You are embarking on an exciting journey overseas and there are many safety concerns happening in the world today. Travel Safety 101 put together a list of 15 international travel safety tips to help you get started enhancing your safety overseas. While you can’t prevent 100% of travel safety issues, it is possible to prevent many issues that might arise. A few basic skills, proper planning, and good preparation can go a long way towards preventing the majority of issues.
International Travel Safety Tips
The first step of travel safety is taking responsibility for your own safety.
The most important first step of getting started with travel safety or your personal safety at home is taking responsibility for your own safety. You can’t rely on governments, travel companions, tour operators, guides, or any other third party to ensure your safety. Acknowledging this and then taking appropriate steps to enhance your safety, the safety of your travel companions, and protecting your personal property is essential.
Do you plan and conduct in-depth destination research about your destinations?
At Travel Safety 101 we split destination research into three parts; travel planning, destination safety research, and cultural awareness. All three parts are important for staying safe overseas and also having a great experience.
Are you sufficiently insured for your overseas travel?
Having sufficient insurance is an important part of any overseas trip. Medical evacuations can cost up to $300,000 USD, and your medical insurance at home often offers limited or no coverage overseas. There are four main parts of international travel insurance including trip insurance, travel medical insurance, travel evacuation insurance, and personal property insurance.
Don’t forget to register your trip with your government?
Most countries offer a way you can register the details of your trip with your government. This information is used to send you travel alerts/ warnings about your destination and the emergency contact information you provide can be used by local embassies to contact you in an emergency. Also, lists of travelers are used to locate citizens in a natural disaster or other disturbance.
Do you have a good first aid kit with you and some basic first aid knowledge?
Having a sufficient first aid kit, and the ability to use everything in it properly can be a lifesaver when traveling overseas. Local chapters of the Red Cross often offer 1 to 2-day introductory classes that are great for travelers. A proper first aid kit is even more important when traveling in the developing world or in wilderness settings.
How are you securing your internet browsing?
When traveling overseas, you’ll often be using public or captive portal (i.e., hotels) WiFi networks throughout your trip. This exposes your personal information and internet browsing habits to both unwanted people and the local internet service providers. The best way to secure your internet browsing is to use a VPN or Virtual Private Network. You can think of this as a secure tunnel between your device and the website.
You can apply the same basic personal safety skills at home or overseas!
These skills include situational awareness, risk management, and what to do in emergency events such as active weapons attacks or kidnappings. All these skills are used both overseas and at home to enhance your safety.
How are you protecting your bank account and travel funds?
There has been a global rise in fraud using ATMs, Debit Cards, and Credit Cards. Using a two account system, and proper ATM usage is the best way to reduce the impact. Also, make sure you set up fraud alerts and a travel notification.
Are you planning your arrivals and departures?
Arriving and departing a new destination is often a high-risk time for overseas travelers. Transportation terminals can be confusing and are often a hub for criminals or scam artists. Learning about the layout of the terminal and the different transportation options available ahead of time will help you avoid many issues.
Are you bringing prescription and over the counter medication with you?
Ideally, bring enough for your entire trip as it may be very difficult to get a refill or the correct brand overseas. Keep all medication in the original packaging and any prescription medication in the original orange bottles. If possible, a letter from your doctor is great to bring along in case of any questions.
Who knows where and when you’ll be when overseas?
Always make sure you have left a detailed itinerary with a responsible person at home. Also, if possible make sure they have information about your various insurance plans in case an emergency arises. You should also let this person know if you change your travel plans. A great person would also have a passport with the ability to travel if you need them.
What is the local emergency number at your destination?
Many countries do not use 911 so it is important to find out the local emergency number before you arrive. Also, some countries offer an English speaking helpline for tourists that can translate and sometimes help with a variety of emergencies.
Have you reviewed travel warnings, advisories, and alerts for your destinations?
These are published by the State Department or Foreign Department of your country to help overseas travelers learn more about potential risks and other safety issues for your destination. Also, make sure to check your country’s embassy at your destination for more information.
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