Gap Year Travel Safety News and Articles

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Central and South America

Cases of Covid-19 are now slowing down and travel is beginning to open up to Central and South America. However, some countries such as Uruguay remain closed to foreign nationals and all those open have strict entry regulations. Most land borders remains closed but flying between countries is an option and the some of fhe land borders might repoen open in ealry 2022 but this is now less likely due to the covid Omicron variant. Our general advice is to staying longer in a few selected countries. So generally flying between countries is the only option and flight can be around $250. Prices, especially around the busy tourist areas such as Cusco in Peru have risen significantly. 

All countries that are open generally require:

A negative PCR test

Proof of double vaccination

And you need to complete a Health Declaration Form.

If you are planning a trip to South or Central America, do check the weather patterns. For example, it's wet in Bolivia and Peru from January to March but cold and dry from April to July.

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Travel News

Covid - 19: Over 190m cases globally, over 5m deaths
Covid- Case numbers on rise again in Europe
Southern Africa: UK & others stop flights due to covid variant Omicron
Cambodia: Opening to tourists from 15 Nov 21
Argentina: Reopens to travel
India: Terrible smog returns to Delhi
Kenya: Continued threat of terrorism
 

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Indian Sub Continent

The Indian sub-continent is beginning to open up for travel. On 15 November 2021, tourists on commercial flights may enter India whilst Sri Lanka, Bangladesh & Pakistan are open to tourists & business travellers who meet covid entry requirements. India currently has more entry hurdles to complete, but these are likely to be relaxed over the next few months. The current level of smog is the worst experienced in Delhi for over 6 years.

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Travelling Africa

Africa is a less popular travel destination but still offers huge opportunities. Many countries in North and Central Africa should not be visited due to security issues. Travellers to West, Central and East Africa should be aware that many countries require a Yellow Fever certificate for entry. in late 2019 Heavy rainfall has claused flooding and deaths in Uganda, Kenya & Tanzania.

A new Covid-19 variant has emerged called Omicron in late Nov '21 in Southern Africa prompting the UK, Israel and many EU countries banning flights. On 25th Nov thr UK put 9 Southern African countries on the red list. 

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South East Asia

South East Asia has amongst the strictest Covid rules in the World but there are signs that some countries are opening up but the regions is currently difficult to visit.

Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar and Indonesia are closed. Cambodia and Thailand are now opening to double vaccinaed tourists. 

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Virtual Gap Year Travel Safety Courses

Virtual Gap Year Travel and Safety Course

This means that you still get the same travel safety advice virtually (via Zoom) in preparation for your gap year travel plans.
The virtual course is just £125 per person - A four hour blended learning course broken down into two 2 hour sessions within a day. Numbers will be limited to a maximum of 8 people per course. Book online

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The Middle East

The Covid -19 Coranavirus has affectecd all the Middle East although Iran is the epi centre with ten of thousand of  cases and officially 20,000 deaths but the true figure maybe nearer 40,000 deaths.  Turkey & Iraq have implimented strict border controls and many flights across the region have been cancelled. The number of cases in all Middle East countries is begining to stabilise although accuate data is scarse.  Isreal is the world leader with it's vaccination roll out and case numbers have dropped off dramatically. The UAE has also embarked on an impressive programme, whilst other countries are lagging behind. Inevitabely Iran has banned any vaccination with UK or USA association. As at the beginning of May 2021 Turkey has seen a spike in infections although the reporting of the true covid situation is assessed as having been misleading throughout the pandemic. The main air hubs of Dubai & Doha are restricting transit flights. On 4 August 2020 a huge commercial explosion in the docks area of Beirut caused very extensive damage to most of the city. Over 200 people were killed and thousands injured. Public anger against what is seen as a corrupt political elite is rising prompting political resignations. The economy was in a dire situation even before this blast.  Conflict between Israel & Hamas broke out in early May 21 and after an intensive period of conflict a ceasefire came into effect on 20 May 21. 

Countries across the Middle East (Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Israel, Jordan, Iran & Libya) face political turmoil following the revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt, and the ongoing one in Syria. Libya remains highly unstable due to inter-factional fighting & criminal activity, including kidnapping that are on the rise. The British Embassy closed in July 2014 due to security concerns and FCO is advising Against All Travel to Libya. The FCO also advises 'against all travel to Syria', unrest will continue and the country in now in a state of civil war. Lebanon remain relatively stable and Beirut is a wonderful city to visit but the general level of unrest in the regions is putting strains on the country. Resentment against Iran's involvement in the region is on the rise, in October and November 2019 violent protests have occurred across Iraq and Lebanon against Iran's axis of influence namely the Shia dominated Iraqi government and Hizbollah. This comes at a times when more mass protests have also broken out in Iran following a 50% hike in fuel prices. The killing by the USA of Iran's top General & IRGC leader Gen Soliemani in iraq on 3 Jan 20 increased tension in the region and its very likely that the Iranian regime will have to react against the USA in some form. UK citizens should keep a low profile if in Iran. Further signs of change in the region occurred towards the end of 2020 with a peace accord being signed between UAE & Isreal and reports of a high level meeting between old adversies Saudi Arabia and Isreal. 


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Covid -19 Gap Year Travel

Covid -19 - Where can I go on my Gap Year?  In the last few days across Europe the rate of Covid-19 infections have been on the rise. The long predicted second wave has arrived earlier than was hoped. Belgium Health Minister has talked of a tsunami of new cases, tighter restrictions have been imposed in France, Italy, Ireland, Wales, parts of Germany and Czech authorities are warning of complete national lockdown. Europe, perhaps prompted by the onset of Autumn, is seeing the most rise in infections rates compared to other areas across the globe.

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Travel in Vietnam

went to Vietnam for a very brief fact finding tour to gather information to help our gap year students plan their travels in this wonderful country. I have previously visited Laos, Thailand and Myanmar (Feb this year) so I was keen to see why Vietnam rated so highly. I travelled as a gap year student, staying in dormitories in hostels and getting about by bus and train. Whilst in Saigon I had a very useful meeting at the British High Commission. I say Saigon as I didn’t see a single bus or train timetable or indeed a local person refer to it as Ho Chi Minh.

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Courses and Talks for Schools

Objective Gap Safety can provide tailored made Gap Year Safety or Urban Safety Courses for schools.

The gap course is typically delivered in a half-day course and is a shortened version of our highly successful one day Gap Safety Course. It's designed to prepare 6th formers for the challenges of overseas travel and is full of life skills.

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Water – Safe abroad? Good question!

Can I drink the tap water? Or rather too many young travellers assume they can and are in for a nasty shock when they realised they actually can’t. Living in the UK, we just take this for granted and have done so for decades. Where would I feel safe drinking the tap water? Central Europe, North America, Japan and Australasia for certain and perhaps Chile and Argentina.  A Chinese audience recently said to me ‘absolutely not’ and quite definitely I would not be drinking tap water in India, Laos, Vietnam, Bolivia and Peru to name a few. 

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Japan - First visit

My first impression of Japan was bizarre to say the least. I wondered whether I had landed in a SARS or Ebola zone. I was greeted by a mask wearing immigration official who was very polite but looked completely ridiculous amongst scores of non mask-wearing human beings! It's been a delight to be here on business. Tokyo is a modern city (the US Air Force flattened most of bit in the latter months of the war) and works well. It's clean, doesn’t feel very crowded (but suspect I have got lucky) and everyone is so polite.

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Thailand - Full Moon Party

Thailand – The Full Moon Party

In order to make sure you are staying in the best hostel (this matters as it's where you will ‘pre’ and often you go to the party with people you have met in the hostel) it's best to pick a date and book the hostel about 2 to 3 months in advance as the best ones go quickly. The Full Moon happens once a month with a half moon once a month too (I didn’t go to a Half Moon but have heard good things).

Best time to go to Thailand is from about March onwards until July, as this is when most people of a similar age will be in Thailand and South East Asia. Some good hostels are Relax Corner, Slumber Party, Lazy House Shenanigans or Phagnan Arena. Most of these have a pool and they run events like beer pong in the evening that are fun and definitely worth taking part in for free drinks etc.

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Myanmar Burma

Myanmar is the most wonderful country to visit and it's a good time to go at the moment due to lack of other tourists. I had been before, in 1983, when one could only get a visa for six days and it was all rather fraught but exciting. Today Myanmar, in a semi-democratic mode, is a joy to visit and it’s relatively easy but perhaps a little more expensive than its neighbours.  The unrest in the north of Rakhine and the publicity surrounding the exodus of thousands of Rahinga Muslims has had a negative effect on the tourism trade.  Some estimates suggest that tourism may be down by up to 40%.

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Travelling East Africa Feb 2018

I have just returned from a short trip to Kenya and Tanzania. The former was returning to Nairobi and visiting the highland area around Nanyuki whilst in Tanzania it was a familiarisation trip to Zanzibar.

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Dengue Fever, Zika & Chikungunya Fever

In South America, Central America and South East Asia, Dengue Fever is a persistent threat & now Chikungunya in spreading into Central & South America too. The Zika virus is now spreading across much of South America, especailly in Brazil.

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South Island New Zealand

First visit to South Island New Zealand and some thougths on Wanaka, Queenstown, Milford Sound and Kaikoura.

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Colombia Nov 2016

In the middle of November 2016 I returned to Colombia for the first time since 1990. The country has clearly had a torrid last two decades (well really five), just mentioning it’s name prompt comments about Pablo Escobar, rebel gangs and a generally thoroughly dangerous place. Happily things are improving, Escobar met a sticky end in a roof top shoot out in 1993 and from the turn of the century President Uribe took on the rebel groups, principally the FARC and ELN

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