Traveling abroad is an unforgettable experience, whether you’re going for the first time in your life or you’re accustomed to being in several different countries each year. When traveling, you always want to take steps to stay safe no matter how experienced you are. A few smart steps designed to cover each aspect of your trip will keep you connected with people who can help in case of an emergency and will keep you safe, making an emergency less likely from the outset.
Tell Friends and Family Your Plans
Send confirmation numbers, travel details, addresses, and phone numbers to a few trusted family members and friends. Make sure these people have a comprehensive itinerary for your plans, including when you’ll be taking the train to new locations as well as all the contact info for your hotels and tour groups. Every few days, send out a check-in e-mail to these people with your itinerary so that they know you’re alive and having fun!
Stay With Your Group
Signing up for group trips is a fun way to see a new area with a tour guide and other tourists. Sometimes you might be tempted to leave the group and do your own thing — but resist the temptation. Groups don’t just provide automatic companionship and information about the area — they also provide safety. Groups can travel more safely at night and on public transportation than individuals can. When you’re unfamiliar with the region or haven’t traveled much before, a group is a great way to stay safe.
Sign Up for STEP
The US Government offers the free service STEP, or the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, for Americans who are traveling abroad. A free STEP enrollment means you connect with the nearest US embassy and enroll your trip with it. The embassy knows when you’ll be out of the country, which means it can contact you more easily if the area experiences any disasters, such as bad weather or civil unrest. Friends and family members can also contact you if an emergency occurs.
Get Travel Protection
Travel insurance and travel rescue services keep you safe when something unexpected happens. For example, MedjetHorizon memberships offer medical transport and crisis rescue. Ideally, nothing but fun will happen to you while you’re out of the country, but you always want to be prepared. Staying safe and getting home in unforeseen dangerous circumstances such as disasters or medical emergencies is important.
Remain in Lighted, Touristy Areas
Every city has areas meant for tourists as well as areas that tourists should stay away from. The tourist areas are well-lit and busy, so stay close to these places. Do research beforehand if you’ll be out late at night so that you can plan your safe route home — or you can just save a local taxi number. Remaining in busy spaces is especially essential if you’re traveling alone.
Staying safe while traveling doesn’t require much extra effort, and you can put in most of this effort before you get on the plane. Make sure your trip is the best you can possibly have by giving yourself peace of mind before you leave.