Submitted by: Gergana Dimitrova
Safety is the foremost priority when traveling to foreign countries. When you are unfamiliar with the territory or the local culture or you don’t speak the language, you have to take safety measures which will reduce the shock if something goes wrong. Here are 10 Safety Tips for International Travel:
1.Register Your Trip with the State Department
Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service to allow US citizens traveling internationally to enroll their trip with the nearest US Embassy or Consulate. Benefits of enrolling in the STEP program will enable you to receive information about the safety of the visited destination, the ability of the Embassy to contact you in case of emergency (natural disaster, civil riot, family emergency), and access for your family and friends to get in touch with you in an emergency. Consider downloading the Smart Traveler app available for iPhone and Android
2.Know How to Contact the American Embassy
In case of emergency (political insurgency, natural disaster, personal), contact the American Embassy office in the destination. Embassy information in available the government’s travel site in the top right corner of the navigation bar. Search Embassy by continents and countries.
3.Contact Local Authorities in Case of Emergency
If you are in an emergency situation abroad, you will need to know how to contact the police, the ambulance, or even the fire department. Not every country uses “911” for its emergency contact number, as we do in United States. Here’s a handy reference list of emergency contact numbers in foreign countries. Write down-or save in your cell phone-the number used at your destination:”911 Abroad”
4.Stay Connected — Choose a Cellphone Plan with Free International Roaming
One of the most cost-effective methods is when abroad to buy pay-as-you-go phone from a local mobile, electronic store or supermarket. You can also check with your carrier if your phone is compatible with international SIM cards. If so, you can buy a prepaid SIM in your destination and then just pop it into your phone and connect with the local network. Before buying a SIM card however, do research which company has the best coverage in particular area.
Lastly, check out the T-Mobile Simple Choice Plan, which is one of the best options for international travel. Included in this plan is unlimited texting and 2G data in more than 140 countries and calls are just 20 cents a minute. If you taking a cruise, certain restrictions apply, *MAKE SURE* to check with your phone provider to avoid bad surprises.
5.Get a Health Check-up
Going to an exotic destination? Vaccines are your passport to adventure around the world. You may come into contact with different diseases, based on the countries you are visiting. For instance, you may need the yellow fever vaccine when traveling to Africa, Central America or South America. In addition, some vaccines might be required for you to travel to certain places. Four to six months before you travel, schedule an appointment with your health provider to get the recommended vaccines for the countries you planning to visit. Check CDC Travel Health site for details on vaccines and other important information to stay healthy while you travel. You can also download CDC’s TravWell App to get destination-specific vaccine recommendations and customizable healthy travel packing list.
6.Get Travel Insurance
Even the most intrepid international traveler knows that sometimes things happen that you cannot simply handle on your own. International travel insurance will benefit you if you become seriously ill or injured while traveling (save you hundreds of $ in medical bills), when unforeseen circumstances make you cancel, or interrupt your trip (reimburse you for non-refundable part of the trip if cancel for covered reason), if your luggage is lost or stolen. For travel insurance quotes, check Allianz, Travel Guard, Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection to name a few.
7.Backup Your Travel Documents
Loosing your travel documents can be one of the worst thing that have happened to you because of the complications that follow. They cannot be replaced easily while in foreign country and if they do, it takes longer. Depending on what you’ve lost, you might not be able to follow your travel schedule and get back home on time, incurring additional expenses.
Make a list of your travel documents which need to be backup (Passports, Visa, Travel Insurance, Driver’s Licence, Health Information, Airfare/Hotel/Car/Tours Confirmations etc). Although you can still make a paper copies, the most effective techniques are to email copies to yourself and your family/friends, to store them in cloud based applications or in your portable devise or laptop. Try the Tripit app where you can consolidate all your your travel documents, and even get alerts if flight has been delayed or canceled.
8.Do Not Carry a Large Quantity of Cash
Separate your travel cash from your credit cards and hide it into multiple safe spots. Have small bills and coins handy when needed to buy drinks, lunch or souvenirs. If you have your money only in one place, it will take the thief only one time to totally wipe you out. Prior to traveling, notify your bank of your travel plans. Bring at least two travel credit cards with embedded chips (EMV) from different institutions without foreign transaction fees. You can compare travel credit cards at Credit Karma. If possible, prepay for cars/tours/activities prior your travel.
9. Put Away Your Camera
Although it might feel more comfortable to wear your camera on your arm or across the neck, this is the easiest way to get stolen. Instead of using the original camera bag, consider using an older bag to carry your camera and gear, and put on the top of it blouse or scarf. It will take few more seconds to take it out, but won’t attract attention. One of the simplest ways to wear your bag is up front, over both shoulders so in a high traffic areas like markets or tourist attraction you can keep eye on it.
10. Be Alert When in Public Places and Using Mass Transit
Try to blend with the locals and observe the local customs all of the time. Do not dress provocatively or wear expensive jewelry nor speak louder. When visit major tourist attractions, festivals, sporting events ,and other crowded areas stay aware or your surroundings. When waiting for a train, stay far away from the edge of the subway platform, especially when trains are entering or leaving the platform.
About the Author: Glamour Quest Travel helps travelers interested in history and culture with sense of adventure to experience UNESCO cultural and natural wonders as an insider by tailor- made/small group land itineraries and small ship voyages.Visit Us at