Twelve Safety Tips While Traveling & Living Overseas
Nothing is bound to ruin a holiday more than feeling unsafe or running into scams and difficulties. When traveling to other countries, it’s important to always keep international travel safety in mind. Travel risk is unavoidable, but we have created a list of 12 tips that will increase your safety so that you can enjoy your holiday. These tips are also quite useful for expatriates who are living abroad.
1. Get your vaccines before leaving
An unexpected illness can truly ruin a holiday. Make sure to be fully up to date on all your vaccines and double-check all the recommended vaccines for your travel destination. Most countries will have a categorized list of all the recommended vaccines for international travelers, and where you can go to get your vaccinations.
2. Use cash when possible, but use credit cards as well
In order to avoid high credit card and debit card fees, we recommend using cash whenever possible. It is also highly recommended that you separate your important cards in case of theft. Have backups if possible, as well as an emergency cash flow just in case. It is important to separate cash, cards and identification cards for any potential problems. Of course, it is also important not to carry too much cash with you and not flash cash when paying your bill in order to avoid becoming a victim of crime. Sometimes using a credit card can be safer to use your credit card in areas of high crime.
3. Have an international phone plan
In case of emergencies, you will want to have access to a phone that has the ability to call internationally. Whether you need to call your family back home or your insurance provider, you won’t want to be stuck trying to find a phone with international capabilities in times of emergencies.
4. Research cultural norms
When traveling internationally, especially to culturally diverse regions, it is crucial that you do your research on cultural norms and how the local population behave on the day-to-day. It can be dangerous to be in a situation that is culturally acceptable in your home region, and unaccepted in the region you are visiting. Local natives can find offense to certain behaviors, and it is recommended that you behave in culturally appropriate behavior for your protection.
5. Tell your bank before leaving
The last thing you need while traveling internationally is to have your cards canceled or put on hold while away. In order to avoid any situation where this could happen is to notify your bank before leaving. Many banks don’t require notification now, but we recommend always placing a note with your bank for your accounts to avoid any potential of the card holds.
6. Travel in Numbers
Traveling in numbers is highly recommended when traveling internationally. A large group of people is much less of a target for potential danger than comparison to someone traveling alone. Another important note while traveling is to project situational awareness. If you are in a foreign land, it is very important to project, to the best of your ability, situational awareness. If you are in an environment with confidence, you are much less likely to attract potential scammers.
7. Know your destinations food & water safety
Many regions while traveling internationally will have different food and water restrictions then you have in your home town. If you are going abroad, it is very important to research the food and water safety warnings that are in place for those destinations. This will allow you to avoid any potential foods and water derived illnesses in order for you to enjoy your trip!
8. Have electronic copies
Although we recommend printing all your necessary travel documents for your travels, it is also highly recommended that you have access to electronic copies of all your important travel documents – including hotel + flight bookings, passport photos, and insurance policy numbers. This is a preventative precaution in case you lose any of your paper copy documents.
9. Have embassy/consulate contact information
In times of emergency, such as losing a passport, it will be very helpful to have your embassy and consulate contact information and address for where you are travelling. Most major cities will have a list of all the international embassies that are located within the city for your convenience. If your country doesn’t have a local embassy, it will be important to have the contact information for the nearest one, as well as contact information for your embassy back home.
10. Give your family & friends an itinerary
Whether you are traveling alone or with friends, it is recommended that you have your family and friends back home know your general location and plans while away.
11. Leave expensive jewelry at home
Although having your jewelry with you may seem appealing, we recommend leaving your expensive and valuable jewelry back home. Travelers displaying expensive jewelry are often targets for theft which can lead to very potentially dangerous situations. In order to stay on the safe side, it is better to simply leave it all at home.
12. Have proper travel insurance
While traveling internationally, most domestic health insurers will not cover you when you leave your country of citizenship, so travel insurance is a necessity. The potential of getting sick or injured while traveling is inevitable, and if you get injured or sick and you can’t get adequate medical treatment in the country or city you are visiting, it will be important to have access to emergency medical evacuation to another country or back to your country of residence. For the simple purpose of peace of mind, purchasing travel insurance is highly recommended in order to protect yourself.
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