14 Tips to Stay Safe Abroad
Stay Safe Abroad
Written by Joyce Insurance Group on 4/29/2016 7:00 AM in foreign travel, travel insurance, travel tips, safety tips, travel abroad.
Written by Gretchen Swanson
Traveling abroad can be a little scary, especially for first-timers. There’s so much to think about, where you’ll be staying, what you’ll be taking with you, and how you’ll be traveling. Here’s a few tips to help prepare you for your adventure.
Plan Carefully, Make Copies to Stay Safe Abroad
Keep a written itinerary. Make two copies of all travel documents, including passport, visa, hotel information, and credit card numbers, in case of emergency or theft. Leave one with a friend or relative at home. Carry the other copy with you, but store it separately from the originals.
Find Out What Documents You Need to Stay Safe Abroad
You will need a valid, up-to-date U.S. passport to re-enter the United States, and to enter and leave most countries. If you are traveling with children, you may need to present proof of relationship to them, and evidence of consent from any non-accompanying parent(s). If you plan to drive overseas, you may need an International Driving Permit, and you will need insurance.
Check and Understand Exchange Rates Before You Travel – To Stay Safe Abroad
Notify your bank, credit card companies, or other financial institutions that you are going overseas. Avoid carrying cash. Use traveler’s checks or major credit cards instead, but be sure they will be accepted at your destination.
Learn Local Laws and Customs
You are subject to the local laws wherever you travel. If you break local laws while abroad, your U.S. passport will not help you avoid arrest or prosecution.
Your health insurance policy may not cover you in every situation abroad, so consider purchasing a short-term policy that does. Health care expenses incurred overseas may include emergency services such as medical evacuations. Be sure you know how to access medical care wherever you travel.
Find out if the country you are visiting requires any vaccinations, or documentation of inoculations or medical testing.
If you have prescription medications, pack in original labeled containers, in your carry-on bag. Bring a letter from your physician; some countries have tight restrictions regarding medications.
Pack light. Carry a minimum number of valuables; plan places to conceal them. Do not carry banned items or substances, such as weapons or ammunition. Use covered luggage tags to avoid casual observation of your identity and nationality. Avoid packing IDs, tickets and other vital documents in backpacks or other locations you cannot see at all times.
Look for a clearly displayed official badge or permit. Before you get in, be sure the picture looks like your driver. Ask your hotel or a local police officer if you are not sure what to look for. Do not share cabs with strangers! Have a map or navigation app to be sure you are on the correct route.
Beware of crowds, where it’s harder to protect belongings and easier for pickpockets to get away. If you are jostled or notice loud arguments or commotion, a pickpocket may be responsible for the distraction. Use handbags that close tightly; carry securely in front of your body. Carry wallets inside your coat or front pants pocket, never in a backpack. Avoid showing money; use small bills.
Make Sure Your Cellphone Works in your destination country.
Check for Travel Warnings, like terrorist threats or other conditions.
Be Prepared for an Emergency. Have contact information for the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Know the equivalent of 911 at your destination.
You can sign up for travel alerts and get more information on Embassies here.