When you travel abroad it’s important to know that you’re on someone else’s turf and that means you’re subject to their laws and customs. Many of the things you take for granted in the States are not the same. Here are the top ten travel abroad tips for staying safe while traveling abroad.
#1 The US government strongly recommends registering with the state department, which you can do online at https://travelregistration.state.gov. This free service makes it easy for people to contact you if you have a family emergency and it makes it easier to get help if you run into trouble while traveling.
#2 Sign your passport and fill in the emergency information. If you’re hurt, this information can save your life.
#3 If you’re a man traveling in a foreign country, be wary of women who want to buy you a drink. It’s becoming common for men to be drugged and robbed in some foreign countries.
#4 Keep your valuables hidden and never travel with all your cash on you. Pick-pockets often look for tourists. You can keep some of your cash, copies of your documents and any other valuables in the hotel safe or in your room safe.
#5 Make sure your medical insurance applies in the country you’re traveling to. If it doesn’t, consider getting supplemental insurance. And if you have any special medical needs or allergies to medicines, make sure these are documented and carried with you at all times. If an accident should happen, you want local medical personnel to have the necessary information to save your life.
#6 Make sure you know the laws of the area you’re visiting. You’re responsible for knowing and obeying them. If you are unsure, check out the Department of State travel guidelines page at https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/contact.html where you can find important information for the area you’re traveling to.
#7 Make copies of your documents. One of the worst things that can happen is to have your passport and/or visa documents stolen or lost. Many experts recommend making three copies and placing them in three different locations. That way, if you lose the main documents, you’ll at least have copies to back you up. You can also email copies of your documents to yourself so you have an electronic copy of them.
#8 Know that often times your cell phone won’t work in the country you’re traveling to unless you have a global calling plan. It makes sense to travel with an international calling card so you can make calls in an emergency.
#9 Try to blend in. Looking like a tourist can put you at the mercy of clever con men and women, not to mention thieves. While it may be impossible to blend in and look like a local, do your best to not draw extra attention.
#10 When traveling abroad, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings. Getting lost in a foreign country can be a scary and potentially dangerous experience. Take maps with you, do your best to know enough of the language to get by, and stay on the beaten path.
Traveling abroad can be an exciting and life-changing experience. Take these simple precautions, be smart, plan ahead and you’ll have a safe and fun-filled trip.