This past weekend I saw the movie No Escape featuring Owen Wilson and Pierce Bronson. I have to admit that it was one hell of a roller coaster ride, and if not being a seasoned traveler, I may think twice about traveling abroad. I decided to write this post to help ease weary traveler minds. First off, we take risk every day as we set foot outside our door, but it’s done so with caution (or at least I hope you do). Well use the same kind of caution when traveling abroad.
Here are a few tips to help make your trip a safe one.
Obviously, life doesn’t guarantee us anything, but we can always try to prepare accordingly.
*Know the political climate of the place you’re visiting. If there has been some tension amongst the people and/or government, then consider a different destination until things cool down.
*Find out where the U.S. Embassy is located. It never occurred to me during my travels that if something happened, where to go for help. I recently learned of this program and highly recommend signing up – Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). STEP is a free service to allow U.S. citizens and nationals traveling abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. A benefit of enrolling in this program is to learn about the safety conditions of the country. Furthermore, in the event of an emergency, the U.S. Embassy knows how to contact you as well as family and friends.
*It may also be a good idea to have a list of other emergency numbers – police department, nearest hospital, pharmacy, etc.
*Scan a copy of your passport. The last thing you want to deal with is a lost passport while traveling abroad. It can take weeks until you’re able to get another one so be sure to scan and have it accessible (e.g. email it to yourself or tuck it safely away in the cloud).
*Let family and/or friends know where the travel plan. Provide them with an itinerary of all accommodations and contact numbers. Also consider a global plan for your cell phone or a cheaper option is purchasing a SIM card at the destination. Another idea is to keep everyone updated via social media.
*Purchase Travel Insurance. I never use to do this until one year my entire family got sick before going on a trip. Since we didn’t have travel insurance, we had to eat the high costs of changing the airfare and accommodation. After that, I now purchase travel insurance.
Grant it the movie was done in good ‘ole Hollywood fashion, but it did bring awareness to travel safety.