New Zealand Police investigating the homicide of British backpacker Grace Millane say {that a} physique has been discovered and the seek for the younger traveller from Essex is now at an finish. A 26-year-old man at present being held by police has been charged with killing Grace.

As her household and buddies grieve for her loss, the tragedy raises questions in regards to the security of travellers overseas – specifically younger individuals on hole years.

Simon Calder, journey correspondent of The Unbiased, assesses dangers for travellers and recommends methods to minimise hazard.

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How frequent are instances like this?

This terrible case is the most recent tragedy involving a British traveller overseas. But statistically the possibilities of coming to hurt have by no means been decrease. Sadly in a mean 12 months round 600 British travellers lose their lives overseas, however by far the main causes are automobile crashes and accidents in water.

New Zealand Detective Inspector Scott Beard offers replace on the invention of the physique of backpacker Grace Millane

Tragedies which seem to contain the deliberate killing of a traveller by a stranger are very uncommon – most often of murder, the perpetrator is somebody recognized to the sufferer. However the charity, the Lucie Blackman Belief, which helps take care of the households of British travellers who’re lacking overseas, remains to be on the lookout for at the least seven individuals who disappeared final 12 months and 10 who went lacking in 2016.

Are individuals travelling on their very own significantly in danger?

There may be actually security in numbers – however that doesn’t imply that travelling solo is a foul thought. On the backpacker circuit, it’s simple to crew up with different travellers at hostels.

When making journeys alone, expertise makes it simple to speak particulars of when and the place somebody is travelling – in the event that they don’t present up as anticipated, then the authorities have a place to begin for his or her search. However in nearly all instances, there’s a superb purpose why somebody is out of contact, starting from their cellphone battery operating out to a spur-of-the-moment change of plan or plain forgetfulness.

Grace Millane: Man to be charged with backpacker’s homicide

The Lucie Blackman Belief says “Many instances get solved inside a couple of days.” The charity recommends that travellers preserve a log of their journey together with particulars of anybody they’ve met and their contact particulars, and e-mail it to family and friends each week – together with plans for the week forward.

In some nations, for instance New Zealand, a messaging service helps preserve guests secure. If you textual content your location and journey actions to 7233 (which is SAFE on dialpads with letters), the main points are saved on a central database and launched to police if mandatory.

How harmful is New Zealand?

The roads are twice as deadly as within the UK, and as New Zealand is an journey vacation spot, the casualty charge is elevated accordingly. However as the federal government says: “New Zealand is usually a really secure place to journey with a comparatively low crime charge, few endemic ailments and a terrific health-care system.”

To reinforce security, Tourism NZ makes two particular suggestions: “Journey with somebody and belief every time attainable.

“We advocate you don’t settle for rides from strangers and don’t hitchhike.”

Grace was in a giant metropolis when she went lacking. What further care is required in such locations?

Huge cities might be bewildering and they’re additionally locations the place some wrongdoers search out susceptible travellers. So time your flight to reach in daylight: it can provide help to get your bearings and improve security. Even when you prefer to make issues up as you go alongside, it’s value reserving your first night time’s keep and telling household and buddies the place you may be.

To cut back the danger of being a goal, costume conservatively and keep away from the looks of affluence; don’t put on expensive-looking jewelry or a flashy watch, and preserve your cellphone out of sight.

Standing on a avenue nook peering at your cellphone attempting to work out the place you’re and the place that you must go suggests helplessness, so work out your strikes earlier than you set off.

Don’t put on headphones and disappear into your individual little world of music; be open to the sounds of your vacation spot and alert to any potential risks. 

For getting round use public transport – although be cautious late at night time – or a traceable ride-sharing agency, or a good taxi firm really helpful by your hostel or lodge. And preserve a psychological notice of “secure havens,” resembling police stations, inns, and hospitals.

Test the International Workplace journey recommendation to see if there are any particular dangers; for instance, in Cambodia it warns of “incidents of feminine travellers, together with British nationals, being sexually assaulted in Siem Reap and Sihanoukville”.

There was hypothesis {that a} relationship app could have been concerned in Grace’s disappearance. What perils does on-line contact convey?

Don’t meet strangers at unknown or distant places – meet and keep in a public place with loads of individuals round, and by no means at your lodge or hostel. Don’t focus on journey plans or different private issues with a stranger.

Alcohol or different medication can scale back your consciousness – and your means to take care of hazard – so go simple, and when you really feel lightheaded there’s an opportunity {that a} drink has been spiked, so alert somebody directly.

In case your date pressures you to maneuver to a unique, less-public location, depart directly, and guarantee that you’re independently in command of your individual transport in case that you must depart swiftly.

For backpackers and anybody else who’s travelling overseas, what’s the handiest option to minimise hazard?

Bear in mind that dangers on the roads enhance sharply as quickly as you go overseas – and in some very talked-about locations with British travellers, accident charges are extraordinarily excessive: Turkey has nearly 4 occasions as many street fatalities per capita than Britain, whereas Egypt has a deadly accident charge practically 10 occasions greater. And South Africa, Kenya and Thailand are extraordinarily harmful for street customers.

In these nations and plenty of others, goal to remain off the roads as a lot as attainable, and use rail or air for longer journeys when you can. The place there’s no different to a street journey, attempt to e book a bus journey with a good firm.

By no means ever be tempted to have a few drinks at lunchtime after which hire a bike on a Greek or Thai island; the World Well being Organisation charges Thailand because the world’s deadliest nation for bikes, with a mean of 1 fatality each 40 minutes.


The second most useful precaution is about water, particularly in case you are planning on swimming within the sea; be sure to know establish a rip present and survive it.

If you’re reserving journeys domestically, for instance to go to the hill tribes of northern Thailand or a climbing journey in Peru, speak to different travellers to get their suggestions on dependable organisations and people.

Lastly, benefit from the journey however don’t drop your guard: when you really feel uncomfortable with a scenario, then get away from it.