10 Tips for Keeping Safe When Traveling Abroad
How to Stay Safe When Traveling Abroad
Traveling abroad offers vacation goers a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the sights, cultures and customs of people from around the world. But all travel involves risks, and those risks can be magnified when traveling outside of the country. It’s important to remember that you’ll be on someone else’s turf–subject to their laws and customs–and will be playing by a different set of rules. Here are some tips for stay while traveling outside of the US.
#1 - Notify the State Department
Whenever traveling abroad, it is recommended you register with the State Department. You can register online at https://travelregistration.state.gov. It’s completely free and will make it easier for someone to contact you in the event of an emergency or for you to get help if you run into trouble on foreign soil.
#2 - Carry an ‘In Case of Emergency’ Note
Carry a note in your wallet listing your emergency contact information, as well as any information about medical conditions you have (e.g., allergies, diabetes, etc.) or medications you may be taking. Then get the note translated into the official language of the country you’ll be traveling in (try http://freetranslation.com). This could save precious time in an emergency and possibly save your life.
#3 - Be Wary of Sexy Strangers
It’s not uncommon for criminals to operate in tourist areas. It’s not uncommon for attractive locals to flirt with tourists in order to get them to let their guards down. Sometimes its to distract you while an accomplice drugs, pick pockets or overpowers you. Sometimes its to lead you off to an isolated area where you can be robbed. Be extra vigilant whenever someone is making a conscious effort to get or hold your attention.
#4 - Secure Your Valuables
Keep your valuables hidden and never travel with all your cash on you. Pick-pockets often look for tourists. You can keep some of your cash, copies of your documents and any other valuables in the hotel safe or in your room safe.
#5 - Always Purchase Travel Insurance
Did you know that most medical insurance doesn’t cover medical care received outside the US? Or that foreign governments can hold your passport and prevent you from leaving the country until your medical expenses are paid in full?
Travel insurance is extremely cheap and can cover any emergency medical expenses, as well as expenses related to lost/stolen valuables, trip cancelations/interruptions and other unforeseen events. They also provide toll free numbers you can call if you run into any type of problems while traveling. You should never travel outside the country without it.
#6 - Know the Laws of the Area You Are Visiting
It is your responsibility to know and obey the laws of the area you’ll be visiting. Failing to do so could result in fines, imprisonment and, in some extreme cases, capital punishment. Check out the State Department’s travel guides for important information about your destination before traveling abroad.
#7 - Make Copies of Your Documents
Losing your passport and/or visa documents can cause major headaches while traveling outside of the US. Make three copies of these documents and place them in three different locations (e.g., your room safe, the hotel safe and your luggage). That way, if you lose the main documents, you’ll at least have copies to back you up. Email a copy of the documents to yourself so you have an electronic copy of them.
#8 - Get a Phone Card
Some cell phones do not work outside the US without an international calling plan. Even if you have international service, it can be ridiculous expensive to make cell phone calls from outside of the US. It makes sense to travel with an international calling card so you can make calls in an emergency.
#9 - Try to Blend In
Looking like a tourist can put you at the mercy of clever con men and women, not to mention thieves. While it may be impossible to blend in and look like a local, do your best to not draw extra attention
#10 - Be Aware
When traveling abroad, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings. Getting lost in a foreign country can be a scary and potentially dangerous experience. Take maps with you, do your best to know enough of the language to get by, and stay on the beaten path.
Traveling abroad can be an exciting and life-changing experience. By taking a few simple precautions, remaining vigilant and planning ahead, you can ensure you’ll have a safe and fun-filled trip.
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