Going on a Trip? Follow These Helpful Safety Guidelines
November 8, 2017
With holiday breaks right around the corner, many people are planning trips. Whether you are going on a solo excursion or have an upcoming family vacation, it is best to take a few precautionary measures to ensure that the trip is as safe – and fun – as possible.
There are programs in place to keep Americans safe when they travel outside of the country. Before going on an international trip, you can sign up for one of these free services. The Smart Traveler Enrollment Plan, or STEP, is a government program that sends out travel alerts and warnings for different countries. Your friends or loved ones who are staying home can also sign up for the service, and stay on top of international news that could affect your travel plans. To find out more about enrolling in STEP, click here: https://step.state.gov/step/.
Before traveling, you should make sure that someone knows about your plans. You can print or email them a copy of your itinerary, which should include your flight information, where you will be staying and other important trip details. If traveling alone or hiking a long trail, you may even want to set up regularly scheduled check-ins so someone will always know if something has gone wrong. You should also make copies of your important items, like your passport, plane or train tickets, and other forms of identification. There are various mobile applications that allow users to scan paperwork.
Be safe with your money. Travelers Insurance Companies, Inc. recommends leaving any credit or debit cards that you won’t be using at home instead of taking them on the trip unnecessarily. When someone’s wallet is stolen or lost, it leads to identity theft. To avoid this, go out with one card and the amount of cash you need for that day’s plans; you should leave any extra cards and cash in a secure location, such as a hotel safe. Also, remember to call your bank before you go on your trip. Tell a representative where and when you will be traveling so that your account avoids being flagged for suspicious activity.
Some experts recommend that people consider investing in traveler’s insurance. Traveler’s insurance can cover trip cancellations, lost luggage, flight accidents, medical expenses and other types of unexpected losses. Travel insurance can be used for international or domestic travel. If you are interested in a quote, check out: https://www.lonelyplanet.com/travel-insurance/.
It is always better to be safe than sorry. When you are in a new place, it is easy to be having such a great time that you can forget to take a few other precautions. Make sure that you have local medical numbers, such as the closest hospital, fire and police stations, the United States embassy or consulate office, local transportation companies and other last-minute, emergency phone numbers that you may need.
Sometimes, there are language or cultural barriers – and although this is part of what makes traveling so exciting and eye opening, it can also make certain parts of traveling a bit more complicated. Before going on a trip, make sure to read up on local traditions and customs; this way, you can avoid unintentionally offending someone or acting inappropriately.
There are a few more general safety precautions that are important for travelers to take. They are:
- Avoid petting stray dogs or other animals that you see, no matter how tempting it can be. There have been several cases of stray dogs in other countries attacking and mauling individuals. In some cases, the attacks were fatal;
- Don’t take shortcuts. Look into hard copy or mobile application travel guides;
- When traveling internationally, make sure you know what vaccinations you need to get and go get a checkup to make sure you’re healthy;
- Read up on local laws before going to a new place, and make sure that you obey them all; and
- Bring necessary medical prescriptions with you (but make sure that you are allowed to first).
Lastly, look into cell phone plans and what the charges to your account may be for making international calls or using roaming data. Charges can accumulate quickly when out of the country – or even out of your home state – so call up your cell provider and discuss what your options are to save money and avoid racking up cell phone debt. If your provider doesn’t offer a helpful enough plan, consider calling another to find out if you can save money.
Both domestic and international travel can be great, life-changing experiences. Whenever you are in an unfamiliar place, there can be some added risks. By simply taking a few precautions, you can increase your chances of having an exciting – and safe – time on your trip.
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