4 precautions to take before your next trip out of Singapore
The last thing you’d want on your trip is to be unprepared for a situation when you’re in a foreign country.
With COVID-19 restrictions relaxing all around the world, taking a trip out of the country sounds like a great way to spend the year-end holidays. But are you truly ready for your trip?
What if you meet with unfortunate incidents such as political unrest or losing your passport?
Here’s how you can prepare yourself for some of these situations:
1. Check official Government channels
Before you travel anywhere, it is important to check the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ (MFA) Travel Advisories. There, you can be alerted of situations such as political unrest or natural disasters. This can help you decide places to avoid or to prepare for anything that might happen.
You should also leave your details on MFA’s travel e-registry using SingPass. Leaving your details in the registry could expedite the process of getting help to you if the need arises.
Should you encounter any trouble while overseas, you can also use MFA’s help page to look for the nearest Singapore Embassy or representation, as well as the contact details.
It might also be a good idea to look up this information beforehand in case you lose access to the Internet.
2. Purchase travel insurance
If you are worried about contingencies that may occur due to the virus, you can look for policies that cover trip cancellation due to COVID-19, or other matters related to it.
Some examples include NTUC Income’s COVID-19 Coverage Extension, FWD’s COVID-19 Cover add-on, and AIG’s Travel Guard Direct.
Other things you should look for in an insurance policy are coverage for medical treatment and evacuation, flight and trip cancellation, loss or delay of baggage, loss of passport, personal or disability coverage as well as repatriation in case of serious illness or death.
Regional insurance plans can help you save money if you are travelling to a country near Singapore. Group travel insurance, which is usually sold to a group of people who are not a family, can also be more cost-effective.
Buyers should also remember to declare pre-existing medical conditions as most travel insurance policies do not cover costs for situations that can be linked to a pre-existing condition.
NTUC Income’s Enhanced PreX plan is currently one of the few plans that covers pre-existing conditions.
3. Ensure contactability
Access to the Internet when overseas is one of the important must-haves. These days, you can find retailers selling portable wifi devices at most airports. This includes Singapore’s own Changi Recommends.
You can also apply for overseas data roaming services to remain connected without having to carry another device around.
Examples of data roaming plans include Circles.Life’s Jetpac plan and M1’s unlimited data roaming. Availability of such plans may vary depending on which country you’re travelling to.
It is also important to make sure someone knows where you are or where you’re going to be in case something happens. If possible, you should always maintain contact with someone in Singapore.
If necessary, Find my iPhone can track the location of a person’s iPhone abroad from another iPhone. Location sharing apps such as Life360 are a good alternative for Android phones.
4. Prepare important documents
In the event of an incident, a visit to the embassy can be made smoother if you have all the necessary documents and paperwork ready.
You should prepare several passport-sized photos, photocopies of your passport and identity card, and other documents such as your flight and hotel bookings.
It is also advised to check if the country you’re travelling to requires you to have a travel visa or any proof of vaccination and negative COVID-19 test results.
If you know you’re prone to misplacing things, appoint one member of the group that you trust to hold onto your documents.
Pack your passport and these documents in a waterproof, airtight bag to keep them safe. These should go into your carry-on luggage so that you can produce them to verify anything that comes up.