Photo Credit: West Midlands Police
8 Tips for Staying Safe When Traveling Abroad
Traveling abroad can make people anxious, especially when they don’t travel often. They worry about whether it will be safe where they are traveling and what they will do if they get into an accident, fall ill or have their belongings stolen. Most of the time there’s is nothing to worry about since most countries are perfectly safe to travel to (not more dangerous than most U.S. cities at least). This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take precautions in order to avoid accidents however. Just taking a few measures before your trip can help you stay and more importantly feel safe so you can fully enjoy your holiday.
Sign Up for STEP
The U.S. government’s Smart Traveller Enrollment Program is a service that sends you travel warnings for a particular country after you’ve registered and provided information about your overseas destination. Signing up will also help the government better help you in case of an emergency. Signing up is free and easy.
Separate Money and Other Important Documents
You should always separate your money and bank cards so in case your wallet gets stolen, you still have a different bank card and/or some money stashed away somewhere else. For example, put some money and a bank card in your travel wallet and some in your luggage in your room. You can also get special belts that you can put money in or pants/shorts with hidden pockets to stay (relatively) safe from pickpockets.
Notify People About Your Trip
Send your itinerary to friends and/or family so they know where you are supposed to be on which dates. Try to send your family an email or Facebook message once in a while so they know you are doing fine.
Take Copies of Important Documents
Take a copy of your passport and other important documents and either put it in a separate bag, or save it in the cloud.
Make sure to get good traveler’s insurance so you are covered in case something happens. If you will be doing any extreme sports abroad, make sure that your insurance covers accidents that happen during such activities.
Learn About a Country’s Culture
Learning about a country and culture’s customs will help you avoid showing inappropriate behavior that could get you into trouble. Some gestures or manners that are completely normal in the U.S. could be offensive to people from different cultures.
Have Emergency Numbers Handy
Look up what the different emergency numbers (for the local police, hospital, fire station, etc.) are in the country and area you travel to and keep them in your phone as well as numbers of the U.S. embassy or consulate.
Use Common Sense
When traveling in a foreign country, always think twice before you do something. For example avoid traveling through small narrow roads when you can also take a bigger road, especially at night. Don’t pet stray dogs or other animals and be careful about giving money to beggars because they may use this just to see where you keep your money to then pickpocket you later on.
Most importantly of all, enjoy your trip and try not to worry too much, especially if you’ve taken all the necessary precautions!
Zane Schwarzlose is a writer at The Loewy Law Firm, a personal injury law firm in Austin, Texas. Zane is glad he’s never been hurt while traveling abroad.