Last week, we took a look at medical tips for a safe spring break. But medical is only part of the equation when traveling abroad. Equally important are security considerations.
Spending time on research and planning before you travel can save hours of frustration. Take the appropriate measures ahead of time to ensure you know how to best safeguard your health and safety when abroad.
Check travel advisories and warnings, know your medical history, and get any required vaccinations in a timely manner before you leave. It is also advisable to update and secure necessary travel documents, like passports and visas, and be sure to know your travel assistance and embassy contacts just in case the unlikely happens. Be sure to list out emergency contacts, including family members, and keep it with your passport. In the event of an emergency, these professionals are ready and prepared to assist you – it’s best not to leave it to chance.
Practice street smarts — tourists and travelers can be vulnerable to robberies, pickpockets and assaults in foreign destinations, particularly because they may not know the safest walking routes or areas to avoid. They may attract negative attention for their different style of dress, language or demeanor. Some leisure travel destinations – such as Mexico and parts of the Caribbean and Latin America – have seen a recent increase in street crimes.
Take the high road when it comes to ground transportation — Navigating unusual roadways, subway systems and foreign taxi stands can be confusing and dangerous. If you plan on driving while abroad, be advised that international travelers face a great risk of serious disability or death from motor vehicle related incidents, especially in developing countries. If you must drive, plan the safest route to your destination before getting behind the wheel, and obey all local driving laws.
Consume cautiously — Alcohol dulls the senses, and in an unfamiliar location, lessened awareness can be especially dangerous. Moderating alcohol consumption is critical to remaining aware of your surroundings, particularly when moving from place to place via public transit or taxis. If you imbibe, make sure you have planned the route back to your hotel in advance and remain with a group.