Embarking on a new country can be the adventure of a lifetime. Experiencing new cultures, seeing new terrain and trying new foods are just a few of the benefits of venturing out into uncharted land, but it’s important to stay safe as well. Here are six tips to keep you safe will traveling abroad.
1. Check the US Passports and International Travel Website for Information
The United States government maintains a website that informs Americans citizens of current safety and security travel concerns. It details the locations of every U.S. embassy and consular office, as well as travel alerts, warnings, advisories, and things to be mindful of.
The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program is a service that allows United States citizens and nationals to register their travels with the nearest embassy or consulate. Doing so will automatically enroll you to receive updates on safety information, and allow officials and your family to contact you in the case of an emergency or natural disaster.
3. Share Travel Information with Friends and Family
Before leaving for your trip, inform your close social circle of your travel plans. While it is unwise to notify social media right away (where strangers and robbers may be lurking your statuses), your family and friends can help keep you safe. Send a quick text with your flight details, your room accomodations (address, room number, etc.) and let them know when you’ve arrived safely. Throughout your trip, check-in with your social circle with short messages or calls about your plans for the day. Although these updates may seem unnecessary, when you’re far away from home, they are the only way anyone can be sure you’re ok without assuming.
4. Safety In Numbers
It’s always safer to travel in groups. Whether leaving the hotel to grab a bite to eat or checking out the sights, remember to grab a buddy (or two) and stick together for maximum safety. If you plan to venture into crowded areas, stick with your group closely and plan meeting spots in case someone gets separated. For extra safety, wear the same colors or an easily identifiable article of clothing to help you reconnect with your travel mates if you lose each other in a crowd.
5. Make Copies of Documents
Passports, travel arrangements, confirmation numbers, boarding passes, licenses, etc. are all vital documents that can make or break your trip. Instead of relying on digital or original versions of such items, make extra paper copies as backup. Place backup copies in various places to ensure that if your luggage is lost or stolen that all your documents won’t be gone as well.
6. Don’t Be the Center of Attention
As a tourist, the last thing you want to do is draw attention to yourself. Avoid flashy jewelry, wear clothes that blend in and assimilate with the culture as respectfully as possible. Behave politely and avoid conflict when possible. When on foreign soil, it’s difficult to know every law (both written and implied). To protect yourself and make it home safely, it’s best to fly under the radar by being as invisible as possible while enjoying your trip.
Traveling is a privilege that shouldn’t be taken for granted. It can change the way we look at the world around us, the way we look at ourselves, and the way we look at others. But even as we set out on such important soul-changing journeys, we must keep safety first. Prepare with these six safety tips and you’ll be able to enjoy your travels without worry.