For the most part, Bali is a wonderful place to holiday with your little ones, and extremely safe. And some of the big hotels will have facilities such as children’s pools, childcare services and family-friendly restaurants on site.

One of the biggest safety threats in Bali is traffic on the road, so be sure to hold your child’s hand when walking near or across a road. It’s also important to choose safe modes of transport. Taxis are the easiest way of getting around – make sure your whole family wears their seatbelt though as road safety can be a little slack.

Tourist buses are a cheap alternative to taxis, and they have air conditioning so family travel will be comfortable. But be aware that some bus stops are located very far from the centre or attraction, which makes getting to more remote areas difficult or even dangerous. You may need to walk long distances to get to where you’re going. This is not recommended if you’re travelling around at night and have kids in tow.

bali

Female Safety

This beautiful Indonesian island is one of the most popular destinations for solo female travellers, and many consider it to be a friendly and welcoming place. It’s one of the best destinations for backpacking and for meeting other travellers, so you won’t have to feel lonely on your trip. Making friends is easy, but it’s also just as fun to explore Bali on your own.

By taking a few precautions, you can make your travels as a safe as can be. Select your accommodation wisely so you always have somewhere secure to go back to at night. By reading reviews from other female travellers, you will get a better understanding of whether the accommodation is right for you.

When out and about, try to be respectful of religious customs and traditions. The main religion is Hindu, but Bali is multi-religious, with Muslim, Buddhist and Christian minorities too. In the main tourist areas, you won’t have to worry too much about what you’re wearing. Shorts and t-shirts and bikinis on the beach are just fine. But if you’re in a rural village or exploring temples, please try to dress appropriately and cover shoulders, arms and legs. Not only is this a sign of respect, but it will prevent unwanted attention.

Staying in a group when out at night is better for safety reasons, and you should avoid walking anywhere on your own when it is dark. As a solo female traveller you will be a prime target for bag-snatchers, so try to choose secure bags like a backpack with anti-theft features or a cross-body bag.

Tips for Staying Safe in Bali

If Bali is on your bucket list, make sure you follow these important health and safety tips:

Check your insurance policy

Never leave home without adequate travel insurance. Whether your trip is short or long, be sure to have at least 24 hour medical assistance and enough cover for any sports and activities. It could also be cheaper to get couples insurance or family insurance, but if anyone has pre-existing medical conditions they may need additional medical cover.

Plan vaccinations in advance

Don’t leave vaccinations until the last minute. Some boosters need to be done 4-6 weeks in advance in order to give you the right level of protection when you’re away. Malaria tablets are not necessary for Bali, but some clinics may recommend that you still take them as there is a low Malaria risk. Be sure to check when the course of medication should begin/end to coincide with your travel dates.

Protect yourself from the sun

The heat in Bali can be extremely intense, particularly during the wet season when humidity is at its highest. Staying hydrated is important, and taking regular breaks when hiking or walking around outdoors is essential too. Sitting in the shade can help to keep you cool when it’s hot and help to prevent sun stroke. It’s also important to wear sun cream and reapply throughout the day to avoid burning.

Avoid locally distilled alcohol

A popular rice spirit called Arak can be found everywhere on the island. It can be purchased from shops, street sellers or airports. But badly made Arak can be deadly, and a few tourists have been killed. The worst incident was in 2009, when 25 people all died from one single bad batch.

Don’t get a holiday tattoo

Despite the popularity of holiday tattoos, this isn’t a very good idea in Bali. This is due to the health and hygiene standards not being quite as stringent as the UK. There has been at least one known incident of HIV being transmitted from dirty tattoo needles in Bali, so it’s probably best to wait until you’re home in a tattoo parlour that you trust.

Keep your distance from monkeys

It’s not just the Monkey Forest in Ubud where you’ll see these cute little creatures. The Macaque species overrun some areas of the island, and they’re not afraid of humans. They’ve been known to steal food, steal purses and handbags, or even attack people. If a monkey tries to grab something from you, try not to resist as this can end up in them biting you. Also, avoid smiling directly at the monkeys, as showing teeth can often be seen as a sign of aggression.