• Staying Safe While Traveling Abroad

  • by Austin Quinn

Preparation is paramount. Whether you’re walking down to the store, driving to work, taking a road trip, or traveling in a foreign country, preparation will ensure that your trip goes smoothly. When traveling abroad, you’ll see plenty of new sights, taste exotic foods, and learn more about the historical and cultural background of your vacation destination. With so many new experiences clamoring for your attention, important safety information may pass under the radar. To stay safe and ensure your holiday adventures go smoothly, check out the following tips.

Prevention is the Best Medicine

You’ve probably heard it from your doctor before – prevention is the best medicine. And that’s especially true when traveling abroad. Foreign countries often contain unfamiliar diseases which could ruin your health and your plans if you aren’t careful. But, thankfully, we have vaccines. As you book your flights and hotels, and make restaurant reservations, don’t forget to schedule a visit with your doctor and get the right immunizations for an upcoming vacation abroad.

Documentation

Your passport, insurance cards, credit cards, travel itinerary, and other identifying documents are essential to any excursion abroad. However, as you bring these things along with you on your trip, you’re also prone to losing them. Make copies of all of these items, then leave the real set at home and bring the copies with you if you can.

Furthermore, when keeping track of travel itinerary, it’s generally a good idea to write down critical information on paper and keep a picture or schedule on your phone as a backup. You can also send emails to yourself over a web-based email account so that you can retrieve that information from a hotel or other computer as needed.

Don’t . . .

. . . go alone. Walking alone at night, or even through a busy thoroughfare in broad daylight, is a good way to get pickpocketed or mugged. Stay close to fellow travelers and, whenever possible, take guided tours through major public places.

. . . forget any belongings. Whenever you leave a restaurant or get off a bus, check behind you to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything important. Too many pleasant vacations suffer a stressful interruption due to a missing wallet or a dropped passport.

. . . draw attention to yourself. Getting dressed up and decked out in all the latest fashions can wait until you’re back in familiar territory. Wearing jewelry, putting on expensive coats, and carrying bags from recognizable brands will make you a tempting target for thieves and pickpockets.

. . . give out money on the street. While generosity is an excellent quality, it can also endanger you and lead to muggings and theft. If you would like to do something to help the local community, donating to an established charity in the area will give you the best chance for success.

. . . fight off a mugger. None of your belongings are as valuable as your life. If someone threatens you for your belongings, give them what they demand and then find the closest U.S. embassy or local police station to report the incident and replace lost passports, licenses, and other important documentation.

. . . forget to lock your doors (and windows!). A friend of mine staying in a foreign country woke up one night to find that a burglar had broken into his room through the unlocked window. Luckily, the man jumped out the window immediately, but the situation could have turned out much worse. Lock up!

. . . take a taxi that isn’t registered with the local government. “Private cabs,” and other sketchy transportation services could lead to a robbery, or worse.

Traveling the world can be a wonderful experience, but like any new adventure, it can also be a challenge. If you only take two things away from this article, remember this: be prepared and be aware.