International Travel Safety Tips

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013 - 4:45 AM

Traveling internationally should be an enriching experience, allowing you to experience other cultures and places without any worries. Unfortunately, there are those who are looking to take advantage of foreign tourists. These tips will help you stay safe no matter what part of the world you decide to travel to.

Do the paperwork. It might seem like common sense, but you should get both a passport and visa, if required for your travel. The State Department can help you determine exactly what you need to do to prepare for your trip. Also, don’t forget to fill out the emergency information page located in your passport, something most people forget to do. 

Register for the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. This program is not required for anyone traveling internationally, but it is a good idea. You provide your travel plans and contact information to the State Department so they can reach you quickly in case of an emergency or if a family emergency arises back at home. 

Study up on local customs and laws. When you travel inside other countries, remember that you are a guest and should behave that way. Before you travel to a country, you need to look up not only the local customs but also the laws. Many people have actually been incarcerated for breaking laws they were ignorant of, but the saying that ignorance of the law is no excuse holds true in most cases. 

Watch what you wear. Your accent and behavior might easily identify you as an American while you are traveling, but wearing flashy or expensive items can make you a target of a crime. Leave your expensive jewelry at home and avoid wearing overly flashy or expensive clothing. 

Keep your money safe. Avoid carrying large quantities of cash with you while you’re traveling. If for some reason you must carry a significant amount of cash, keep most of it tucked away out of your wallet and main pockets to avoid showing it off when you make a small purchase. 

Study the area. Before you arrive in a city, read up on the different areas you will be visiting and staying in. Know what parts are considered safe to be in during the day, where you should avoid at night and where you might want to stay out of altogether. 

Leave information behind. Someone back at home should know every detail of your trip, including what flights you are going to be on to leave and return, as well as where you plan on staying and what routes you plan on taking. If you decide to change your itinerary while traveling, you need to let that person back at home know about your changes.