How to Stay Safe While Vacationing Abroad
Posted by February 29, 2016in Travelon
Despite some recent high-profile attacks and political uncertainties in many parts of the world, it's rare for a vacation to be directly impacted by terrorism. What's more, you can take pro-active steps to ensure you have a safe experience and are prepared for a worst-case scenario. To safeguard your trip, take these seven precautions:
1. Tap government resources
The U.S. State Department offers a trove of information, including alerts tied to hurricane and typhoon season and other seasonal weather issues; travel warnings; and the ability to sign up for email alerts. The State Department also offers information for handling a range of travel problems, from coping with a crisis situation to replacing a lost passport.
Government-sponsored tourist sites for the destinations you're visiting can also offer valuable resources for trip planning and safety information.
2. Determine your comfort level
Do you like to visit up-and-coming destinations, or do you prefer established locales? Are you looking for big city adventures, or do you enjoy the structure of a resort setting?
“Be realistic and cater to your comfort level," travel writer Lea Lane writes in The Huffington Post. Among the factors to weigh are language barriers, safety concerns for women and minorities, and whether a destination has a U.S. embassy.
3. Follow the headlines
Once you get on the plane, it may be tempting to completely unplug, but it's better to track breaking news- particularly if you're traveling in a less stable part of the world. Set a headline alert for your destination so you won't be caught off-guard.
“Use responsible media, internet, and up-to-date guidebooks to clue you in. Be aware of who is informing about dangers –– established authorities or fear-mongers," writes Lane, author of Travel Tales I Couldn't Put in the Guidebooks.
4. Take cues from locals
According to this post from JetNSave, it's best to blend in when visiting cultures that are very different from the U.S. The blog notes that in Iraq, for example, “modest clothing is expected even of visitors, and especially when visiting holy sites."
5. Stay on the gridEven if you don't have a set itinerary –– or you want to be spontaneous –– keep loved ones in the loop about your (changing) plans. Whether you carry an international cell phone or use free email applications, “stay in touch," Lane writes.
6. Keep track of your stuffYou're more likely to forget your phone or credit card at the café table than to have it stolen outright, according to JetNSave. “When you get up to leave the train, the bus, the table, etc., look back and make sure you've got all your stuff."
7. Establish an emergency plan
Be prepared for the worst by ensuring you have scanned copies of your important documents, have a credit card that can be quickly replaced if stolen, and have made note of the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
For additional peace of mind, consider purchasing Atlas Premium travel medical insurance, which can cover medical claims from international travel, including eligible emergency medical evacuations and medical costs tied to terrorism. The coverage also includes a Crisis Response benefit in the case of kidnapping and ransom, which makes available a care services team that can assist in negotiations.