How can I be Safe When I Travel Abroad?

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  • Written By: Diana Bocco
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
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  • Last Modified Date: 06 April 2020
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If you travel abroad, chances are you won't encounter any problems. However, being prepared for little emergencies can make a big difference when away from home. Even before you leave home, there are things you can do to make your travel abroad safer.

First of all, try to travel as light as possible, both in the number of luggage pieces you take and in the amount of jewelry and other valuables you bring along. When you travel abroad, make photocopies of your passport and airline tickets and keep them in a separate area. If you miss the originals, it will be easier to get around and start a claim.

The Department of State publishes a series of lists about every country in the world. These lists include everything from entry requirements to the crime situation of each country. If a country poses a particular risk, the list will include a Travel Warning. Anybody planning to travel abroad should consult this information. Once you are ready to travel abroad, make sure you leave a copy of your itinerary with friends or family so they will be able to contact you in case of an emergency.


Another thing to take into consideration when you travel abroad is personal safety. Always use common sense in crowded spaces, especially if you're visiting popular tourist sites. If you're traveling alone, avoid desolated areas or poorly-lit streets. Try to keep a low profile at all times. Nothing makes you an easier target than looking lost or calling attention to yourself.

When you travel abroad, stay away from situations that may cause legal trouble. Never buy from or exchange money with somebody on the streets. These people may be criminals or dealing with counterfeit products, and you may get in a lot of trouble if discovered.

If you must travel abroad to a high-risk area, make sure you register with the US embassy as soon as you arrive at your destination. Be particularly careful about sharing personal information with strangers and make sure you know how to quickly access police stations and hospitals. If you run into problems when you travel abroad, contact a consular office immediately. While they cannot provide legal advice, they can help you get in touch with the right people to help, no matter what the problem.



Discuss this Article

Post 3

@Fa5t3r - In some ways I agree, but there is one thing that is very important to remember when trying to make friends with people if you're overseas. Safety has to come first and you can't trust people you don't know well, especially if they have a different culture. I'm not saying different cultures are untrustworthy, only that it's difficult to know if you mean the same thing when you say or do something.

This goes double for women. I've had encounters where I thought I was just being friendly and the man involved thought we were flirting and tried to push for more. This can be terrifying if you're on your own.

My best travel abroad tips always center around the idea of being flexible and friendly, but not foolish. Don't take anything for granted.

Post 2

@croydon - Traveling abroad doesn't have to mean constant vigilance if you are sensible about things though. Most places have lots of bottled water available (do check to make sure it's sealed and not just refilled from a local well) and there's a reason most traditional meals are cooked within an inch of their lives.

I'd say that the most important safety tip is just to be friendly. Get to know the local people around you and they will give you tips and help take care of you. This is harder if you're on a tour, or moving fast through an area, but it might be a reason to stop and smell the flowers.

Post 1

Make sure that you take every medical precaution you can, especially with any diseases that could end up being permanent like some forms of hepatitis. Go and get all of your shots before you leave (in some cases you have to take them several weeks before potential exposure, so don't leave this until the last minute) and while you're at the doctor see if they recommend a travel first aid kit. Even if you're going to a first world country, it can be worth carrying one around.

If you are somewhere without trustworthy water, make sure you boil every sip that passes your lips, including ice (well, you can't boil it, but don't have it unless you know it's safe

). This includes things like salads that were probably washed in local water (or worse, not washed at all) so be aware of how everything you eat was prepared. If possible, only eat things with peels you can remove, or which have been cooked hot enough to kill bacteria.

I'm a little bit paranoid, but I've had food poisoning on a trip and it is horrible. You don't want it, believe me.

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