When traveling to other countries, it’s important to always keep international travel safety in mind. There are many things you can do when traveling to various international destinations to keep you and your companions safe and secure. Here are some international travel safety tips to keep in mind for your next trip.
15 International Travel Safety Tips
Carry Contact Details for the Host Embassy or Consulate
When traveling around other countries, the local embassy or consulate can serve as your most important point of contact in the event of an emergency, whether it’s an attack, natural disaster or just a personal emergency. So make sure that you have a copy of the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate with you at all times, both in English and the language of the country you’re visiting.
Leave an Itinerary with Someone at Home
It’s a good idea when traveling overseas to let someone back home know where you’re going to be at all times. Even if you don’t have an exact itinerary, at least leave the contact deals of where you plan on staying. And schedule times to check in with them throughout the trip as well.
Sign Up for Travel Alerts
Before you depart, you can sign up for travel alerts from the U.S. State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). These alerts can call your attention to any issues that might impact your travel destination so that you can plan accordingly. For example, if there’s an emergency situation in the country you’re visiting, you can get an alert with information and instructions from the U.S. government.
See a Travel Doctor
Depending on your destination, you may need to get additional vaccinations to ensure that you don’t get any contagious diseases while traveling. A travel doctor can help you get any required vaccinations or tests and even advise you on any additional precautions that may not be officially required but still beneficial.
Research Local Emergency Centers
While traveling, it’s unlikely that you’ll know just off the top of your head where to go in the event of an emergency. So look up that information before you even leave so that you can be prepared just in case you need to get to a hospital or evacuation center.
Get Traveler’s Insurance
If you’re traveling and you get sick or injured, your regular insurance policy may not cover any expenses that you incur. But you can purchase a special policy just to cover any emergency expenses that you rack up while traveling internationally.
Check Your Taxis
Taxis can be a great way to get around in many parts of the world. But depending on your destination, riding in taxis isn’t always as reliable as it is in the U.S. So make sure that any taxis you ride in are licensed and that the photo on the license actually looks like the driver.
Carry Emergency Numbers with You
In addition to having the embassy’s information with you at all times, it’s also a good idea to carry an emergency contact number or two. If you know anyone who lives near your destination, include them. And then also have the number for someone back home.
Have a Phone that Can Make International Calls
Before you leave, even if you don’t plan on making tons of phone calls, make sure that you either get an international calling plan for your phone or buy a temporary phone that will work in your destination. You’ll be glad you have the ability to make calls in the event of an emergency or if you get separated from your group.
Research Cultural Norms
Every country has a different set of customs and acceptable behavior. Some can seem pretty similar to the U.S., while others are much different. So before you leave, do some research online or by talking to others who have visited your destination to make sure that you can avoid any behavior or appearance issues that might offend or anger the residents of your destination.
Track and Secure Your Valuables
Theft of valuables can be a major issue for travelers. To combat that, it’s a good idea to have a plan to track and safely carry your valuables. That means you should always be aware of the amount of money and other valuables that you brought with you. You might even consider keeping a running list of what you’ve spent or obtained so that you know what you have at all times. Then when you go out and explore, don’t take all of your money and valuables with you just in case there’s a theft or accident. But make sure you know exactly what you have on you and what you left with the rest of your belongings.
Make Copies of Your Passport
Your passport is your major source of identification when traveling to other countries. So in the event that you lose it, your travel plans can really go awry. That’s why you should have a backup copy with you in another bag just in case. And consider leaving another copy or scan of your passport with someone you know back home as well.
Only Bring What You Absolutely Need
Before you leave home and before you go out on any excursions, evaluate whether you actually need everything that you’ve decided to take. If you’re bringing a bunch of cash, expensive tech devices and other valuables that you might not even use, you’re risking those items getting lost or stolen. Instead, bring only what you absolutely need and leave the rest at home or in your secure room.
Clear Any Sensitive Data
If you are bringing a laptop or similar device that contains sensitive personal data, you could risk getting hacked or exposing your data in the case of a theft. If you do absolutely need to bring those devices, clear all of your personal data before leaving on your trip. Then even if your device is hacked or stolen, you can keep the damage to a minimum.
Change Your Passwords When You Return
Then when you get back, change all of the passwords to your devices and major accounts just in case hackers were able to access your devices.