Whether you are a seasoned international traveler, or if this is your first trip abroad, these 4 tips will ensure your safety and give you peace of mind during your vacation:
1. Research your destination thoroughly before your trip
As they saying goes “An ounce of is worth a pound of cure.” When planning for international travel, take heed. Before booking, find out which neighborhoods are the best and which ones you should avoid altogether. When it comes to your lodging, did you read the reviews on TripAdvisor? What are former guests saying about their recent stays? Are there only certain kinds of public transportation you should take? Is there a medical center or emergency room in the city, in case you’re in need of medical treatment? Do you need any special vaccinations or medications? Are their local health issues for which you should prepare, like Hepatitis A and B or typhoid? Finding out these things well in advance can help you avoid potentially dangerous situations.
2. Copy your travel documents
Before leaving, make sure that a close friend or relative has a copy of your full itinerary including airline information, and hotel names and phone numbers. In addition, take photographs of your credit card(s) and medical insurance card(s) (front and back) and store the photos in the photo library on your cell phone. For easy access, create a folder called Personal Information and store them there along with a photograph of your passport. In the event that your cards are lost stolen, you will have immediate access to the card numbers and customer service phone numbers needed to obtain replacement cards and/or put a block on the cards to prevent unauthorized use. If your passport is lost or stolen, you may present the passport photo to the local US embassy to help expedite a replacement with minimal headache. Hard copy print outs of these photos should be kept in your hotel room in the room safe, so that if your cell phone is lost or stolen, you still have the information you need at your fingertips.
3. Carry gear that minimizes the risk of theft
When selecting which bags to use for daily travel, be sure to pick items that have zipper closures. Bags that have “reach-in access” make you an easy target for pickpockets and petty thieves. For small items like cash and cards, use a neck wallet or a money belt. These can be purchased on Amazon for less than twenty dollars. They come in many styles and some of them have special anti-theft technologies built-in. Look for bags made of ballistic nylon, which is virtually impossible to cut through. Also, look for RFID blocking in the product description. Many credit cards, passports, and licenses now contain Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chips, which contain your account information and personal data. Stop “electronic pickpockets” from accessing your personal identity information by placing your RFID-enabled cards in RFID blocking pockets.
For daily outings, “less is more” should be your guiding mantra. Take with you only what your need, and don’t wear expensive jewelry, which could attract the wrong kind of attention.
4. Save local emergency numbers in your cell phone
Because 911 doesn’t work outside the United States, it’s always a good idea to research phone numbers of the local police stations/emergency numbers in the locale in which you’re traveling, and save them in your cell phone contacts in advance of your trip. In the event of a true emergency, you’ll want to have these numbers readily available. This is especially important if you’re traveling in a country where English isn’t the primary language. The Google Translate app can assist you with translating English to many other languages. Before leaving, be sure to check with your cell phone company on what your coverage will be overseas and if there are any additional fees.
Vacation time is precious. The last thing you want to do is waste hours making phone calls and filing reports. With a little advanced preparation, you can minimize the risk of danger while travelling and make your trip stress-free and enjoyable. Bon Voyage!