5 Tips for Safely Traveling Abroad
Visiting a foreign country can be an invigorating experience that truly opens your eyes to the many cultures our world has to offer. While this is an exciting opportunity, it’s extremely important to practice standard safety procedures when in an environment you know little about. That being said, below are a few tips that could help in guaranteeing you a fun, yet safe adventure.
Check Your Passport
The most vital tool in international travel is one’s passport. As a key into countries around the world, ensuring that your passport is up to date is crucial. Some countries require a minimum of 6 months before your passport’s expiration before allowing entry into their borders to avoid having travelers stay longer than their anticipated vacation dates, while still having the validity to re-enter their country of origin. Renewing your passport prior to any travel plans would be a wise decision.
Scanning your passport or making copies is another smart way to prevent any further trouble should you lose your passport during your trip. Ordering updated materials in the event of losing these papers can take up to 6 weeks to process. Keeping your important documents organized and secure should be a main priority before traveling abroad.
Check the US Department of State’s Website for Information about the Country Where You Plan to Travel
The US State Department has a website dedicated to helping US citizens get information about foreign countries:
You should always check this website in order to find out if there are any US travel warnings/alerts, information on whether you need to have a special visa, whether vaccinations are recommended before travel, and safety and security.
See Your Doctor Beforehand
Some foreign countries may harbor illnesses or allergies you that aren’t prepared for. Before your trip, consult your doctor to see if you are up to date on proper vaccinations and essential prescriptions. Local medical laws tend to vary from country to country, so review these beforehand on the Department of State’s website, as well making sure any prescriptions that you may have are allowed within the country’s borders.
In addition, bringing a standard medicinal kit with products like advil, vitamins, bandages, antiseptics, and hydrocortisone cream would be nothing but beneficial. There is no guarantee how your body will react to this new country’s food or environment, so it is best to be prepared.
Manage Your Financing
The temptation to buy when on vacation is always present. While it is fun to treat yourself to everything this new country has to offer, it’s important properly budget yourself to avoid going overboard, and ending up with nothing left in your wallet.
With that said, look up the monetary conversion before visiting the country to see how the cash from your home translates to that of your destination’s. More importantly, make sure your credit card works in the country you are traveling to. Call your bank to let them know you’ll be visiting a foreign country, as some will deactivate cards that suddenly report activity in different spot in the world. Many countries have switched to the more secure chip-and-PIN technology as well, with fewer accepting standard magnetic strip cards. Having cash on hand at all times is a great failsafe should your card be denied.
Another tip to properly handle your financing is to separate your money. Do not keep all of your cash in one place, having some in your wallet, and some in a zippered bag within your luggage. Keeping credit and debit cards separated from cash is important as well.
Respect the Country’s Culture
Avoiding cultural faux pas is important upon visiting a new country, with many having a wide range of different customs and traditions. Do some research before traveling to read up on common mistakes tourists make in foreign countries. While one saying or action may seem entirely harmless to you, it could easily come across as offensive or rude to locals.
Traveling the world is something that should be experienced by all, while also being treated with care and respect. Practicing proper safety when visiting foreign countries is extremely important for all, and the tips mentioned above are just some of many ways to do so.