Safe Travels : A Guide To Safe International Travel
As methods of transportation have improved, traveling has become increasingly popular. Just because transportation methods have improved, does not mean that travelers should let down their guard. Whether traveling to a neighboring state or a foreign country, there are many tips to heed to ensure safe travels. Since traveling abroad is by far the most taxing for travelers, below we will take a look at what you can do to help make sure that you have safe travels in any foreign country.
Check Travel Advisories :-
Regardless of where you intend to travel, whenever you are traveling outside of the United States it is crucial to check travel advisories. Travel advisories are issued by the United States government to let US travelers know where it is currently safe to travel. These travel advisories are made based upon numerous factors but most often political climate. There are times when foreign countries are deemed unsafe for travel due to the presence of political unrest, current feelings toward the United States and civil war. These advisories are sometimes made based upon the fact that United States citizens or political figures have already been the target of terrorist activity. These warnings are also given when the political climate of a country is out of control and where terrorists and insurgents are openly active.
Smart Traveler Enrollment Program :-
After ensuring that an area is safe for travel, United States citizens are advised to register with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. This program was formerly known as the Registration with Embassies Program. STEP, as it is now known, is a free service that has been established by the United States government. The program is meant to keep Americans safe during their time abroad. After registration you get travel warnings and alerts for the area you’re traveling to. The whole idea is to provide assistance to you if there’s an emergency.
Traveling with Credit Cards :-
You want to keep all of your financial cards and personal documentation especially safe when you’re traveling. Losing a credit card or passport is one of the worst scenarios you could endure while trying to enjoy a new place. Here are some tips for traveling with credit cards.
- Notify your card issuer of your travel plans so they don’t cancel your card while you’re abroad.
- Consider purchasing a travel card, they are similar to debit cards except you load them ahead of time and they do not pull directly from your bank.
- Bring more than one card in case one is not accepted somewhere.
- Expect high ATM fees, try to plan ahead and have some cash on hand. If you end up using an ATM try to get a larger amount out so you don’t have to pay the high fees multiple times.
- Keep your receipts so you can look over your finances and make sure everything is accurate.
- Keep your credit cards, passport, and other personal documents in separate places. That way if your coat gets lost or stolen you’re not missing all of your items.
Basic Tips for Safe Travels :-
- Avoid carrying large amounts of cash so that if you do become a target of crime you will not lose all of your financial resources. Instead, keep your cash spread out in different areas (some in a purse, some in a wallet, some in a coat zipper pocket, hotel safe, etc.)
- Avoid wearing flashy jewelry or expensive clothing when inappropriate. Wearing such items can advertise that you have a lot of money and make you a good target for theft or mugging. Of course this is not as applicable if you are attending a high class event, but when playing “tourist” it is important to fit in.
- Try to blend in and appear like a local. Drawing attention to yourself can create a target on yourself.
- Most hotel rooms offer guests the use of a safe either in their room or behind the front desk. If you have any items of value keep them in this safe to reduce the risk of theft.
- Stay in a hotel that comes highly recommended by other travelers in recent reviews, unless you have other accommodations setup. This can help you to find a hotel that is hospitable to foreigners and in a safe traveling location.
- If you choose to over indulge in alcohol and partake in drugs make sure you have someone looking out for you. Losing control alone can result in a number of dangerous situations (kidnapping, theft, assault, etc.).
- Always make sure that someone else knows where you are, whether you talk to the hotel receptionist or concierge or talk to friends. This way if you were to get in to trouble, someone will realize that you are missing. It is generally best to inform someone who has a personal relationship with you who will recognize that you are missing as soon as possible.
- If you are a regular traveler it can be easy to fall in to a pattern and get comfortable with traveling to any location. It is crucial to remember that no matter how often you travel, there is always the possibility that you could become a victim of crime so always be aware of your surroundings.
- Purchase a passport holder that can be concealed easily (i.e. hangs around the neck, waist, ankle, etc.).
- Secure your electronics (laptop, tablet, cell phone) by placing them in pockets they should be in. If you have a backpack that has compartments for each device keep them there so you know exactly where they are.
- Consider carrying a fake wallet. If someone tries to mug you and tells you to hand over your wallet, throw the wallet at them but a bit further. They will run for the wallet and you can run to safety.
- Do not go anywhere with a stranger.
- Do not leave your drink unattended.
- Consider carrying a small 72-hour kit in case of unexpected emergency.
Traveling Abroad With Children :-
Traveling abroad with children takes even more vigilance than a normal trip. In addition to all of the tips above, here are some steps for keeping your children safe.
- Carry your children’s documentation yourself.
- If you’re the only parent traveling, carry a notarized document signed by the other parent stating the children are permitted to leave the country.
- Keep current photo of each child on hand.
- Never leave documents behind in your hotel, even in a locked safe, as you may need them when out to prove their identities to authorities or to use services at places such as internet cafes.
- Educate your kids about where you are traveling.
- Explain to your children that you are going to a place with a different culture and different customs than they might be used to.
- Should physical contact be lost with a child, assign the child a code word to say or even yell to get your attention. If another adult in your group finds your assigned child, have a code word for them to say as well.
- Go over a “call and response” (“Marco, Polo!” for instance) for adults and children in a group to assess each other’s positions when visual contact is limited, even when physical contact is established. One common way to do this is have an adult say, “One”, the person directly following them say, “Two,” the next person say, “Three”, and so on.
- Each time you go out with your children, assign an easily identifiable landmark as the meeting place in case anyone gets separated. Tell them before you leave that this is what will happen, and once you are out at your destination, assign the landmark and go over it with them to make sure it sticks.
- Place copies of each child’s passport and visa on their person should he or she become separated, along with instructions in English and the local dialect about what to do if they are separated from your group.