By Lisa Penza
Every four years the world unites for a single event and travelers from all reaches of the globe converge on the city hosting the Olympic Games. London won the draw to host this year’s event and can expect to see upwards of 11 million visitors to its city.
“While cities that host the Games spend many man hours and dollars to prepare for the huge influx of visitors from around the world, the truth is, there are always unexpected moments at an event as large and significant as the Olympics,” Saul Shanagher, Regional Travel Security Training Manager International SOS tells us. “Travelers to the Games should expect special restrictions put in place for public safety.”
International SOS is a company specializing in assisting travelers abroad in distress – everything from medical or security emergencies to lost items. Mr. Shanagher was kind enough to pass on these important tips for visitors to the games this summer:
• Entering an Olympic venue will be similar to boarding a flight. You are allowed one soft-sided bag that can fit under your seat or on your lap at most locations, and any liquids must be in containers no greater than 100 ml., which is approximately 3.4 fl. oz.
• Navigating the city by car will likely be difficult during peak times of activity, but fortunately spectators with a ticket to a London 2012 sports event or ceremony will receive a free Games Travelcard valid on public transportation on the day of the event.
• Anticipate long lines, heat and downtime throughout their daily travel and have with them any medication needed, healthy snacks, sunscreen and a hat, maps, Games information, tickets and travel passes.
• Travelers who require regular medication procure enough supply for the days they anticipate being on the road plus an extra amount that can be used in the case of a major travel delay (remember the Ash Cloud!).
• Keep your credit cards, cash, and passport concealed in an inside clothing pocket, and copies of your records in a safe place in a hotel room or with family. Limit the risk of walking into the trap of a scam artist by leaving valuables at home and remaining intact with your traveling companions.
“Travelers should note that in an unfamiliar, international location, seeking medical care make take longer than it typically would in one’s home country,” he continues. “Therefore, it’s recommended that if you feel ill or become injured, that you pursue treatment immediately rather than putting it off. What might be seen as a minor annoyance, such as an infected cut or mild dehydration, could quickly escalate.”
Mr. Shanagher recommends picking up medical evacuation coverage: “While getting coverage, be sure to find a company that gives you 24/7 access to a doctor, security expert or logistical specialist before or during your travels and also offers information online and sends travel alerts.”
Of course, just as traveling abroad on any given trip, normal take all your average precautions. “Travelers should scan copies of their emergency contact list and other critical documents including passports, driver’s licenses and credit cards and email them to a personal account that can be accessed from the internet in case of theft or loss. Also, it’s wise to visit the U.S. State Department’s website (www.state.gov) before departure to review travel information, warnings and other information related to the United Kingdom.”
Being extra vigilant in these large events is key to having the most fabulous time. Don’t let your trip be spoiled by something that can be easily prevented through simply taking the right precautions.
Above all, have a fun while your there and go Team USA!
For more information about International SOS, check http://www.internationalsos.com